Sapiens

A Brief History of Humankind
by Yuval Noah Harari | 464 pages

Yuval Noah Harari has a PhD in history from Oxford and now lectures at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He also has popular online classes and his books have sold over 12 million (!) copies while being translated into dozens of languages. This book is an incredibly smart, well-written, astonishing look at, as per the sub-title, “A Brief History of Humankind.” The breadth and depth and wisdom of Harari's thinking is jaw-dropping. Distilling this 443-page mini-treatise on 70,000 years of Homo Sapien history is, obviously, impossible but we'll have fun taking a quick look at Homo sapiens' family tree (including our parents and brothers and sisters) plus the three revolutions that have shaped our history: The Cognitive Revolution + The Agricultural Revolution + The Scientific Revolution.


“About 13.5 billion years ago, matter, energy, time and space came into being in what is known as the Big Bang. The story of these fundamental features of our universe is called physics.

About 300,000 years after their appearance, matter and energy started to coalesce into complex structures, called atoms, which then combined into molecules. The story of atoms, molecules and their interactions is called chemistry.

About 3.8 billion years ago, on a planet called Earth, certain molecules combined to form particularly large and intricate structures called organisms. The story of organisms is called biology.

About 70,000 years ago, organisms belonging to the species Homo sapiens started to form even more elaborate structures called cultures. The subsequent development of these human cultures is called history.

Three important revolutions shaped the course of history: the Cognitive Revolution kick-started history about 70,000 years ago. The Agricultural Revolution sped it up about 12,000 years ago. The Scientific Revolution, which got under way only 500 years ago, may well end history and start something completely different. This book tells the story of how these three revolutions have affected humans and their fellow organisms.”

~ Yuval Noah Harari from Sapiens

I got this book after our big corporate client/partner asked me to create a Note on it. After reading The Sports Gene, I decided it was time to continue an exploration of the bigger picture so I picked it up. Malcolm Gladwell accurately summarized The Sports Gene in one word: “Fascinating.”

This one is “FASCINATING” with a head-shaking “Wow.” It’s an incredibly smart, well-written, astonishing look at, as per the sub-title, “A Brief History of Humankind.”

If that sounds like fun, I HIGHLY recommend it. Get a copy here.

Yuval Noah Harari has a PhD in history from Oxford and now lectures at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He also has popular online classes and his books have sold over 12 million (!) copies while being translated into dozens of languages.

The breadth and depth and wisdom of his thinking is jaw-dropping.

Distilling this 443-page mini-treatise on 70,000 years of Homo Sapien history is, obviously, impossible but I’m excited to share some of my favorite Big Ideas and help us extrapolate and apply some of history’s wisdom to our lives today.

So… Let’s jump straight in!

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About the author

Authors

Yuval Noah Harari

Israeli historian and a tenured professor in the Department of History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem