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Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind Hardcover – Oct 28 2014

4.5 out of 5 stars 96 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Signal (Oct. 28 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 077103850X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771038501
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3.5 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 748 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 96 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #100 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“Here is a simple reason why Sapiens has risen explosively to the ranks of an international best-seller. It tackles the biggest questions of history and of the modern world, and it is written in unforgettably vivid language. You will love it!”
—Jared Diamond, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and SteelCollapse, and The World until Yesterday

"I have just read Yuval Noah Harari's book Sapiens. It is brilliant. Most likely the best – and I have read very many –on the history of humankind. I have never read anything better. I think it is sad to think of all the people that will not get to read it.”
—Henning Mankell

"Sapiens is the sort of book that sweeps the cobwebs out of your brain. Its author, Yuval Noah Harari, is a young Israeli academic and an intellectual acrobat whose logical leaps have you gasping with admiration...Harari's writing radiates power and clarity."
The 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."
—Financial Times

"Sapiens is a starburst of a book, as enjoyable as it is stimulating."
Sunday Express
"Sapiens is a fast-paced, witty and challenging romp through 70,000 years of human history...I did love it, and if you are interested in the whole story of humankind, I'm confident that you will love it too."
—Literary Review
“Not only is Harari eloquent and humane, he is often wonderfully, mordantly funny…. Sapiens is a brave and bracing look at a species that is mostly in denial about … the crossroads it is rapidly approaching.”
—The Independent

From the Back Cover

One hundred thousand years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations, and human rights; to trust money, books, and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables, and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come?

In Sapiens, Professor Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical—and sometimes devastating—breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural, and Scientific Revolutions. Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, paleontology, and economics, and incorporating full-color illustrations throughout the text, he explores how the currents of history have shaped our human societies, the animals and plants around us, and even our personalities. Have we become happier as history has unfolded? Can we ever free our behavior from the legacy of our ancestors? And what, if anything, can we do to influence the course of the centuries to come?

Bold, wide-ranging, and provocative, Sapiens integrates history and science to challenge everything we thought we knew about being human: our thoughts, our actions, our heritage...and our future.

--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of those books that come across your lap rarely, yet have the power to both educate and entertain. The subject of the book is us: humanity, and how we've evolved over the past many years, how some of our cultural issues have evolved, and where we could go in the future. To say the book is wide-ranging is an understatement: this is a book about everything we care about as humans.

The book examines human history from early days of walking through each of the major revolutions and evolutions: the move to argricultural peoples instead of wander-gatherers; the birth of the concepts of town and cities and the need to manage them; the development of tools, touching on everything to the current day; how societies arose; our warlike nature; the technological leaps that created engines and paper, as well as everything else we depend on; and how we interact with the world around us. To say this is a massive subject is so much of an understatement as to be laughable, yet this book tackles it all, in levels of detail that make it clear why each step in the process is critical and important, and yet never getting bogged down. We've got science, we've got religion, we've got politics, and we've got everything else thrown in too.

All of this in an eminently readable book: you can enjoy the process of reading these pages, seeing how the author builds, chapter over chapter, to spin the big story. You can see where issues arise and how we solved them, or, in some cases, why they still remain problems. There's a lot of words here, without many illustrations to break it up, but if you are patient, the value of this book is immense. Easily the most "important" book I've read for years, covering such a massive subject in a way that I enjoyed reading about.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This came up as a book club choice, whereas I prefer lighter reading. On the plus side he put forward a number of intriguing theories about the distinct phases of our species. He seemed overly romantic about the wanderer-gatherer stage, perhaps choosing to belittle the possibility that abandonment or killing less competent members was a likely reason for number containment,hence the bump with homesteading. There were also a couple of ideas presented that evidence now suggests are unlikely to be true; which I suppose reinforces his proposal that the Scientific Revolution is the era of Ignorance i.e. continually testing previously held "truths". My biggest complaints were repetitiveness and being long winded.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It was certainly thorough, but frankly it really did not provide the level of insight I was led to believe. While I'm no expert in this area, I expected to learn a lot more than I did and also to be provided with more guidance toward the future. Decent effort, but a long way from a classic.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Yuval Noah Harari, professor of history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, provides the reader an exhilarating romp through human history from the very beginning right through to the present day, and with an eye to the future. The author moves rapidly through the first 80,000 years or so of human history, from when the species homo sapiens appeared in East Africa about 200,000 years ago, to: “The appearance of new ways of thinking and communicating between 70,000 and 30,000 years ago, (that) constitute the cognitive revolution”
During those first 40,000 years, homo sapiens drove the Neanderthals and all other human species from the face of the earth, thanks to their emerging capacity for social cooperation, organization into larger groups, and ability to plan and strategize.
From there, the author’s broad sweep of history takes us through the development of the greatest of all historical ideas, from the agricultural revolution starting about 10,000 years ago, to the ever greater unification of humankind through the emergence of empire, the spread of the great religious traditions, to the scientific and industrial revolutions and the rise of capitalism and of nationalism.
From the point of view of peace and conflict studies, I was particularly interested in is his assessment of how peaceful the world has become in recent decades. He describes a new world order in which peace prevails. He notes that in the year 2,000 a mere 1.5% of all deaths in the world were the result of war or violent crime. He attributes this peacefulness to the growing implausibility of war. The increasing cost of war has combined with declining profits.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are many books on the history of nations and empires, but not much on the history of our species as a whole. The book starts of in the forests of Africa and tracks how these weak, insignificant apes ending up on the moon.

The author discusses how everything from evolutionary psychology, the rise of empires, the role of religion, the scientific revolution, and competing economic systems played a pivotal role in creating our modern world. Yuval does a great job explaining these difficult concepts in a very clear and succinct way that's accessible to most people.

Unlike many other books on the "history of human kind", the author isn't Euro-centric in his outlook. He makes sure to discuss Chinese, Arab, Indian, South American, and African history as well.

Overall, a very great book that will fundamentally change how you view the world and your role in it.
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