Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (Book Review)

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► Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (Book Review)◄

Time for another book review and, this time, I’m going to review “Sapiens”

Here is the book review extracted from Amazon:
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.

Sapiens Book:

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Val3ntine Hope says:

Will you be doing a review on 12 Rules For Life by Jordan Peterson?

Radioactive FistFoot says:

I appreciate the fact that despite how much you hated the book, you still gave it a try and explained exactly what you dislike about it without acting defensive. I don’t have any opinions on it since I haven’t read it, but the controversy makes me curious to read it, so thank you for the review. I don’t believe in gods, and I don’t think this should be considered jaded. I also really hate social justice warriors, so much that I just stopped following the news. Watching global news all day long for a long time not only wasted my time but it pissed me off, ruined my mood for the day.

I don’t like the idea of me being in debt to a god whom I did not ask for me to be created in the first place. And there’s always the problem that if a god exists, who created the god? What was before that, and before that? I don’t know the answer to such things, and I don’t know if life is random, if I have a creator, so I won’t claim to know the truth. I will simply stay in a default position of disbelief and follow my instincts until enough evidence is presented. I think morality and honor is easy to answer, because if we’re the same species, why shouldn’t we work to help each other out and grow together? If this life is our only life, why shouldn’t we live it to the fullest? I hope this doesn’t come across as negative, but I really just wanted to show that I don’t have a jaded opinion of life and I’m not religious.

Sleeping Elephant says:

I would not skip this book.. It is a great book & is fairly non-bias. I prefer negative reviews to tell you the truth. I highly recommend the book because it is so controversial.

markham 480 says:

I really enjoyed this book, Sapiens. I think it was the controversy and the fact it forced me to take on new viewpoints that made me like it. I wonder if I had listened to the audio version, like you, if I would have perceived it differently. Maybe I’ll try to the audio version.

John, have you read Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark? I would love to hear your thoughts on it

John Ny says:

Have almost finished the book. Yes, he has a radical social constructionist view, but I don’t see him outright pushing a leftist agenda, given that he clearly states the terrors of communism and references Solzhenitsyn. But that is not to say that this ideology wasn’t pushed subtly. If you don’t have a firm grip on history (which I don’t), then it’s hard to tell if the “facts” he proposed are accurate. And I don’t see how his point on the agricultural revolution was inaccurate. It basically was, that the individual was worse off (for some time) after the revolution, in favor of mankind (the individual afterwards had a less diverse diet and less diverse lifestyle, less community). I’m not sure how that statement is ideologically driven? Also, I think the case it made for capitalism wasn’t bad at all.

Andy says:

I don’t think that is a proper representation of his “morality/etc is a social construct” argument. He is just saying this in the very literal sense that the fundamental laws of physics don’t say anything about morality, but rather that morality is a concept that happened to be adaptive for us to evolve. I think unless if you invoke religious beliefs, this is pretty obvious – there’s no coherent case for morality existing in the laws of physics (how??). He’s not saying we shouldn’t have morality or that he doesn’t have one of his own, so I don’t see the contradiction.

Info Planet says:

Great review, I think the people who like the book may just not want to seem unscientific. Its kinda like the global cooling/warming hoax. Where people believe things just cause they think the science is settled when in reality, Its still unknown for sure.

MonkeyMaster 64 says:

The book doesn’t make the point that it’s all random bullshit and ‘just’ a figment of our imagination. The stories described in the book like religious/societal systems all play a key role in the co-operation of our species and the books makes a point of noting that.

Rambo says:

seems like this great book got you triggered. lol. what a weird straw man argument
it’s In my top 20. really amazing book
.stop pushing politics and religion to everything. some of my favorites writers and musicians are far-left and right, and guess what? I don’t fucking care. focus on the quality and skills. you are not running for office.

Captain Capitalism says:

You went from Simple Programmer to Jordan Peterson lol

Mojito says:

seems like the book i’ve been waiting to read all along

Andrey Pokrovskiy says:

I read it and I think it’s an amazing book. I found out about it from the Bill Gates’ list of recommended books to read.

John Sonmez says:

For you people who read one book in the last 5 years and this was it, and you think it’s so great because Bill Gates recommended it. Watch this while you gargle his balls. 🙂

kmfaessl says:

Thanks for saving me some time. Had this book on my reading list but removing it immediately.

