Enjoy this title right now, plus millions more, with a free trial

Only £10.99/month after trial. Cancel anytime.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind


Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

ratings:
4.5/5 (1,689 ratings)
Length:
631 pages
11 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Feb 10, 2015
ISBN:
9780062316103
Format:
Book

Editor's Note

Expand your mind…

Expand your mind with author Yuval Noah Harari’s new classic. Harari dives deep and waxes philosophical about many of the large problems that plague us today. Whether you agree with his takes isn’t really the point; his well-considered, thoughtful arguments will give you a different perspective on all these problems than we get from headlines and 30-second news clips.

Description

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.

Publisher:
Released:
Feb 10, 2015
ISBN:
9780062316103
Format:
Book

About the author

Prof. Yuval Noah Harari is a historian, philosopher, and the bestselling author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, and Sapiens: A Graphic History. His books have sold over 35 million copies in 65 languages, and he is considered one of the world’s most influential public intellectuals today. The Guardian has credited Sapiens with revolutionizing the non-fiction market and popularizing “brainy books”. In 2020 Harari joined forces with renowned comics artists David Vandermeulen and Daniel Casanave, to create Sapiens: A Graphic History: a radical adaptation of the original Sapiens into a graphic novel series. This illustrated collection casts Yuval Noah Harari in the role of guide, who takes the reader through the entire history of the human species, accompanied by a range of fictional characters and traveling through time, space and popular culture references. Born in Haifa, Israel, in 1976, Harari received his PhD from the University of Oxford in 2002, and is currently a lecturer at the Department of History, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He originally specialized in world history, medieval history and military history, and his current research focuses on macro-historical questions such as: What is the relationship between history and biology? What is the essential difference between Homo sapiens and other animals? Is there justice in history? Does history have a direction? Did people become happier as history unfolded? What ethical questions do science and technology raise in the 21st century?



Reviews

What people think about Sapiens

4.4
1689 ratings / 239 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Critic reviews

  • No single species has changed itself or the world around it so much as Homo sapiens. It can be difficult to grasp how civilization has evolved so rapidly, but in Harari's capable hands, it becomes much easier. "Sapiens" has dominated the bestseller list with good reason.

    Scribd Editors
  • As one of the most succinct and provocative takes on how Homo sapiens came to rule, Harari's book has dominated many reading lists. Gates spent many weeks discussing the book with his wife, especially since, as he wrote on his blog, he didn't agree with all the arguments.

    Scribd Editors

Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    Non-fiction history of where humans came from to where they are going. It was a great look into human history. The author singles out aspects of human history that he finds important. He writes really well and makes it an easy and enjoyable read. He does have strong opinions, which some people may disagree with, but I enjoyed learning about his perspective.
  • (4/5)
    Harari talks about the history of homo sapiens, the development of our current world, and possibilities for the future.
  • (4/5)
    I listened to this book, and one of the problems of doing that is that it is harder for me to leaf back, run through the table of contents, and get my overall thoughts together. The reviews already posted are pretty good, especially the longer ones, and contentious enough to represent a diversity of opinion.Personally, I found the book both fascinating and eye-brow-raising. Harari has some very clear opinions of such things as the transition from hunter-gatherer to agrarian society (bad based on values of freedom and happiness), the effects of monotheism (less tolerant by nature than polytheism, leading to much slaughter - well, yes), empire, especially the European empires, and the driving force of capitalism. His views of our modern world are particularly scornful, and his predictions - or fantasies - of our future are a bit hair-raising.But he asks some very good questions. Are we happier now than we were one hundred, five hundred, a thousand or fifty thousand years ago? Will we be able to see the destruction of our environment in time to limit the damage? Can we live happily without the traditional comforts of family and tribal identity? Some of the reviews refer (vaguely) to errors. He does repeat himself, especially at the beginning of chapters, which made sense once I realized that the book was produced in part from lectures he gives at university. He is sometimes amazingly snarky.The reader is British, which can enhance the snarkiness, but is very good, and easy to listen to. I have stopped awarding stars much, but as a 'popular' history of homo sapiens through history, I would award this 4 stars, considering the scope, the clear narrative personality, and the quality of the audio. Whether you will agree with him or not, this book raises questions worth thinking about.
  • (4/5)
    This is an impressive book: big and interesting thoughts, good writing, compelling topic - but at times I felt it lack something - context? Numerous times I wanted to know more about a topic, how the recent research fitted with other views of the topic. Harari credits Jared Diamond with encouraging him to think big. But Jared Diamond, possible the very best at science writing for the general audience never tried to put ALL of his big thoughts into one volume. I think the scope of this book is so large, that it has become impossible to make the content fully manageable.But these are minor quibbles - this is an excellent book and a great read. Maybe in his later books, Harari focusses on slices of this broad canvas, and is able to bring the reader along, without leaving drowing them in information.
  • (4/5)
    The prose is excellent and sharp, but I found his viewpoints rather pessimistic.
  • (5/5)
    This is a winner. The author cuts across disciplines to explore the history of humankind. What emerges is a picture of an inherently clever and creative but ultimately destructive beast. Along the way he asks poignant questions, such as: what if Homo sapiens had not killed off its brother humanoid species i.e. Neanderthals, Homo erectus etc. Also he points to the possible ultimate destruction of mankind, yet gives some hope. History, biology, anthropology, sociology, psychology all come together in this wonderful book about us that everyone should read.