A Brief History of Humankind

Book - 2014
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"The companion book to the free video series 'A Brief History of Humankind with Dr. Yuval Noah Harari' (from coursera) which can be watched on YouTube. A lively, groundbreaking history of humankind. 100,000 years ago, at least six species of human 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? Dr. 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. 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 behaviour from the heritage of our ancestors? Dr. 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. Thousands of people have taken his free online course, 'A Brief History of Humankind'"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Toronto, ON :, Signal/McClelland & Stewart,, 2014
ISBN: 9780771038518
Characteristics: 443 p. : ill., maps ; 24cm


From Library Staff

kristina_rad Jun 24, 2018

This book talks about the history of Humankind, who we are and how we have evolved. It's a unique history book. So many interesting and original idea's all brought together in one cohesive story. Clearly written and so complex in its breadth as there are many topics covered across many discipline... Read More »

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Dec 01, 2019

Recommended by Sam, Sept 2019

Nov 23, 2019

This is a wonderful book, but the hardcover weighs a lot. Wish I could figure out which library has a paperback edition available so I could exchange for one that is lighter.

Nov 15, 2019

This book is Harari's exploration into how Homo Sapiens evolved, what Homo Sapiens are dealing with now, and thereby gain insight into what Humankind may develop.

These questions are huge. While it may be informative about what projects are ongoing that may help to develop humans further, the biggest question of what we will become remains largely a mystery.

If there is a shortcoming of this book it is the scarcity of exploration of plausible futures. This is the real heart of the matter. Without this, the book ends in some disappointment.

Nov 09, 2019

Absolutely fascinating! I'll be buying this book so I can re-read again. If you are even remotely interested, check it out. Definitely worth the time to read.

Oct 22, 2019

It's a great book but wouldn't recommend it to people who wants to take their time reading because you can't renew this book since there's like 60 people constantly placing holds on this and you get 14 days to read it.

Sep 24, 2019

1 1/2 stars. Intriguing, fresh take on critical transitions in the evolution of human sapiens but seriously marred by regular and blatant editorializing. The latter builds suspicion that his scholarship,source selection, footnotes etc are carefully selected to support his soap box views on contemporary human society and culture. Perhaps his fresh insights are, indeed, marginal and not widely supported by more careful scholars.

IndyPL_SteveB Sep 21, 2019

This book is not what you expect to find from a general human history – no matter WHAT you expected to find. This is a stunningly thought-provoking and original look at how we developed as a human race – perhaps not original in all of the author’s individual points; but certainly very new in the way they are combined into a whole. You will find new ways of thinking about history and most people will find a dozen viewpoints to argue with. That’s okay, because the book is so well-written that the process of evaluating your own beliefs and putting them up against Harari’s will make you smarter. It would be great to read it in a group for discussion.

Instead of a timeline sequence of events in human history, Harari gives us a *macro-history* – an examination of the big issues and forces that created who we are as humans today. He notes that 100,000 years ago or so, *Homo Sapiens* was one of at least 4 humanoid species on Earth. What development occurred that gave Sapiens the advantage over Neanderthals and other cousins? Harari’s first big idea is that the mental development that most influenced our development was what he calls “The Cognitive Revolution”, in which we developed the power of imagination, the power of *fiction.* He goes on to discuss big concepts like the Agricultural Revolution, the Scientific Revolution, nationalism, “happiness,” and the future of humanity.

You are certain to have your buttons pushed, but your mind will be expanded.

Sep 11, 2019

I highly recommend "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind" written by Yuval Noah Harari to everyone. All people on Earth. It has some eye-opening ideas about racism, sexism, religion, consumerism and how it has swallowed us and others. It even talks about how nuclear bombs established peace on Earth. It is a long read because there is a lot of information to digest. But I can understand now why so many famous people such as Bill Gates, Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg recommend reading this book. Rating: 4.7/5. @readermariacom of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

Aug 18, 2019

I have not read this book, but the fact that monotheists run to fanaticism, as the book evidently contends, has long been apparent.
--- The polytheist says, "I have my gods, you have yours; that is all right." The monotheist says, "Your gods are an abomination and must be destroyed."
--- The main point of the Old Testament is Jehovah's demand that the Hebrews crush other faiths and wipe out their adherents. Solomon, once so wise, fell into wickedness by tolerating and worshipping the gods of his 700 wives (1 Kings 11). (The tales of Solomon, pro and con, are fictions to convey a message, as is true of all OT personages.)
--- Jehovah was a corporeal, anthropomorphic, pagan god whose body is many times referred to in the OT. Jehovah let Moses see Jehovah's hand and "back parts" (Exod 33:17-23). Compare Aristotle's incorporeal Prime Mover.
--- Jehovah also had the human weakness of violent anger. At one point he planned to "consume" all the Hebrews, but Moses shamed him out of it. "And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people." (Exod 32: 9-14) Moses then massacred the Hebrew faithless. (Exod 32:25-28) Over the subsequent mythical centuries, Jehovah did get rid of most of the Hebrews, saving mainly the tribe of Judah (whence "Jews"), and leaving them too to defeat and subjugation.
--- Before the Chaldean Exile, Jehovah was in fact a lesser Hebrew god; the main deities were Baal and the calves of Jeroboam the son of Nebat; see also others named in 1 Kings 11.
--- Even after the Jehovists took control among the Hebrews at Babylon, and produced the Old Testament writings then and later (500's thru 300's BC), their system was not a pure monotheism. Jehovah faced a rival god, Satan. The angels would be godlings in other systems; cf Iris the messenger goddess in the ILIAD.
--- The West long used the supposed superiority of monotheism to justify Western conquest and enslavement of polytheists.

Aug 17, 2019

highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition."--

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Oct 22, 2019

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Nov 05, 2015

Both scientist and conqueror began by admitting ignorance - they both said 'I don't know what's out there.' They both felt compelled to go out and make new discoveries.

SFPL_ReadersAdvisory Aug 18, 2015

"We did not domesticate wheat. It domesticated us."


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