Meysam Ghaderyan says:

It does not pass your test because you believe there is “purpose” in life and the author does not? Hmmm. Also you did not mention what exactly is inaccurate from history in the book. Plus, the author can not begin every sentence with “This is my opinion”. Also I do not remember the author saying what we do to animals is “morally wrong”. He mentioned that we make them suffer. This is true whether you believe in morality or not.

Shachar.M says:

He is a left winger from my country (Israel), then you were right with your sort of implication/intuition about his political point of view (I know you really don’t like to talk about politics..). Without reading his book i guessed it would be affected by his political tendency (it is natural but still worth mentioning).

Maryia K says:

John, have you read Deirdre McCloskey’s books – Bourgeois Equality, Bourgeois Virtues or Bourgeois Dignity? I would love to hear your review of those.

philosopheezy says:

Totally disagree. One of my favorite books because it makes you think, even if you don’t agree with everything. The whole point of the book, in my opinion, is to say the things we just accept often came as a result of pragmatic human concerns. If you believe God created everything and everything is a result of that then, of course, you will hate the book, but the title should have given that away. Excellent book if you came into reading it w/ an open mind.

Maryia K says:

This book is on my list, and I will still read it. Homo Deus, the author’s second book, is along the same lines. I think the authors point is to render humanity obsolete. Barack Obama loves Homo Sapiens book, by the way. I believe in humanity and moral virtues, which Yuval Noah Harare omits.

David Parto says:

Hi John, In my opinion the purpose of life as human being is different depend on where , when and in which situation we are living. Maybe for the people like me and you who are living in the developed country , which in a very competitive society, being better version of ourselves does matter. But If we consider the purpose of like something constant which apply in anytime and anywhere . I don’t thing in the countries that are in civil war or starvation and the people are struggling to be just alive being better version of ourselves does matter .Or maybe in 20000 year before in whole world the purpose of life was the same, and it maybe changes 20000 after. And this book is about that, it says based on conditions our believes ,convictions and perceptions of life changed and will change again.

Vitor Sampaio says:

Hey John, I don’t really watch your book review videos unless I have read them, but in my opinion this is a great book, and yes, revolutionary in many aspects.
I really like hearing opposing views and listening to arguments contrary to mine, but I can’t say I really understand yours. I think you misunderstood the basic premise of Harari. He is trying to portray things as they are objectively, without the meaning we attach to them. He has a doctorate in biogenetics in Oxford, and his perspective is scientific as well as historic. I found that your biggest disappointment in the book was his disregard for moral values, or natural law, but keep in mind that these things, although of extreme importance, are human contructions! They wouldn’t exist should the homo sapiens be wiped out at once. I could build up my case more, but I don’t want to prolong this. And also, if you claim that a major historian who has spent all his life studying human evolution and history made several inaccurate statements, say some of them at least!! I was really curious as to what these actually were.
Otherwise, keep up the good work. This video was strangely incoherent, but the other ones are great.

Grandmaster Kong says:

I do somewhat agree with the book, however I would differ somewhat. We are irrational and emotional, so individually our ideas can be bad or self deceiving, so we use debate to come up with a social contract. We do have a primal nature and have the ability to be monsters, morality in my opinion is being a controlled monster, and that ultimately the goal is to create order out of chaos.

Nicolas Ibarra says:

Hey John, you’re right about a hidden political agenda. I would suggest to read this awesome article on the subject by one of my favorite blogs Quillette

Caroline Jackson says:

1) Accepting that value systems are subjective and contested doesn’t mean that those value systems are meaningless, and Haraari absolutely *isn’t* saying that morality/ethics/justice is meaningless, he’s just saying that they aren’t objective 2) it’s a little sad that it seems that your whole self-worth is bound up in believing that some things are objectively true or false, good and bad, so that when those ideas are challenged, your whole worldview and identity implode.

Maple Flavor says:

man should hold self esteem. becoming a great civilization in the galaxy, becoming an interplanetary species and understanding how the universe works should be cheered. aspiring to figure out how to travel near light speed is wonderful. humans are great and we should advance further. “how not to die” is the real deal though. i understand the sentiment but i believe that he’s right.

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