The book documents humanity from our evolutionary roots, through the cognitive revolution, which has given us transcendence over any living animals, to an almost God-like state of consciousness. It explores the history of mankind from evolutionary angles, and strips back imagined structures that we all unconsciously adhere to, like capitalism and nationalism. Even the chapters on agriculture and other topics that didn’t seem so glamorous in retrospect, opened my mind like nothing I’ve ever rea before.
And the book is written so concisely that it’s accessible to just about anyone. Although dipping in and out of complex theories and ideologies, Harari’s writing style is forever engaging and simple. The 500 or so pages flew by as if I were reading a thriller, yet the ideas he presented have made me challenge my own beliefs and preconceptions about almost everything we think and know in modern society. It gave me the intellectual stimulation of reading countless academic essays, yet with the ease of a commercial thriller.
I rarely read non-fiction, but this book has given me a scolding for this, and a huge incentive to read more. I can safely say it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read, and opened my eyes as much as the first time I read 1984.
There is so much to discuss in Sapiens, but I won’t even begin to try and explain some of the ideas Harari presents, because, well, he does it so much better. This book is absolutely incredible. If there’s one non-fiction book you read in your lifetime, let it be this one. And it’s position on the new york times’ bestsellers list is testament to how good, but accessible, it is. Or at the very least, watch the author’s Ted talk, which essentially condenses the biggest ideas of the novel into a short talk.