Sapiens by Yual Noah Harari
As an entrepreneur, I always wanted to understand the exciting story of humanity, so that I can contribute to this amazing narrative. One who dreams of adding value to the world should have some idea about who we are as a species and what got us to where we are today. In this context, the one book that anyone can read and enjoy, that unravels the most exciting story of humanity would be Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. The book gives a bird’s eye view of the most significant events that shaped humanity in the last seventy thousand years. What events and inventions shaped the story of a small insignificant bunch of hunter – gatherer apes to be the masters of the world as we know it today? Read Harari’s Sapiens to know more.
The book talks about three distinct revolutions that shaped the history of humanity. The early cognitive revolution started history about seventy thousand years ago, the agricultural revolution sped it up about twelve thousand years ago and the scientific revolution that started just five hundred years ago, is predicted to end history and start something very different from the history known to us so far. The book starts of by describing the different species that belong to the genus – Homo. It talks about the other human species which roamed the deserts of Africa for thousands of years along with us – Homo Sapiens. It gives a comparative accout of Homo Sapiens along with its cousins, – Neanderthals and Denisovans. It explores the pragmatic reasons which helped Homo Sapiens to survive the competation of evolution.
The book explores the history of agriculture in a very unconventional way. It compares the lifestyles of the avarage farmer with that of the avarage hunter – gatherer. It opens up the discussion of wheater the concept of domesticating and mass producing plants actually helped the humans in their pursuit of world domination or not. It gives a very pragmatic analysis of agriculture in comparison to hunting. The agricultural revolution certainly increased the surplus of food at the disposal of humans. The book analyses in depth as to discover wheater this surplus of food was a boon or a bane.
The ability to co-operate and collaborate in large numbers turns out to be the single most important reason for the success of our species. The book goes on to answer the question of how human beings managed to organise themselves in mass co-operation networks. Humans managed to create imagined orders, such as religions, imperial empires and monetary systems such as capitalism to help collaborate at a mass scale. They also devised writing and scripts, which helped in developing stories that lead to large scale cooperation between individual humans. The book then talks about various social systems such as racism, castism and male dominance and analyses why we needed such social systems and the role it played in leading our species toward world domination. The subject matter is analysed in a very objective manner and with an unconventional prospective. One can get hooked to the book very easily from this point onwards and the pages turn fast.
The book goes on to discuss the role played by imperialism and religion in fair detail. It talks about the great imperial empires, such as the Roman, Chinese, Mesepotomian and the recent British colonial empire. It goes on to explain the formation of such empires, the wars, the stories of nationalism that united us and the underlying secret behind mass cooperation. It then explains the different religions of the world. It provides a comparative study of monothesist religions such as Christianity and Islam along with non thesist religions such as Buddism. In the chapters on imperialism and religion, the book provides a very interesting case about the role they played in the story of human kind. The book explores reasons as to why the masses believed in the powerful hand of the king or the in words written in the holy books. It is very vividly written and can hold the attention of the reader for a long time.
The last five hundred years have witnessed a phenomental and unprecedented growth in human power. The book talks about the great scientific revolution which started off thanks to our discovery of ignorance. Modern science took off admitting the fact that we don’t know everything, and that there is more to discover and research, than what we already know. Modern science aims to acquire new powers, in developing new technologies and improving the quality of humankind. Untill now, most cultures did not believe in progress, as they presumed that the holy books had answers to all the important questions out there. But with the discovery of ignorance, this was to change forever, thanks to the advent of modern science and technology. Now, to encourage scientific research and development, the imperial empires had to focus their resources to provide the patronage for scientific experiments. The book explores how this lead to the modern capitalism. It explains the rise of money and capitalism in a very vivid and entertaining manner. It explains what money is, how it came into being and how it favoured the modern scientific revolution, which has bought us to this point in history.
The last parts of the book go on to combine all the discussions made so far. It goes on make its theory about the rise of industry, capitalism and liberalism on the backdrop of the discussions so far. The book analysis wheater or not the modern human being is happy or not, in comparison with the human in pre – historic times. The analysis is objective and leaves a lot of questions for the reader to ponder upon. It talks a bit into the future of the human race and what direction it might take in the future. The book does a great job in educating the reader about the history of human kind. It also opens up the mind of the reader about the future and lets him think and find answers to a variety of questions.
As a value creating entrepreneur, this book has helped me understand the story of mankind. It has helped me in thinking about the future possibilities so that I can align my actions and contibute towards the great story of mankind. I would recommend this book to anybody who feels proud to be a human being. This is the exciting story of our species and opens up our minds to understand how we reached this point in history.
Happy Reading !
7th March 2019