A Brief History of Humankind

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100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens.

How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come?

In Sapiens, Dr Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the...

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Reviews and Recommendations

We've comprehensively compiled reviews of Sapiens from the world's leading experts.

Reid Hoffman CEO/LinkedInA grand theory of humanity. (Source)

Richard Branson Founder/Virgin GroupOne example of a book that has helped me to #ReadToLead this year is Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. While the book came out a few years ago now, I got around to it this year, and am very glad I did. I’ve always been fascinated in what makes humans human, and how people are constantly evolving, changing and growing. The genius of Sapiens is that it takes some daunting, complex themes and breaks them down into a fascinating, simple narrative. (Source)

Bill Gates CEO/MicrosoftBoth Melinda and I read this one, and it has sparked lots of great conversations at our dinner table. Harari takes on a daunting challenge: to tell the entire history of the human race in just 400 pages. He also writes about our species today and how artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, and other technologies will change us in the future. Although I found things to disagree with—especially Harari’s claim that humans were better off before we started farming—I would recommend Sapiens to anyone who’s interested in the history and future of our species. (Source)

Barack Obama Former USA Presidenteval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'theceolibrary_com-leader-2','ezslot_7',164,'0','1'])); Fact or fiction, the president knows that reading keeps the mind sharp. He also delved into these non-fiction reads. (Source)

Naval Ravikant CEO & Co-Founder/AngelListI’m rereading Sapiens again, because I love that book so much. (Source)

James Cameron It explains human behavior and why we are the way we are in human civilization from soup to nuts. And I’ve read it now a couple of times. It’s a pretty astonishing book. (Source)

Daniel Ek Both sobering and conservatively optimistic in equal measure, it seems even more relevant for us at the moment to learn from our socio-anthropological history. (Source)

Marvin Liao Partner/500 StartupsThe Joy of Not Working (Zelinkski), Flash Foresight (Burrus), The Art of Worldly Wisdom (Gracian), Sapiens (Yuval), The End of Jobs (Pearson), Deep Work (Newport), Sovereign Individual (Davidson), The Fourth Economy (Davison) & The Monk & the Riddle (Komisar). Every single one of these books completely changed how I looked at everything in the world & literally pushed my life in a new direction. They were Paradigm Shifting as they say. (hate that word but it really was a Paradigm Shift for me). (Source)

Whitney Cummings A great book about [how] we’ve evolved and why we have anxiety. (Source)

Bryan Callen Everybody should read it, it’s an amazing book. A brief history of humankind but it brings us to the present day. (Source)

David Allemann He changed my perspective on what is a true fact and what is human fiction. He also left me wondering: Are we the most aggressive species on earth that will destroy the planet? Or are we programmed for survival and will rise to the challenge? The answer might play out in our lifetimes. (Source)

Katie Keith This is a fascinating account of human history, told from a brand new perspective. It has made me think about what it makes to be human and what makes us different from all other species. It has also helped me to understand our place in history. (Source)

Yaro Starak And then, the best recommendation for me this year was “Sapiens” which was recommended I think 2 years ago by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg and that was really enjoyable, I loved “Sapiens” by Yuval Harari. (Source)

Louis Grenier You need to read “Sapiens” and “Homo Deus” by the same author, about the story of humankind and why we are who we are, which is a fantastic read. I think as a marketer, if you don’t understand people and if you don’t understand where we’re coming from, it’s going to be very difficult for you to break away from the crowd, (Source)

Dean Roller Changed my perspective on what it means to be a human being through a detailed history of our human species. I felt it gave me a broader awareness of why I do what I do. (Source)

Cory Zue Sapiens takes a ridiculously high-level view of human fiction/story and does an amazing job reframing how we perceive humanity and culture in a way that makes current-day society feel a bit silly. It’s also a phenomenal history book and chalk-full of really interesting information. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys musing on their/our place in the universe. (Source)

Nicky Cullen Just learning all about our past and our evolution. I'm only 150 pages in but it really is mind-blowing. (Source)

Emi Gal Currently reading Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari and I’m hoping to gain a better understanding of how humans became conscious beings. (Source)

Fabrice Grinda I don’t have an absolute favorite book. There are books that are meaningful to me at a given point in time. Right now that book is Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. The book is incredibly ambitious. It covers the history of humanity starting with modern cognition. It covers everything from why Sapiens ended up on top relative to other hominids, to gender roles, the agricultural revolution, the history of currency, empire and capitalism. It analyses recent developments and speculates as to where we might be heading. (Source)

Sergey Sapelnyk Noah Harari’s Sapiens is a book I enjoyed recently. As someone who reads a significant amount of business books, I feel like it’s easy to disproportionately read books that have a direct impact on your career/job/company etc. Reading Sapiens was interesting and different from what I typically read, and it was a thought-evoking book. Harari tries to explain all of humanity in 400 pages, and how humans have come to thrive throughout history. Although Harari has some disagreeable assumptions, it was overall a reading experience that expanded my perspective on the world. (Source)

Mehdi Kajbaf I think that every career path begins with an understanding of who you are and what matters to you. In that light I will suggest some self discovery books. And of course some great business books. (Source)

Bill Liao The human world occurs in language so best get good at it! (Source)

Dennis Fong Sapiens was awesome. I thought it was... Just fundamentally you learn so much about human history and even like the politics and the situation that we're in today, from it. I thought that was really good. (Source)

Ola Olusoga Selecting one non-business book is also tough. I recently finished Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, and it was "wow". Always interesting to dive into human behavior and history for clarity on how we got here and why we are the way we are (culture, society, e.t.c) (Source)

Gunhee Park Some other books I’ve really enjoyed: Sapiens. [...] (Source)

Deepak Chhugani I absolutely prioritize books recommended by friends or certain people. I started Sapiens a few days ago, but will have to see how much time I can actually give it. (Source)

Fabio Schvartsman is the CEO of the Brazilian multinational corporation Vale, which is in the business of mining and metals. He will be reading about some of the more remarkable figures in business and psychology this summer. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind—Yuval Noah Harari Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike—Phil Knight Sigmund Freud en son temps et dans le nôtre—Élisabeth Roudinesco (Source)

Simon Mayo Love this book still (Source)

Marcellus Wiley “Sapiens” by Yuval Harari Great book! (Source)

Ryan Shea [Ryan Shea said this is one of his most-recommended books.] (Source)

Lex Fridman Basically one of the things we've created here is we've imagined ideas that we all share. (Source)

Kishore Biyani Fascinating because of its multi-disciplinary approach towards understanding human society, our behaviour and our future. (Source)

Ashton Kutcher The brainy book I seem to be sharing or talking about the most lately. (Source)

Anurag Ramdasan A quitintessential book on the origin of Sapiens. Yuval makes history appealing with his amazing narrative. (Source)

Robert Jones What he’s saying is that the essence of humanity is to build our lives around fictions, and that, I think, is what branding is. It’s creating fictions around ordinary tangible objects—like a can of fizzy drink—or sometimes around things that are themselves fictions like a corporation. So that made me feel that although branding has become a big thing that we all talk about only in the last 30 years or so, it is actually a very human thing. (Source)

Aidan Connolly Many books have changed my view of the world, even when I don’t agree with everything an author says. I have enjoyed Yuval Noah Harari’s books Sapiens & Homo Deus and how humanity might evolve in the presence of AI, Robots and super humans. (Source)

Chris Goward Here are some of the books that have been very impactful for me, or taught me a new way of thinking: [...] Sapiens. (Source)

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