‘Sapiens’ starts many millennia ago, so far back to when there were multiple kinds of human species roaming the savannas of Africa. Harari starts with how humans gained cognitive skills to make us different than our chimp cousins. From there, how we developed agriculture to money, empires, and religions. Lastly, we see what might be in the future for the human race, even if there is a human race in the future.
There are so many great conversation points brought up by the author that just make your mind go in laps until it explodes with so many questions! Later, in the post, I will bring up some of the points that fascinated me the most. This would be a great book to read with a friend because of all the conversation that can stem from it. This book is very accessible as there is also a graphic novel edition that I read previously, they cover almost the exact same material. I also like that it never seemed that the author was criticizing a culture or religion, putting down their beliefs as silly. He really laid out the facts and held no personal judgment, something I find rare in today’s society. I learned a lot from this book and that is my goal when I read. I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Sapiens’.
Now onto some of the things that I learned while finishing my first book of 2023.
- How much we do not know about ourselves as humans. There is still so much to learn about ourselves as a species.
- How everything impacts well, everything. Our ancestors on the African continent would find a sweet fruit tree and have to eat as much of the fruit as possible before other wildlife would get there. This is why we are so fond of sugar and have a sweet tooth today. One quote stated, “Even today, scholars in this field claim our brains and minds are adapted to a life of hunting and gathering.”
- Chapter five discussed animal cruelty and how it has been a part of agriculture for thousands of years. I won’t go into too much detail but I am shocked by some of the things that were being done to animals back then before big slaughterhouses were around.
- One quote even mentioned how money, human rights, and the United States of America are all man made constructs. This is something that I have thought about in the past but to actually read about it in depth really made me think about it.
- That there has always been some kind of hierarchy since the start of time and that it might be based on religion.
- No one knows why patriarchies seem to be the dominant kind of society.