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  • Sapiens

  • A Brief History of Humankind
  • By: Yuval Noah Harari
  • Narrated by: Derek Perkins
  • Length: 15 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 18,291
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 16,133
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16,043

Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Take the Negative Reviews w/ a Grain of Salt

  • By Gabriel on 08-29-18

Post-modernist rant, flashes of grounded opinion

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-29-17

I was attracted to the book based on a recommendation, and from an interest in evolutionary psychology. And I actually enjoyed most of Part I, which dealt with loosely accepted origins of the cognitively aware humans we know and live as today. But from there, the book took a disappointing turn. It diverged into an ideological rant against agriculture, Western Civilization (or all civilizations really), the evils of modern technology, and most of all against the "myths"of every belief system in the modern world. While these arguments may be ostensibly in the the vein of a devil's advocate, it quickly became clear that Harari was presenting a fast and loose version of HIS view of history, regardless of the grounding material.

I don't have problem with critiques or examinations of human thought and beliefs, but Harari condemns almost all modern structures of society, without recognizing any of the obvious benefits. It seems that this 1st world writer, in a country with free speech, touting the benefits of science and the age of Enlightenment, believes that we should all go back to gathering nuts and hunting wild game in the pure foraging bands of yore. "Obviously" we were all happier back then, due to the esteemed wisdom of the Great God of Evolution. (also a benefit of modern rational thought, btw).

So, bottom line, I made it six hours in and had to quit. I couldn't listen to any more ungrounded rants against modern life, passed off as established facts about the past. Harari hates where society is at of present, but won't recognize that he is an unqualified benefactor of that society. So while I was hoping for something educational, all I got was postmodern evangelism. So now I'm out $14.95 and looking for an actually informative and truly grounded companion to the Maps of Meaning series that got me interested.

158 of 200 people found this review helpful