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Sapiens : A Brief History of Humankind
by Yuval Noah Harari


Overview -

New York Times Bestseller

A Summer Reading Pick for President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg

From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity's creation and evolution--a #1 international bestseller--that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be "human."

One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth.  Read more...


 
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More About Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
 
 
 
Overview

New York Times Bestseller

A Summer Reading Pick for President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg

From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity's creation and evolution--a #1 international bestseller--that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be "human."

One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one--homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us?

Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas.

Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become?

Featuring 27 photographs, 6 maps, and 25 illustrations/diagrams, this provocative and insightful work is sure to spark debate and is essential reading for aficionados of Jared Diamond, James Gleick, Matt Ridley, Robert Wright, and Sharon Moalem.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780062316097
  • ISBN-10: 0062316095
  • Publisher: Harper
  • Publish Date: February 2015
  • Page Count: 464
  • Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.4 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.45 pounds


Related Categories

Books > History > Civilization
Books > History > World - General
Books > Science > Life Sciences - Evolution

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2014-11-17
  • Reviewer: Staff

Writing with wit and verve, Harari, professor of history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, attempts to explain how Homo sapiens came to be the dominant species on Earth as well as the sole representative of the human genus. He notes that from roughly two million years ago until about 10,000 years ago, we were not the only humans on the planet; many species preceded us, and some overlapped our tenure. Harari argues persuasively that three revolutions explain our current situation. The first, the cognitive revolution, occurred approximately 70,000 years ago and gave us “fictive” language, enabling humans to share social constructs as well as a powerful “imagined reality” that led to complex social systems. The second, the agricultural revolution, occurred around 12,000 years ago and allowed us to settle into permanent communities. The third, the scientific revolution, began around 500 years ago and allowed us to better understand and control our world. Throughout, Harari questions whether human progress has led to increased human happiness, concluding that it’s nearly impossible to show that it has. Harari is provocative and entertaining but his expansive scope only allows him to skim the surface. (Feb.)

 
BookPage Reviews

Why our species thrived

Originally published in Israel, Dr. Yuval Noah Harari’s brilliant history of humankind has already become an international bestseller. A specialist in world history, Harari undertakes a daunting task in Sapiens: to examine the rise of our species and discern the reasons behind our remarkable success.

“How did we manage to settle so rapidly in so many distant and ecologically different habitats?” Harari asks. “How did we push all other human species into oblivion?”

Harari is clear about the most likely answer: our unique language. And the author’s own command of words and ideas is part of what makes this account so engaging.

Harari traces the rise of human language, focusing on a period about 70,000 years ago he calls the Cognitive Revolution, which led to the extinction of the Neanderthals.

Harari’s scope is both deep and broad, yet while immersing the reader in the sweep of history, he also presents fascinating information about the roles money, science and religion have played.

Finally, Harari speculates about the future, wondering whether we will continue to improve the human condition while wreaking havoc on our planet and the plants and animals that share it with us.

 

This article was originally published in the February 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews