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215 Yuval Noah Harari: Sapiens

The story of human history can be understood through the development of shared myths and the ability to cooperate on a massive scale.

Yuval Noah Harari: Sapiens


"Sapiens" is a journey through the history of humankind, from the emergence of Homo sapiens in Africa to the present day. The book explores how human beings have used shared myths and stories to create communities, cultures, and civilizations, and how we have developed the ability to cooperate on a massive scale. It also examines how technological advances have shaped human history and the future of our species.


Title: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Author: Yuval Noah Harari

Publishing Year: 2015

Publisher: Harper

Length in hours: 15 hours and 18 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. The Cognitive Revolution: How humans evolved the ability to think and communicate with each other through the use of language and shared myths.
  2. The Agricultural Revolution: How humans transitioned from hunter-gatherer societies to settled agricultural societies, creating the basis for modern civilization.
  3. The Unification of Humankind: How shared beliefs, myths, and stories have allowed humans to form large, complex societies and cooperate on a massive scale.
  4. The Scientific Revolution: How scientific discoveries and technological advancements have transformed human societies and shaped the modern world.
  5. The Future of Homo Sapiens: How the rise of artificial intelligence and biotechnology may shape the future of our species and the world we live in.
Yuval Noah Harari: Sapiens

5 funny quotes

  1. "The cognitive revolution is accordingly the point when history declared its independence from biology."
  2. "The wealthy have the most to fear from a breakdown of law and order, because they have the most to lose."
  3. "The discovery of agriculture was a mistake that led to a population explosion."
  4. "Consumerism can be defined as buying things we don't need with money we don't have to impress people we don't like."
  5. "The Agricultural Revolution paved the way for the appearance of Homo destructor, the human destroyer."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "The real difference between us and chimpanzees is the mythical glue that binds together large numbers of individuals, families and groups. This glue has made us the masters of creation."
  2. "The Agricultural Revolution was history's biggest fraud. Who knows how many lives have been lost to this idyllic myth?"
  3. "The discovery of agriculture was a curse rather than a blessing, and humanity's relentless expansion proved to be the worst thing ever to happen to the natural world."
  4. "Money is the most universal and most efficient system of mutual trust ever devised."
  5. "The Scientific Revolution has not been a revolution of knowledge. It has been above all a revolution of ignorance. The great discovery that launched the Scientific Revolution was the discovery that humans do not know the answers to their most important questions."

5 dilemmas

  1. The Agricultural Revolution: The dilemma of whether the benefits of settled agriculture and domestication outweighed the costs of a more sedentary and labor-intensive lifestyle.
  2. The Scientific Revolution: The dilemma of reconciling scientific discovery with traditional religious and philosophical beliefs.
  3. The Industrial Revolution: The dilemma of balancing the benefits of increased efficiency and productivity with the social and environmental costs of rapid industrialization.
  4. World War I: The dilemma of national pride and power versus international cooperation and diplomacy.
  5. The Information Age: The dilemma of balancing the benefits of unprecedented connectivity and knowledge-sharing with the potential risks of surveillance, misinformation, and addiction.

5 examples

  1. Lucy: The name given to the partial skeleton of a female hominid who lived in Ethiopia 3.2 million years ago and is one of the earliest known examples of human-like creatures.
  2. Emperor Qin Shi Huang: The founder of the Qin dynasty and the first emperor of a unified China, who ordered the construction of the Great Wall of China and the Terracotta Army.
  3. Alexander the Great: The ancient Greek king who conquered much of the known world, spreading Greek culture and ideas throughout the lands he conquered.
  4. Zheng He: The Chinese admiral and explorer who led several expeditions throughout Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and East Africa in the early 15th century.
  5. William Harvey: The English physician who discovered the circulation of blood and challenged prevailing beliefs about the human body and the nature of disease.

Referenced books

  1. "Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies" by Jared Diamond
  2. "The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution" by Francis Fukuyama
  3. "The Origins of Totalitarianism" by Hannah Arendt
  4. "The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined" by Steven Pinker
  5. "The Selfish Gene" by Richard Dawkins

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"Consumerism can be defined as buying things we don't need with money we don't have to impress people we don't like."

Yuval Noah Harari: Sapiens
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