- Published: 2015
- Number of pages: 464 pages
- Format: Epub
- File Size: 13.78 MB
- Authors: Yuval Noah Harari
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?
Amazon.com Review An Amazon Best Book of the Month for February 2015: Yuval Noah Harari has some questions. Among the biggest: How did Homo sapiens (or Homo sapiens sapiens , if you’re feeling especially wise today) evolve from an unexceptional savannah-dwelling primate to become the dominant force on the planet, emerging as the lone survivor out of six distinct, competing hominid species? He also has some answers, and they’re not what you’d expect. Tackling evolutionary concepts from a historian’s perspective, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, describes human development through a framework of three not-necessarily-orthodox “Revolutions”: the Cognitive, the Agricultural, and the Scientific. His ideas are interesting and often amusing: Why have humans managed to build astonishingly large populations when other primate groups top out at 150 individuals? Because our talent for gossip allows us to build networks in societies too large for personal relationships between everyone, and our universally accepted “imagined realities”–such as money, religion, and Limited Liability Corporations—keep us in line. Who cultivated whom, humans or wheat?. Wheat. Though the concepts are unusual and sometimes heavy (as is the book, literally) Harari’s deft prose and wry, subversive humor make quick work of material prone to academic tedium. He’s written a book of popular nonfiction (it was a bestseller overseas, no doubt in part because his conclusions draw controversy) landing somewhere in the middle of a Venn diagram of genetics, sociology, and history. Throughout, Harari returns frequently to another question: Does all this progress make us happier, our lives easier? The answer might disappoint you. –Jon Foro Review “Sapiens tackles the biggest questions of history and of the modern world, and it is written in unforgettably vivid language.” — Jared Diamond, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel, Collapse, and The World until Yesterday“Sapiens is learned, thought-provoking and crisply written…. Fascinating.” — Wall Street Journal“In Sapiens, Harari delves deep into our history as a species to help us understand who we are and what made us this way. An engrossing read.” — Dan Ariely, New York Times Bestselling author of Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality, and The Honest Truth About Dishonesty“Yuval Noah Harari’s celebrated Sapiens does for human evolution what Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time did for physics.… He does a superb job of outlining our slow emergence and eventual domination of the planet.” — Forbes“[I]nteresting and provocative…It gives you a sense of perspective on how briefly we’ve been on this earth, how short things like agriculture and science have been around, and why it makes sense for us to not take them for granted.” — President Barack Obama“I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a fun, engaging look at early human history…you’ll have a hard time putting it down.” — Bill Gates“Thank God someone finally wrote [this] exact book.” — Sebastian Junger“Sapiens takes readers on a sweeping tour of the history of our species…. Harari’s formidable intellect sheds light on the biggest breakthroughs in the human story…important reading for serious-minded, self-reflective sapiens.” — Washington Post“It is one of the best accounts by a Homo sapiens of the unlikely story of our violent, accomplished species.…It is one hell of a story. And it has seldom been told better…. Compulsively readable and impossibly learned.” — Michael Gerson, Washington Post“This was the most surprising and thought-provoking book I read this year.” — Atlantic.com“Yuval Noah Harari’s full-throated review of our species may have been blurbed by Jared Diamond, but Harari’s conclusions are at once balder and less tendentious than that of his famous colleague.” — New York magazine“This title is one of the exceptional works of nonfiction that is both highly intellectual and compulsively readable… a fascinating, hearty read.” — Library Journal (starred review)“An encyclopedic approach from a well-versed scholar who is concise but eloquent, both skeptical and opinionated, and open enough to entertain competing points of view.…The great debates of history aired out with satisfying vigor.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)“Writing with wit and verve, Harari…attempts to explain how Homo sapiens came to be the dominant species on Earth as well as the sole representative of the human genus.… Provocative and entertaining.” — Publishers Weekly“The most idea-packed work of non-fiction I’ve read in years.” — Dick Meyer, www.abcactionnews.com“In this sweeping look at the history of humans, Harari offers readers the chance to reconsider, well, everything, from a look at why Homo sapiens endured to a compelling discussion of how society organizes itself through fictions.” — Booklist Best Books of the Year“It’s not often that a book offers readers the possibility to reconsider, well, everything. But that’s what Harari does in this sweeping look at the history of humans.… Readers of every stripe should put this at the top of their reading lists. Thinking has never been so enjoyable.” — Booklist (starred review)“The sort of book that sweeps the cobwebs out of your brain…. Harari…is an intellectual acrobat whose logical leaps will have you gasping with admiration.” — John Carey, Sunday Times (London)“Harari’s account of how we conquered the Earth astonishes with its scope and imagination…. One of those rare books that lives up to the publisher’s blurb…brilliantly clear, witty and erudite.” — Ben Shepard, the Observer (London)“An absorbing, provocative history of civilization…packed with heretical thinking and surprising facts. This riveting, myth-busting book cannot be summarised…you will simply have to read it.” — John Gray, Financial Times (London)“Full of…high-perspective, shocking and wondrous stories, as well as strange theories and startling insights.” — Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times“Not only is Harari eloquent and humane, he is often wonderfully, mordantly funny” — The Independent (London)“Engaging and informative…. Extremely interesting.” — Guardian (London)“Harari can write…really, really write, with wit, clarity, elegance, and a wonderful eye for metaphor.” — The Times (Ireland)
Reviews from Amazon users, collected at the time the book is getting published on UniedVRG. It can be related to shiping or paper quality instead of the book content:
⭐ If you want to learn about the author’s feelings and musings about modern society cloaked in the history of our species, this book is for you. If, however, you, as I did, want to learn something scientific about the progress of our species unspoiled by a political screed, search for something else. Rarely have I felt that I misspent money on a book. In this case, I did. Too bad because it might have been an interesting read. I could go on, but it’s not worth more of my time.
