Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Just finished reading Sapiens. It feels like so many people are reading / recommending this right now. Other than being a great book, it’s also very timely. Add me to the long list of people singing its praises.

Sapiens is definitely the best book I’ve read this year and it’s hard to imagine me finding something more impactful for a while. A superb narrative of our species’ transition from hunter gatherers to farmers to current day. The author tells of our storytelling capability and how it’s bound our cultures and societies together (and also put them to war against each other). He does this by introducing the notion of “myths” and how they apply to fairly obvious things (e.g. superstitions) — but also to modern concepts we consider to be fundamental rights and natural law. It’s very thought provoking, delivered in a way that doesn’t appear to be driven by a religious, political or even ideological agenda.

The last couple of chapters is the most important part to me where he talks about purpose and happiness. To quote Yuval Noah Harari (the author) from a recent interview:

“Maybe the most important lesson to learn is that even though humans are extremely good in acquiring power, they are not very good in translating power into happiness…
… If we don’t change our basic mental patterns, than the power we will gain in the twenty-first century may well upgrade us into gods, but we will be very dissatisfied gods.”

Anyway, loved it — just read it. Link below.

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