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Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind Paperback – 1 May 2015
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Interesting and provocative… It gives you a sense of how briefly we’ve been on this Earth ― Barack Obama
Jaw-dropping from the first word to the last… It may be the best book I’ve ever read ― Chris Evans
Tackles the biggest questions of history and the modern world… Written in unforgettably vivid language ― Jared Diamond
Startling... It changes the way you look at the world ― Simon Mayo
One of the best books I’ve read recently… Gives an excellent overview of how our species has developed ― Lily Cole
Sweeps the cobwebs out of your brain… Radiates power and clarity, making the world strange and new ― Sunday Times
Sapiens is packed with heretical thinking and surprising facts. This riveting, myth-busting book cannot be summarised in any detail; you will simply have to read it -- John Gray ― Financial Times
- Publisher : VINTAGE ARROW - MASS MARKET; 1st edition (1 May 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 512 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0099590085
- ISBN-13 : 978-0099590088
- Dimensions : 19.8 x 3.8 x 13.3 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 47 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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This is the best book I've read on our 'imagined orders', money, religion, politics, law etc, their clash with the discoveries of science, and how we try to find meaning in it all.
The author says that liberalism is the dominant religion today, I would say it's consumerism. Either way, or another way, can't wait to get into the authors next book
There are some errors in the book which are disappointing as it may undermine your faith in the rest of the book and there is a reasonable dollop of the authors opinion. By and large though I feel the author is pragmatic in his writing at the risk of upsetting many, which makes the book even more enthralling. No holds barred as they say.
It should be mandatory reading for most schools if not just for encouraging educated debate.
Thank you Yuval for this wonderful book. I will make reference to it regularly for many years I imagine.
Firstly I want to tell you that this is a history book. You might think that this is a boring book, but it's actually a fascinating book with lots of important events such as 2011 Egyptian evolution.
Throughout this amazing book, I learned that we, Homo Sapiens, had so many things in the world and how they survived against all the other types of humans. Because of this book, I started thinking that we have to stop doing some crazy war to take someone’s happiness and not achieve anything, and we know that from all those histories of the war.
One thing that I really liked about this book is that unlike the other boring history books Sapiens is more like an action book, to be honest. I got this feeling of excitement when I was reading this book because I was curious about what is gonna happen and why the event has occurred.
One thing I prefer for you to do is get a notebook or something that you can take the note and maybe get a dictionary as there some really hard scientific words.
I bet that you have never read something like this before. I believe that this is a great book because whilst learning history you will have so much excitement and everything.
I recommend this book to people aged 13 and over. I am 12 right now and I get a bit confused about some bits in this book.
Now you have read my whole review but I don’t think everyone will love this book as there are some hard words and scientific diagram but this will make you get A+ in History
I did find the book actually a bit disappointing towards the end; the first 2/3 were a fascinating read, with great insights, fresh perspectives, and well-written reflections on where we came from and how we got here. After that, however, the tone set in the first part of the book didn't work for the topics being discussed, and the narrative was lacking in the kind of surprising insights that made the first part such an enjoyable read.
Certainly a book I would recommend reading, but ultimately not as satisfying as it at first promised to be.
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Reviewed in India on 7 September 2018
Unfortunately, this enormous task is the book's own undoing. There is no room for any indepth discussions about the various complex issues, and no room to discuss the evidence. The book is filled with assertion after assertion, and virtually nothing to back them up. I looked in the reference section and I was shocked to see how few citations there were. Such a massive subject derserves ten times more citations. If you think you're getting a good scientific description of the facts, don't buy this book. This book is essentially his opinions, and not much else.
Any person who has strong knowledge within any of the subjects in the book will quickly realise that Harari is not an expert on much of what he writes about. He does not just make many claims. He makes many wrong claims. And many, many more misleading ones. It's one of those books that are popular with the layman, but not so much with the expert.
When he leaves the topic of evolutionary biology, premodern history, and starts talking about modern history the book gets slighter better. Or is that just because I'm not as well-versed in those topics? Do I just not see his errors there, just like a layperson would not see his errors in his account of evolutionary biology, intelligence research, and more? I won't know. The problem is I can't put much trust in him, because there are so many things wrong or misleading stuff elsewhere. And he doesn't provide sufficient evidence.
Even in the better parts of the book, it is ultimately somewhat dull. Not much new to learn for me, unfortunately. There are so many books about humans, many of them much better than this.
I wouldn't claim that this is the worst book ever, obviously. But to say that it is overhyped is to put it mildly. If you want to read a story, then perhaps you might find it interesting. If you want a factual account that is supported by an honest look at the available evidence, then go somewhere else.
What I loved about the book:
-I've really been looking for answers to many questions (about life, about evolution, about - why it happened this way and not that), things, and events (such a Britain, how it was able to rule over such big empires, etc.) I never understood. Having all it combined and presented in such a wonderful way was a treat to read.
- Not only this book gives a history of how it all happened, it does open up many avenues and offers some logical reasoning about things and why they happened that way and not in any other way. The good part is, it does that in an exploring way and not just throwing some facts on your face to deal with. It explores various options and slowly, gently, how we came about to be what we are, who we are, and why we are.
- The book, although I may not totally be satisfied with some of the reasoning or thought processes of the author on certain issues (And I still give 5 stars!! haha), offers some wonderful windows into perspectives I never thought of.
- I loved the way how the author deals with the future. Again, I may not agree with everything there, but it did give me some points to think about, some aspects I never considered worth the thought.
- The book not only deals with laws of nature, actually, it doesn't at all - it offers some eye-opening reasoning of why everything is the way it is.
What I did not enjoy that much:
-Well, this could be an individual choice, but somewhere in the middle, I found the book somewhat stretched on Capitalism and Industrial Revolution. I did get to understand and learn some things there too, but that was where I would have rated the book 4/5.
But by the time I ended the book, well, I was able to ignore having being bored for some time, for what all perspective I gained from the book.
Unfortunately, I also have to agree with many of the one star reviewers, that the books downfall is the almost constant speculation he engages in, without providing further evidence.
As an example, he states 'the creators of the cave paintings at Chauvet, Lascaux and Altmira almost certainly intended them to last for generations.'
This kind of statement is endemic of the sloppy thinking he engages in, where he will assume something for the sake of the narrative.
This wouldn't be a problem if it were in isolation, but it is a pattern repeated throughout the book, where he will base a conclusion off an assumption, then proceed to build a whole story off it. This relegates the book to a speculation rather than a historical account.
I would also advice Christians that he is rather condescending about religion in general and Christianity in particular. He describes Christianity as a 'myth' to be put in the same category as belief in Odin or in Wood Spirits. AS a Non-Christian I was annoyed over his presumptive anti-theism so I have no doubt that many believers will find him infuriating.
To sum up, this is an interesting and infuriating speculation of the humankind. Take it all with a shaker of salt.