⭐ I bought the book based on high rating but was disappointed. The beginning part was ok but later I felt more and more not reading actual (scientific) facts but only the author’s own opinions REPEATEDLY which were presented in a bad way. I tried to continue to finish the book but it was not an easy task. Anyway, not a good book for me,
⭐ The book starts ok, with a useful compilation of recent scientific discoveries. Then Dr. Harari begins to introduce sensationalist claims, like: “A corporation is a myth,” then proposes evidence that fits his claim. A corporation is not a myth, it’s a legal entity created by humans to conduct business with other humans. If a corporation is a myth, then the constitution of USA, and any other set of laws must be a myth as well.Ho goes so far as to declare that America, or any other country is a myth! Come on… Tell this to a pack of wolves who call their territory Wolfland.For me, Harari is one of those authors who come up with sensationalist and outrageous claims in order to sell his book, and judging by the ratings, he largely succeeds. But so do fake news.So, Harari goes on to attempt to tear down just about every human institution of the last few thousand years as being fictional or “imaginary”. Well, sure, they were all invented by humans. But invention is not fiction. Neither it is a myth.Starting with a conclusion and only proposing evidence that fits with said conclusion bored me and I stopped reading it about a quarter of the way through.I really gave it a try, but this book is one of the most pretentious and pompous books I’ve ever read.I love good clear authors. Harari is not one of them. Can hardly get through a paragraph of his without being irritated by his generalization without support, constant non-sequiters and presentation of opinion as fact. And when he feels he’s gone too far, he says “Most scientists agree.” Go check it out.
⭐ Bill Gates, Barrack Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg all love this half baked postmodern, neo Heglian, neo Marxist, reductionist, animal rightist, hodge podge? The author is smart and knows how to turn a phrase, but announces Truth from Olympus while dismissing others’ world views as myths. Evidently the only thing he does not know about is the self referential paradox. Everyone but the author lives in a myth. He will tell us the real Story, as though his story is not a myth. One thing I am sure of, 100 years from now no one will remember this book was ever written.
⭐ Harari primarily presents an hypothesis as to how Homo sapiens who successfully migrated out of Africa circa 70 kya (thousand years ago) and thereafter, successfully dominating the planet, differed from earlier Homo sapiens who attempted out migration previously (e.g. around 130 kya) but were not successful. Keep in mind that Homo neanderthals in Europe and Homo erectus in Asia had climate and environment adaptations that sapiens did not have and were separate species. Harari claims (assumes) that the later sapiens differed from the earlier sapiens in only one way. They had evolved the ability to form an “inter-subjective reality,” as opposed to objective reality (physical) or subjective reality (in only one person’s mind). They were able to tell stories and believe them, independent of physical reality.Everything from myth to religion to nations to moral codes to money are inter-subjective realities according to Harari. They have force in the physical world as long as people believe them, and cease to exist the moment people no longer believe them. This explains how people could cooperate in groups larger than 150, giving them a military and security advantage, and encouraging specialization which eventually gave them a technological advantage.Moreover, Harari claims (assumes) all these later sapiens were genetically identical, and that the variations in societies are purely cultural, i.e. inter-subjective realities. He presents history as an erratic evolution toward global unity, which is essentially demanded by the nature of inter-subjective realities, requiring belief of all those in mutual frequent contact, but he doesn’t say how.In fact, Harari presents only anecdotal evidence for his claim. He presents no empirical studies regarding the flexibility of humans toward inter-subjective realities, and no mathematical models of its development, evolutionary advantage, or stability. He describes the scientific method as an important development, and requires it to include both mathematical models and verification of them. But he does not use either in his treatise. Thus he presents an important and interesting hypothesis, but not in a scientific manner. He makes not even suggestions as to how to further formulate or verify it as a scientific theory. Perhaps he is trapped in the inter-subjective reality of history as liberal arts, not science.The term “intersubjective” does exist in the literature of psychology and philosophy, primarily as a synonym for “agreement,” but there is no agreement about its definition (Gillespie and Cornish 2009, Journal for Theory of Social Behavior) state:”The concept of intersubjectivity is used widely, but with varying meanings. Broadly speaking, we take intersubjectivity to refer to the variety of possible relations between people’s perspectives. If we take social life to be founded on interactions then intersubjectivity should be a core concept for the social sciences in general and understanding social behaviour in particular. Perhaps because of this broad relevancy research has been fragmented and at least six definitions are in circulation. Most simplistically, intersubjectivity has been usedto refer to agreement in the sense of having a shared definition of an