Sapiens: a brief history of humankind

Yuval N Harari, John Purcell (Translator), Haim Watzman (Translator)

Research output: Book/ReportBook


"Homo sapiens rules the world because it is the only animal that can believe in things that exist purely in its own imagination, such as gods, states, money and human rights. Starting from this provocative idea, Sapiens goes on to retell the history of our species from a completely fresh perspective. It explains that money is the most pluralistic system of mutual trust ever devised; that capitalism is the most successful religion ever invented; that the treatment of animals in modern agriculture is probably the worst crime in history; and that even though we are far more powerful than our ancient ancestors, we aren’t much happier." "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 earth to the radical – and sometimes devastating – breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural and Scientific Revolutions. Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, palaeontology and economics, he explores how the currents of history have shaped our human societies, the animals and plants around us, and even our personalities. Have we become happier as history has unfolded? Can we ever free our behaviour from the heritage of our ancestors? And what, if anything, can we do to influence the course of the centuries to come?"--
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherVintage Books
Number of pages498
ISBN (Print)0099590085, 077103850X, 1846558239, 1846558247, 9780099590088, 9780771038501, 9781846558238, 9781846558245
StatePublished - 2014


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