Background

Yuval Noah Harari is a historian, professor, and author.

Summary

Yuval Harari explores the history of humankind and how we became to dominate the Earth.

Interesting Ideas

Harari shares that there are three important revolutions that have shaped history: the cognitive revolution (70,000 years ago), the agricultural revolution (12,000 years ago), and the scientific revolution (500 years ago).

Harari highlighted that we are part of the great apes family, which we may sometimes take for granted.

One mind-blowing fact was that the human species Homo Erectus survived for close to 2 million years in East Asia.

150,000 years ago counting all species together, there were no more than 1 million humans living on Earth.

Between 3500 BC and 3000 BC written language was invented by the Sumerians. Written language was first developed for record-keeping purposes.

My favorite part of the book was the timeline of history which highlighted the biggest phase transitions in human history and the cosmos. For example:

  • 13.5 billion years ago matter and energy appeared,
  • 4.5 billion years ago the Earth formed,
  • 3.8 billion years ago life emerged,
  • The first stone tools 2.5 million years ago,
  • The daily usage of fire 300,000 years ago,
  • The cognitive revolution starts 70,000 years ago,
  • 12,000 years ago the agricultural revolution starts,
  • 5000 years ago the first script is developed,
  • 500 years ago the scientific revolution starts.

Positives

The book was detailed and clear. Harari also presented a lot of information in a digestible form.

Some Criticisms

No major criticisms.

Check out his book, here (Amazon link)

If you are interested in topics about human existence and why we are here, you should check out my essay The Search for Truth (on religion, the limits of science, philosophy, language, and the purpose of life).


Bibliography

Harari, Yuval. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. McClelland & Stewart, 2016.


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