Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

by Yuval Noah Harari


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New York Times Bestseller now available as a beautifully packaged paperback

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062316110
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/15/2018
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 290
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Yuval Noah Harari has a PhD in history from the University of Oxford and now lectures at the Department of History, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, specializing in world history. His first book, Sapiens, was translated into more than forty languages and became a bestseller in the US, the UK, France, China, Korea, and numerous other countries.

Table of Contents

Timeline of History viii

Part 1 The Cognitive Revolution

1 An Animal of No Significance 3

2 The Tree of Knowledge 20

3 A Day in the Life of Adam and Eve 40

4 The Flood 63

Part 2 The Agricultural Resolution

5 History's Biggest Fraud 77

6 Building Pyramids 98

7 Memory Overload 119

8 There is No Justice in History 133

Part 3 The Unification of Humankind

9 The Arrow of History 163

10 The Scent of Money 173

11 Imperial Visions 188

12 The Law of Religion 209

13 The Secret of Success 237

Part 4 The Scientific Revolution

14 The Discovery of Ignorance 247

15 The Marriage of Science and Empire 275

16 The Capitalist Creed 305

17 The Wheels of Industry 334

18 A Permanent Revolution 350

19 And They Lived Happily Ever After 376

20 The End of Homo Sapiens 397

Afterword: The Animal that Became a God 415

Notes 417

Acknowledgements 429

Image credits 431

Index 433

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Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sometimes I skim a history or science book that is a bestseller, but this book was so interesting that I read every word If you are a deeply religious person, only the first quarter of the book may interest you because as the book progresses it is clear that the historian is an atheist. That is no problem for me because I am more interested in his other ideas and his take on past periods in human history and possible human future. Some chapters are devoted to what makes humans happy and the author's twist on Existentialism.
sababob More than 1 year ago
This is a great book. It follows the lecture, by the same name and last taken by 38K student, given on Coursera. The author has a very unique and well balanced view of history, and instead of merely listing events, he explains how and why they happened. Everyone will get a very good history lesson from this book, and learn a number of facts that are uniquely presented in this text. A must for everyone interested in the history of us sapiens.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing book, written by an amazing man who has the wonderful ability to take very complicated issues and explain them as very simple ideas. Every Sapient on earth should read this book. It is a stunning book Which explains how we humans got here and where we are headed. It deserves our greatest respect for it's author and should be required reading in every classroom on Earth. This is the story about us,you and me and every human on Earth. Please read this and share it with everyone you know and pass it on to your Grandchildren for it is their generation to decide what will become of us.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Why do we read history? Winston Churchill said “The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” How about looking back 13.5 billion years ago when we were primordial soup? Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens takes you on a journey from the beginning of time. Take 20% off coupons from
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While giving a good, quick surmise of sapien history, the author neglects the built in quality that humans contain which give them hope for a future life, a reason for being other than for procreation. That nameless thing that we all posess, an internal urge for self preservation beyond our day to day needs and a knowledge thst there is more to life on earth thsn we can imagine.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good reading
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written and informative!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Superb and thought provoking book, love his (Noah) chain of thought, I think I need to read the book over again from the beginning. Super book 5 stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a shame. This book has so much good information, but the author writes with a condescending superiority, and, in order to make his point, attributes to certain groups beliefs that are not group beliefs. At one point, he states "that millions of pious Christians, Muslims and Jews manage to believe at the same time in an omnipotent God and an independent Devil." Jews do not believe in the Devil. I found the condescension and inaccuracies so frequent that I stopped reading half way through.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very disappointing. Nothing new.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hesitated buying and reading this book after reading reviews that characterized it as a “leftist polemic” and advised putting it down after reading the fist 100 pages. I’m glad that I ignored this advice. Sapiens is a fascinating and thought-provoking read. The author offers several possible explanations/theories about the influence of agriculture, science, economics, and religion on the evolution of homo sapiens and its culture.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An interesting premise, but a bit tedious and pedantic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked this surprisingly
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like all superior books, I was forced to confront fundamental assumptions by this work. Although it is not a traditionally scholarly work, it is erudite and eminently worthwhile. Harari's assertions are not backed up with the sort of meticulous detail required of hardcore academic scholarship; however, creating an academic treatise would have thwarted the apparent intention of the author which is to provoke a broader, more open view of what it means to be human for a wide range of humanity.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I can remember reading in a long while. I picked it up at an airport while waiting for a flight, read the first page or two and decided I had to get it. This book needs to be read with an open mind and with introspection. This is not a "history" book in the traditional sense, it interleaves scientific fact, well known historical events (as well as some less known), and offers thoughtful and logical interpretations and conclusions for what these have meant for humanity. It is written in a matter of fact way, with a lot of good examples to explain his analysis. It is fairly easy reading, but yet leaves you with a lot to think about. You may or may not agree with all the conclusions the author draws, but he does put together strong supporting arguments that merit consideration. I think you just have to read it and judge for yourself. I continue to recommend this book to numerous friends and family members, and have yet to hear any disappointment. Also, I am deep into Homo Deus currently, another good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an interesting read. The author makes you think about humanity in new ways and challenges you to ponder the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Read it twice and led a discussion on it. Wonderful, thought provoking insights!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What about Egypt? Not much on this but more focus on everything else.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If this book doesn't stop and make you think nothing will.
Brodk More than 1 year ago
Wish I could give it 4 stars, but then the book would have to earn it. Yes, some of the author’s assumptions and conclusions are breathtaking and make you hope that someone would try to confirm or refute his hypotheses. Definitely the first 100 pages are the highlight of the book, but even there I felt that his sweeping generalizations were unwarranted and maybe even contradicted by researchers (who knows exactly who did what in small bands 100,000 years ago, yet the author makes assumptions.). The second part of the book seems to me to be more polemical than the first and can be safely disregarded. Not recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It is vey insighrful and offers a fresh insight on the major developments in history. It is right up there with Jared Diamond's Guns Germs and Steel. I did feel the Author copped out on trying to explain why most societies are patriarchal.
brightCS More than 1 year ago
I agree with all of the previous readers in that Harari delivers an insightful exciting first third of the book. The phrase  that something or other was to be accepted because it was a "proven fact" marked a point where facts went out the window and Harari's opinions and speculations took over. From the first part of the book I know that he is a better author than that phrase, "it's a proven fact" led too. Everything after that became suspect and moved my skeptic level up quite a bit. And not a moment too soon. The arrangement of thought and delivery becomes sloppy and drips with loopy philosophical meanderings that should have been edited from this book. Jared Diamond should not be used as a comparison, as Diamond is consistent and believable, staying with topics he masters and is respectful of his audience. Not so in this book. If you have the discipline to read 100 pages and discard it, by all means buy the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The first hundred pages are among the most insightful I have ever read.  The next hundred I read diligently, hoping the author would get his mojo back. Very dis appointing.  After that I started flipping pages looking for A nugget.  I have now put it down and doubt I'll pick it back up. Strongly recommend you read the first part - well worth it.  Then put it down!
Anonymous 8 months ago
Sapiens: A brief history of humankind enable us to see the past, the present and the future from another perspective also talks about the reality that no many want to accept but is actually happening in life.
ElizabethJones1972 More than 1 year ago
Very good indeed!