One of the most interesting books I’ve ever read. Superb
Completely and unashamedly ignores the contributions to science made by non-Europeans, such as during the Islamic golden age, the ancient Chinese/Indians, etc. I was also quite shocked by the author’s ignorance of the importance of science and secular knowledge in the Islamic tradition. He conflates divine revelation with secular knowledge, which were both considered separate fields, by early Islamic scholars and in several Prophetic narrations. However, if you want a good overview of European contributions to humanity, I suppose it’s a good book.
Stick with insightful analysis
“Sapiens" does an exellent job of serving it’s said purpose: giving an overview of human history. It’s an introduction. It’s a macro-view of how human society came to be what it is today. And some of it is not pretty. Harari definitely has some opinions in this book, but even he admits that there is more to the story. I think the information is, by and large, all presented in the most objective way he could have put it. You can find evidence from this book to support a number of differing opinions and that’s the marker, for me, that this author is not aspousing an ideology. And with that, the great thing about this book is that some particular part might inspire you to dig deeper and formulate your own opinions! We definitely need more books like that. Great read for anyone looking to have their curiosity peaked!
So know I've listened to another great book from Yuval Noah Harari. I've been a long time philosophy student and Harari could arguably be the Nietzsche of our time. His insights are soul piercing and the argumentation mind numbing. If I would take any ones futuristic prognostications seriously it would be the carefully constructed ideas of Harari. Anyway this was his first book and it was a huge hit for good reason. Harari presents the history of humanity from a unique/fresh/ and sometimes disturbing perspective. One thing for sure his ideas will stimulate your mind on multiple levels and you'll consider yourself fortunate for being exposed to his work. My only criticism is he doesn't narrate his own books. Derek Perkins reads all three of his books for the audiobook versions. He does a good job but he brings a British intellectual elitism to the text that Harari would not. Harari is powerful in intelligence but humble and gentle in his delivery. Point is- no one but the author should read the audio book- just saying. Now it's onto his second book- HOMO DEUS
Wonderful Book, builds the history of humans with the archeological findings and most likely cases on what could have happened and then gives a view of what is the most likely case. Brilliant one. As much as we would like to pretend the humans existed only couple of thousands of years this book takes you to the history too deep that a curious normal person like me can glance through the findings and understand and makes you think.
This is a very well-written and easy to read book about complicated aspects of human history. In most cases the author has synthesized good evidence to make insightful conclusions that illuminate important things about human history. But the chapters about sex/gender, women, and the nearly universal history of patriarchy were totally inadequate and unacceptable. First of all, to isolate the issues of the history of half the human race into a few chapters is ridiculous. The details there barely scratch the surface of the depth. The author offers three simple theories why patriarchy has been pervasive, then these chapters conclude essentially in, ‘I’m not sure.’ The only chapters to do so. Even though patriarchy is clearly related to one of the bigger themes of the book: that we humans create myths and imagined orders we enforce in culture. When he deals with racism, or classism, etc., he argues that these are clearly imagined orders, and they reinforce themselves in vicious cycles. And yet, this is not mentioned in the brief discussions of gender, though of course the same vicious cycles of reinforcement are occurring. He looks for biological differences, but then so briefly and inadequately covers them. No real discussion of biology or cultural layers of pregnancy, menstruation, birth control, puberty, labor/birth, breastfeeding, motherhood and fatherhood, the commodification of the female body, not enough about sex and sexuality. These are huge aspects of human history! He should’ve consulted more feminist anthropologists or something to overcome his own myopia. I loved the rest of the book but felt such a huge part was missing. And, as such an authority in the field, bestselling author etc, I feel it was his responsibility to do much better on this issue.