AUTHOR: YUVAL NOAH HARARI
BLURB: 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 mould 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
I’ve developed the habit over the years of balancing my fiction addiction with reading some thought balancing non-fiction. That’s not to say I don’t learn a lot about the “real world” and life from good fiction, but sometimes my inner-nerd needs feeding. On this occasion the meal was less of a mental snack and more of a full-on feast.
When my son asked if I could recommend something for him to read – not a fiction person in any real way – I immediately thought of Sapiens, but when he asked what it was about I dug deep to give a meaningful answer and failed miserably. The reason for this mental paralysis is the fact that as a history of humankind this well written and highly accessible book almost literally covers everything that has ever happened to us as a species and the mystery of what happened to our evolutionary competitors too. One could under-estimate its depth because of how easy a read it turned out to be and in doing so I think I lost the purpose in the fact that while it was to be my brain gym it turned out to be a darn good yarn into the bargain
The book was passed over with some trepidation because of my miserable attempt at explaining why I thought it was so good a read. Hopefully, my son will enjoy it as much as I did and he’ll be able to explain it better too!
The sequel to Sapiens, Homo Deus, now decorates my “To Be Read” shelf with a tempting promise to discuss the challenges we Homo sapiens face into the future. I think I have a brain itch.
What I Didn’t Like:
Learning something significant about the Neanderthals.
What I Did Like:
How the author made even the most
technical details accessible to the lay person (me!).