object.”The biggest complaint I have about Harari is that he does not distinguish between his opinion and facts, nor explain the background of how he arrived at the theory of inter-subjectivity. The study of the evolution of cooperation is a hot topic, with political scientists, biologists, mathematicians and even physicists all having theories, and much data collected and many math models developed. It is apparent Harari is aware of this, but does not tell us how his theory fits in. I can only conclude he finds his powers of popular persuasion greater than his powers of scientific persuasion and critical analysis, so he writes a long book instead of a focused research paper.By the way, you can find excellent video summaries and reviews of this book on the web, and even a “summary” for sale as an eBook. I originally got interested from the video summary.Near the end Harari reports on happiness research. In this section of the book he takes exception to his usual approach, giving us descriptions of studies and names of researchers so we can trace where these conclusions come from. The book is worth reading for this section.Occasionally Harari gets facts wrong. You won’t realize this unless you have investigated the matter separately. I noticed it because his description of the origin of the caste system in India was wrong, according to current research.Harari tries to present himself as outside modern factions (or inter-subjective realities), such as nature vs. nurture, liberalism vs. conservatism, etc. But without conscious explication, he suffuses his book with the assumption that any modern human if taken from birth is equally at home in any of the current or historical inter-subjective realities. He does not propose or even consider experiments to determine culture-vs-genetics. So he proposes this important genetic ability evolved in a small population on a single continent between 130kya and 70kya, but that no differentiating evolution has occurred since then.The question of whether the degree or style of inter-subjectivity is as universal as he implies is important for several reasons. Harari proposes the world is “different” since 1945, with no war between major powers, no more empires expanding by territorial acquisition. He suggests some reasons for this (cost of nuclear war, for example) which are unverified. His book was completed in 2014 before Russia claimed parts of Ukraine and China claimed the entire South China Sea. If inter-subjective capacity is universal, then this situation is likely unstable. People could quit believing it at any moment, and the world could return to any state that it has been in historically. If inter-subjective capacity is not identical in everyone, then it might make a great deal of difference which cultures dominate, even if through historical accident. See for example Boyd and Richerson 2009 Culture and the Evolution of Human Cooperation.So, it is a book full of powerful ideas, often with carefully balanced arguments on both sides, but beware of accepting the background assumptions without critical thinking, or you will just fall into the latest meme.
⭐ Didn’t finish – what starts as interesting history turns quickly into a biased, hateful rant against humanity. Obviously there is room for critique in that regard but that’s not why I bought it or what it is promoted as.
⭐ I don’t do book reviews too often. But this was definitely one of the most important books I’ve ever read. For me it was a massive shift in perspective that cleared up a lot of confusion I had about history and our strange modern life. The thesis is simple and profound; Q: What makes Homo Sapiens so different from the rest of the animal kingdom, and why are we so dominant? A: Our ability to create and share our Fictions; “the Inter-Subjective Realm.” I had studied many different philosophies over the years but I had never heard of this phrase, the “Inter-subjective Realm.” And now, it is staring me in the face as obvious. I’ve heard similar references about ‘artificial worlds’ or ‘hyper-realities’, but usually these things are characterized as a distraction or a kind of human malfunction (i.e. kids addiction to video games). Harari demonstrates in a convincing way that it is our Fictions…and our ability to share them, that give us immense power in nature. It is clearly this ability which sets us apart from the other animals. Many mammals can flexibly cooperate in small numbers through intimate acquaintances (say up to the Dunbar number, think of Chimps and Wolves). With this ability these small bands can adapt to changing group politics and to new environmental challenges. On the opposite end of the spectrum, some species can cooperate in huge numbers through hard-wired instincts (i.e. think of ants, or migratory or co-evolutionary species). Those species can do amazing things with their large numbers of individuals but they cannot adapt quickly to change as their behavior is ‘hard-wired’, only modified through eons of natural selection. However us humans can do both; we can flexibly cooperate in small or unlimited numbers, and in unprecedented ways. The mechanism behind this is our Fictions; which provide us the ability to communicate, simulate, plan, coordinate, and adapt in unlimited numbers. It is our Fictions that allow us to exceed the creative and manpower limits of modest numbers. Our Fictions are a kind of Software that we can use to rapidly adapt to the world around us. We can march in huge armies for a united cause for a monarch, then turn around and have a revolution which overthrows the King who launched the movement.So what are these Fictions? They are our Languages, our Gods, our Nations, our Corporations, and much more. Money is a