Yuval Noah Harari
In eighth grade, I had chanced upon Hawking’s Brief History of Time, read it, failed to understand half of it but still marvelled at the lucid approach an expert had taken to make a bundle of esoteric theories as clear as possible to a layman.
Sapiens is another such instance of a brilliantly written book — only most of its revelations should strike a much stronger chord with every person who reads it. While reading the book, one is amazed by how little of our own origin do we know, and wonders why none of this gets talked about as frequently during our days in school/ college and after.
In a rather moderately sized treatise on mankind, Yuval Harari talks about God, the religions of the world, the industrial age, capitalism and even briefly touches what the future might hold for the human race. The book is, at once, a celebration of the survival and triumph of the homo sapiens, a lesson on how we take our social, economic and political constructs as gospel when they are actually little more than figments of our imagination, and a heads up to the rapid pace of evolution that may be in store for our species.
I totally feel this book should be mandatory reading in school. It sounds nothing like our traditional history textbooks and tells significantly more. Anybody with a head on their shoulders reading this will realise the futility of the religious and political hostilities ongoing in the world right now. And perhaps, this can leave an impression on the young minds of our planet if not on the hardened brains of the adults.
Harari manages to use his in-depth understanding and lucid style to weave a story of mankind which is as engaging as any fictional best-seller. Only it is true.