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Sapiens

Cover of Sapiens

Sapiens

A Brief History of Humankind
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New York Times Bestseller

From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity's creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—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?

Featuring 27 photographs, 6 maps, and 25 illustrations/diagrams, this provocative and insightful work is sure to spark debate and is essential reading for aficionados of Jared Diamond, James Gleick, Matt Ridley, Robert Wright, and Sharon Moalem.

New York Times Bestseller

From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity's creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—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?

Featuring 27 photographs, 6 maps, and 25 illustrations/diagrams, this provocative and insightful work is sure to spark debate and is essential reading for aficionados of Jared Diamond, James Gleick, Matt Ridley, Robert Wright, and Sharon Moalem.

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Awards-
About the Author-
  • Yuval Noah Harari has a PhD in history from the University of Oxford and now lectures at the Department of History, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, specializing in world history. Sapiens has been translated into 26 languages, and has already become an international bestseller in the UK, Spain, Slovenia, Taiwan, and Israel.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    November 17, 2014
    Writing with wit and verve, Harari, professor of history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, attempts to explain how Homo sapiens came to be the dominant species on Earth as well as the sole representative of the human genus. He notes that from roughly two million years ago until about 10,000 years ago, we were not the only humans on the planet; many species preceded us, and some overlapped our tenure. Harari argues persuasively that three revolutions explain our current situation. The first, the cognitive revolution, occurred approximately 70,000 years ago and gave us “fictive” language, enabling humans to share social constructs as well as a powerful “imagined reality” that led to complex social systems. The second, the agricultural revolution, occurred around 12,000 years ago and allowed us to settle into permanent communities. The third, the scientific revolution, began around 500 years ago and allowed us to better understand and control our world. Throughout, Harari questions whether human progress has led to increased human happiness, concluding that it’s nearly impossible to show that it has. Harari is provocative and entertaining but his expansive scope only allows him to skim the surface.

  • President Barack Obama "[I]nteresting and provocative...It gives you a sense of perspective on how briefly we've been on this earth, how short things like agriculture and science have been around, and why it makes sense for us to not take them for granted."
  • Bill Gates "I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a fun, engaging look at early human history...you'll have a hard time putting it down."
  • Sebastian Junger "Thank God someone finally wrote [this] exact book."
  • Jared Diamond, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel, Collapse, and The World until Yesterday "Sapiens tackles the biggest questions of history and of the modern world, and it is written in unforgettably vivid language."
  • Washington Post "Sapiens takes readers on a sweeping tour of the history of our species.... Harari's formidable intellect sheds light on the biggest breakthroughs in the human story...important reading for serious-minded, self-reflective sapiens."
  • Wall Street Journal "Sapiens is learned, thought-provoking and crisply written.... Fascinating."
  • Dan Ariely, New York Times Bestselling author of Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality, and The Honest Truth About Dishonesty "In Sapiens, Harari delves deep into our history as a species to help us understand who we are and what made us this way. An engrossing read."
  • Michael Gerson, Washington Post "It is one of the best accounts by a Homo sapiens of the unlikely story of our violent, accomplished species....It is one hell of a story. And it has seldom been told better.... Compulsively readable and impossibly learned."
  • Atlantic.com "This was the most surprising and thought-provoking book I read this year."
  • New York magazine "Yuval Noah Harari's full-throated review of our species may have been blurbed by Jared Diamond, but Harari's conclusions are at once balder and less tendentious than that of his famous colleague."
  • Library Journal (starred review) "This title is one of the exceptional works of nonfiction that is both highly intellectual and compulsively readable... a fascinating, hearty read."
  • Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "An encyclopedic approach from a well-versed scholar who is concise but eloquent, both skeptical and opinionated, and open enough to entertain competing points of view....The great debates of history aired out with satisfying vigor."
  • Publishers Weekly "Writing with wit and verve, Harari...attempts to explain how Homo sapiens came to be the dominant species on Earth as well as the sole representative of the human genus.... Provocative and entertaining."
  • Dick Meyer, www.abcactionnews.com "The most idea-packed work of non-fiction I've read in years."
  • Booklist Best Books of the Year "In this sweeping look at the history of humans, Harari offers readers the chance to reconsider, well, everything, from a look at why Homo sapiens endured to a compelling discussion of how society organizes itself through fictions."
  • Booklist (starred review) "It's not often that a book offers readers the possibility to reconsider, well, everything. But that's what Harari does in this sweeping look at the history of humans.... Readers of every stripe should put this at the top of their reading lists. Thinking has never been so enjoyable."
  • John Carey, Sunday Times (London) "The sort of book that sweeps the cobwebs out of your brain.... Harari...is an intellectual acrobat whose logical leaps will have you gasping with admiration."
  • Ben Shepard, the Observer (London) "Harari's account of how we conquered the Earth astonishes with its scope and imagination.... One of those rare books that lives up to the publisher's blurb...brilliantly clear, witty and erudite."
  • John Gray, Financial Times (London) "An absorbing, provocative history of civilization...packed with heretical thinking and surprising facts. This riveting, myth-busting book cannot be summarised...you will simply have to read it."
  • Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times "Full of...high-perspective, shocking and wondrous stories, as well as strange theories and startling insights."
  • The Independent (London) "Not only is Harari eloquent and humane, he is often wonderfully, mordantly funny"
  • Guardian (London) "Engaging and informative.... Extremely interesting."
  • The Times (Ireland) "Harari can write...really, really write, with wit, clarity, elegance, and a wonderful eye for metaphor."
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Sapiens
Sapiens
A Brief History of Humankind
Yuval Noah Harari
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