Sapiens

A Brief History of Humankind

Paperback, 498 pages

English language

Published July 6, 2014 by Vintage Classics.

ISBN:
978-0-09-959008-8
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4 stars (83 reviews)

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (Hebrew: קיצור תולדות האנושות‎, [Ḳitsur toldot ha-enoshut]) is a book by Yuval Noah Harari, first published in Hebrew in Israel in 2011 based on a series of lectures Harari taught at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and in English in 2014. The book surveys the history of humankind from the evolution of archaic human species in the Stone Age up to the twenty-first century, focusing on Homo sapiens. The account is situated within a framework that intersects the natural sciences with the social sciences. The book has gathered mixed reviews. While it was positively received by the general public, scholars with relevant subject matter expertise have been very critical of its scientific claims.

19 editions

reviewed Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

Sapiens

4 stars

Lots to think about... I loved some of it, and many of the ideas presented made me question my outlook of the world! He also, however, threw a few curved balls, and let myth sit as fact in places. One of my favourite stories from the book, the one about Buzz Aldrin and the Native American, looks to be a myth for example. Other sections just didn't come to much (the chapter on gender for example, although it was written 2011 and these debates develop quickly). It is interesting to see how the book has aged... sometimes well, sometimes not so much. Overall worth the read, and helpful for reflecting on these things.

reviewed Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

Un bon punt de partida

5 stars

Primer de tot, li poso 5 estrelles perquè rarament aconsegueixo acabar un llibre tant llarg havent-lo llegit d'una manera tan fragmentada, cosa que diu molt de l'estil de redacció.

Dit això, he passat per sentiments molt contrariats durant la lectura del llibre, moltes tenen a veure amb la meva ideologia, mes vermella que no pas altra cosa, però no descarto que moltes d'aquestes queixes vinguin mes del meu desconeixement. Per altra banda si que puc coincidir que en moltes coses el autor peca de reduccionista i si ve entenc que per explicar tota la historia de la humanitat no et pots anar entretenint gaire, com a mínim si vols ser atractiu per el públic general, que es el que intenta el llibre, si que he trobat que en algunes seccions, com per exemple quan parla de la discriminació de la dona o d'altres temes que ara no puc posar per …

Wissenschaft, die Spaß macht.

5 stars

Bücher über wissenschaftliche Themen können ja verdammt zäh sein. Man fühlt sich manchmal eher wie in einer drögen Vorlesen und nur sehr bedingt unterhalten. Bei Harari ist das völlig anders.

Die Geschichte der Menschheit "kurz" (der Wälzer ist immer noch dick genug) und so lesbar zu beschreiben, dabei aber immer wissenschaftlich fundiert und nachvollziehbar, das ist schon eine Meisterleistung. Man versteht auch sofort, woher einige Entwicklungen der Menschheit kommen, ohne sich dabei belehrt zu fühlen.

Eine absolute Empfehlung. Vielleicht nichts für die ganz jungen und (die meisten) Teens, aber Jugendlich und alle Erwachsenen sollten das Buch ganz dringend lesen.

Review of 'Summary: Sapiens: A brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Those of us prone to questioning humanity, our own and in general, are bound to find some clarity in this exceptionally clearly written history. It was especially helpful for me in my pandemic-induced reassessment of my place in the world.

Review of 'Summary: Sapiens: A brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Das war schon beeindruckend - jede Menge interessante Informationen darüber, wie sich der Homo Sapiens zur vorherrschenden Art auf diesem Planeten aufgeschwungen hat und wie wir und unsere Gesellschaft überhaupt funktionieren. Er geht dabei auf die unterschiedlichsten Aspekte ein (Landwirtschaft, Wissenschaft, Religion, Ideologien).

Die Sprache ist leicht zu lesen, bildhaft und häufig mit einer Prise Humor gewürzt. Man benötigt nicht wirklich viele Vorkenntnisse, um dem Autor zu folgen, die Bereitschaft, sich auf bestimmte Gedankenspiele einzulassen, reicht völlig aus. Auf jeden Fall weckt dieses Buch die Lust auf mehr Bücher von Harari und regt zu weiterer Recherche an.

Review of 'Summary: Sapiens: A brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

I wanted to enjoy this book, hoping it would have something new about early man I didn't know but before, but really didn't. I ended up getting not very far at all before I couldn't stand any more. The way the author kept calling things like social hierarchies 'imagined fictions' grated on me.
If I'm a dumb dog, and I go to food, and observe another dog tries to bite me whenever I go near that food, and that dog is bigger than me and won't bite me if I wait my turn, then my lack of imagination doesn't stop that situation from being reality. Similarly, society doesn't need fictions from things like religion - it did serve a useful function and I don't mind a book that acknowledges that early society used it for things like banding together to attack a common 'enemy' (read: the guy with food/goods you …

Review of 'Summary: Sapiens: A brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

First feeling: I really enjoyed 99% of this book. The ending, which focuses more on our species' future was less credible, or maybe less well explained.

Second feeling: this ending is meant to make people react. Saying "I don't agree with it" means I don't understand it (yet?)

Third feeling: he's making a lot of future assumptions about things that he says himself may not even come up. Nobody foresaw the internet. So things will very likely end up being quite different from what we expect.

Review of 'Summary: Sapiens: A brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

It is a good overview of world history. I really enjoyed the parts that were new to me. I didn't know the story of the fall of the Aztec Empire. I didn't know that China and India were significantly ahead of Europe economically in 1500 and I didn't know why they failed to jump into the Industrial Revolution. I liked the chapters that explained shifting perspectives.


During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Europeans began to draw world maps with lots of empty spaces – one indication of the development of the scientific mindset, as well as of the European imperial drive. The empty maps were a psychological and ideological breakthrough, a clear admission that Europeans were ignorant of large parts of the world.




Anyone looking at the map and possessing even minimal curiosity is tempted to ask, ‘What’s beyond this point?’ The map gives no answers. It invites the observer …

Review of 'Summary: Sapiens: A brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

I'd heard a lot of good about this book, and the start was promising, but then I started to get a little annoyed...



There are natural limitations to a book, and a book like this, taking so broad a subject, must of necessity be superficial and selective, but even so, this one quickly wound up feeling far less a history of humankind, and far more a history of Euro-american humankind. Most annoying conisdering how global a view it started with. And so towards the end I come across bits like this:



"When judging modernity, it is all too tempting to take the viewpoint of a twenty-first century middle-class Westerner. We must not forget the viewpoints of a nineteenth-century Welsh coal miner, Chinese opium addict or Tasmanian Aborigine. Truganini is not less important than Homer Simpson."



And that all sounds very good, and I agree, but I wonder how it is …

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