A Brief History of Humankind

Downloadable Audiobook - 2015
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"From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity's creation and evolution--a #1 international bestseller--that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be "human." One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one--homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us? Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas .Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become? Featuring 27 photographs, 6 maps, and 25 illustrations/diagrams, this provocative and insightful work is sure to spark debate and is essential reading for aficionados of Jared Diamond, James Gleick, Matt Ridley, Robert Wright, and Sharon Moalem"--
Publisher: New York :, Harper,, [2015]
ISBN: 9780771001901
Characteristics: 1 sound file : digital
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ArapahoeAnna Feb 07, 2017

Sapiens is a light read. Mixing speculation, science, and history, Harari organizes his theory around breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural, and Scientific Revolutions. Interesting ideas and open ended questions would make for a good book club discussion.

Jan 22, 2017

3 (of 5) stars - A highly overrated essay-style book on the rise of humanity, full of generic observations and opinions that are not especially compelling.

Jan 06, 2016

I had heard so much enthusiasm about this book, and I was disappointed. The word play and informal tone made it easy to follow and engaging. But it was poorly organized: the chapter headings are misleading: he regularly goes out of its scope; more than half of the book is devoted to the last 500 years; about the last tenth of it is devoted to wild speculating about the future whilst trying to use the tone and authority of serious scholarship and the imprimatur of science; the book is largely a cultural criticism of the last 500 years using the resources of cultural anthropological theories - such a wide variety of them that they cannot be coherently deployed (but because these are not explicitly mentioned the reader is oblivious to them and just gets carried away by the story he tells). When Marvin Harris wrote his books (eg., "Kings And Cannibals") laying out his materialist theory of culture, at least was intellectually honest; Harari just picks out whatever he wants from anthropology regardless of the contradictions.
The narration is clear and delivered at an even tempo, and the gentle English accent is nice to listen to.

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