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A Brief History of Humankind

by Yuval Noah Harari

From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity's creation and evolution - a number one international best seller - 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?

This provocative and insightful work is sure to spark debate and is essential for aficionados of Jared Diamond, James Gleick, Matt Ridley, Robert Wright, and Sharon Moalem.

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Recommendations: 5

Categories: Politics & Social SciencesAnthropology

Reading time: 1112 hours


Matt Mullenweg

I say Yuval is an author who can synthesize a ton of information across history, both modern and older, and present it in like a really compelling way. So I loved Sapiens like everyone did.

Sebastian Junger
Journalist, Author, and Filmmaker

I also recently read Sapiens by a guy named Harari. And I’m going to give that thing over and over again to everyone I know.

Reid Hoffman
Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist, and Author

It’s exactly the kind of broad thinking book that I think should be more in a general consciousness.

Naval Ravikant
Entrepreneur and Investor

It’s a history of the human species written by a professor of history in Israel. It’s absolutely mind blowing. It’s a very orthogonal view on humans clinically as we are.

Another book that I’ve shared a lot is Sapiens which is an incredible book that’s got nothing to do with plant-based nutrition. It’s just an amazing book. It explains human behavior and why we are the way we are in human civilization from soup to nuts. And I’ve read it now a couple of times. It’s a pretty astonishing book. I’m recommending that.