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Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noal Harari

Reviewed by L. Bennett

Yuval Noal Harari has written exactly what the title of his book says -- a brief history of humankind. He begins in Africa eons ago and works his way to the present (2015, when the book was published), and takes a quick peak at future possibilities. To help clarify his points, Harari pulls examples individuals, societies, and events around the globe. It is surprisingly witty and easy to read. His perspectives are not always conventional, which makes his work intriguing and thought-provoking.

The book is divided into three parts each with several chapters covering how sapiens originated, how domesticating plants altered the course of social and political organization, money as a stand-in for myths, and the importance of ignorance, among other topics. Within the chapters are short sections of topical interest that also make consumption of the history possible in bite sized pieces. Much has happened since 2015 and I wonder if he would change his last chapter if it were written today. Nonetheless, I very much enjoyed Harari's perspectives and am glad I read the book.

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