52 Good Books

Book Review – Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

Sapiens is the story of how an ordinary ape climbed down from a tree and turned itself into a plane flying, television broadcasting and telephone conferencing human. This is the story of how we became us.

The subtitle to Sapiens is: A Brief History of Humankind. However I think it is important to note that this isn’t a mere stroll through the king’s and queens of Britain or a list of long forgotten empires. In Sapiens Yuval Noah Harari sets out to do something else entirely. He plots, right from our hunter gatherer ancestors through to today, how we developed on each stage of the journey. What propelled us into certain directions such as agriculture? (And why it wasn’t necessarily a good thing.) How did money and religion take root? And how did science pave the way for empire? This book is about analysing trends and working out the underlying reasons for them.

Harari comes across as a genius amongst mortals. He seems to have immense knowledge and wisdom, to the point that I just wanted to climb in his head and take a good look around. Sapiens is the next best thing, I suppose, but I honestly couldn’t get enough of it. At 466 pages long this is a fairly hefty book, but quite frankly I could have done with 466 pages more and that is why I have already bought the second book: Homo Deus.

What I loved about this book was that Harari made me look at things in an entirely new light. He got the cogs in my brain turning and now that I’ve finished the book I just want to pick it back up and read it all over again.

Ask me what my favourite book since starting this challenge is… Go on, ask me…

Sapiens is one of the most insightful and thought provoking books of our time. I can’t believe my life has been without this book for the last four years since it was written and I beg of you: don’t let yours be without it either!

Come back next Monday – I’ve been listening to the audio book of Buddhism for Busy People by David Michie. I’ll be happy to ‘enlighten’ you next week!

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