kind of shared Fiction that establishes trust. Brands and Companies are fictional inventions, and so are religious or philosophical ideologies and idols. Our most cherished rituals and beliefs that we assume to be ‘true’ are the most powerful of all our Fictions. Fictions allow us to not only speak the same language, but to share the same customs, beliefs, and rituals. They allow us to follow the same laws & customs, to share strategies, and even swap dreams. So a devout Catholic can travel to Europe for the 1st time and meet another devout Catholic who is a stranger, yet instantly they can collaborate on an important project. Muslims could do the same with each other, as could employees of Volkswagen, or fans of the New England Patriots who have never met. Despite having no intimate acquaintance, they can meet for the 1st time and feel kinship. They can collaborate via their titles, beliefs, rituals, and procedures. Fictions allow us to specialize and to diversify in amazing ways. A scientist who studies the water cycle, a hydrologist, a structural engineer, a builder and a politician can come together to create a dam (something beyond any single person’s reach). In this doing this, they can alter the course of major rivers, a capability which was formerly the exclusive domain of the Gods of Old. We can even work together to build a ship that travels to the Moon, something WAY beyond the imagination of the ancients who wrote our Holy’ books.Our Fictions are not only our means to achieve power in nature, they are also the embodiment of our power in the real world. Indeed it is legal fictions like Gods and Nations and Companies…not individuals, that have the true power and influence in the real world. Even when an individual appears powerful or famous…its not the physical person per se with whom the power resides. In truth it is the ‘Celebrity’, the brand, or the LLC. Even the author of Sapiens is not working right now to achieve a book sale on Amazon. His likeness, his celebrity, his ideas and his copyright are doing the real work. That’s also how an Elvis who has been dead for 40 years can still sell $70 million worth of merchandise in 2017, and his Estate can buy property, hire employees and feed his decedents. That’s a pretty impressive feat for a (long since) dead guy! With this understanding of Fictions in mind, suddenly this crazy world actually makes a bit of sense. Seemly disparate things: bureaucracy, religions, Celebrity worship, LLC’s, people’s addiction to Facebook, the immersive quality of stories and movies, even Idealism itself…it’s all related to our Fictions. Our technologies also feed this passion and ability for shared imaginings. First with the invention of writing which allowed for accounting, bureaucracy, and the creation of laws, commandments, and legends. Then came an extension of those abilities with photos and films, TV and movies, and more recently the internet and social media. So what’s to come? I’d guess immersive environments, gamification, shared realities, and interactive collaboration. But the real technology then and now has always been our ability to imagine and embody our ideas into shared Fictions.
⭐ Any history of Homo Sapiens would be a colossal undertaking. Unfortunately, this book isn’t it.The good news:The book started off as a captivating discussion of the development and rise of our species. It reminded me that Homo Erectus spent a million years using stone tools but went no further. That Neanderthals disappeared in Europe when Homo Sapiens arrived. And at least for me, a fresh set of insights about the Agricultural Revolution – it was an accident, we can’t go back, and if it hadn’t happened we’d lack anything we call civilization.Some other provocative assertions were worth pondering. Humans are nothing more than animals with ideas. Ideas are lies we tell ourselves. And that humans unite when they shared delusions – whether it’s religions, nationalism, or sports teams. Also, our entire economic system – money, capitalism, et al, is another delusion that requires our faith in order to survive.The bad news:It’s not a history – it’s “Pop History.” Superficial with lots of bold assertions without any corroborating evidence. With five minutes on Google you can discover that some of the most outlandish stories are false (i.e. the Apollo astronauts encounter with the Navajo Indians.) If you thought Joseph Campbell’s “Hero With a Thousand Faces” was based on real research you’ll love this book. Much like Campbell Harari has given us an opinion piece disguised as a “history of humankind”.The book can be generously called a set of personal meditations of history and human nature, but done with little research and even scanter evidence. If it had been labeled such I might have approached the second half of the book differently.
⭐ Hare to see how this book got such great reviews. Very strange perspective, with a LOT of speculation. Not at all a scientific treatise.
⭐ Tedious … incoherent … unproven assertions … a never-ending sludge of what seemed to me to be summary paragraphs of one Wikipedia article after another. Occasionally, an interesting view or insight was presented, but these were never properly developed before the author was running off to another topic.
Free Download Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind in Epub format
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind Epub Free Download
Download Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind 2015 Epub Free
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind 2015 Epub Free Download
Download Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind Epub
Free Download Ebook Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind