21 Lessons for the 21st Century

Narrated by: Derek Perkins
Length: 11 hrs and 50 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (9,796 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Number One New York Times Best Seller

In Sapiens, he explored our past. In Homo Deus, he looked to our future. Now, one of the most innovative thinkers on the planet turns to the present to make sense of today's most pressing issues.

"Fascinating...a crucial global conversation about how to take on the problems of the twenty-first century." (Bill Gates, The New York Times Book Review)

How do computers and robots change the meaning of being human? How do we deal with the epidemic of fake news? Are nations and religions still relevant? What should we teach our children? Yuval Noah Harari's 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is a probing and visionary investigation into today's most urgent issues as we move into the uncharted territory of the future. As technology advances faster than our understanding of it, hacking becomes a tactic of war, and the world feels more polarized than ever, Harari addresses the challenge of navigating life in the face of constant and disorienting change and raises the important questions we need to ask ourselves in order to survive. 

In twenty-one accessible chapters that are both provocative and profound, Harari builds on the ideas explored in his previous books, untangling political, technological, social, and existential issues and offering advice on how to prepare for a very different future from the world we now live in: How can we retain freedom of choice when Big Data is watching us? What will the future workforce look like, and how should we ready ourselves for it? How should we deal with the threat of terrorism? Why is liberal democracy in crisis? 

Harari's unique ability to make sense of where we have come from and where we are going has captured the imaginations of millions. Here he invites us to consider values, meaning, and personal engagement in a world full of noise and uncertainty. When we are deluged with irrelevant information, clarity is power. Presenting complex contemporary challenges clearly and accessibly, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is essential listening.

Praise for 21 Lessons for the 21st Century:

"If there were such a thing as a required instruction manual for politicians and thought leaders, Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari's 21 Lessons for the 21st Century would deserve serious consideration. In this collection of provocative essays, Harari...tackles a daunting array of issues, endeavoring to answer a persistent question: 'What is happening in the world today, and what is the deep meaning of these events?'" (BookPage)

"A sobering and tough-minded perspective on bewildering new vistas." (Booklist)

©2018 Yuval Noah Harari (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Listeners are encouraged to consider multiple points of view, and [narrator Derek] Perkins delivers them earnestly, creating a contemplative mood." (AudioFile)

Featured Article: 20 Best Political Audiobooks to Better Understand the World


The best political audiobooks are those that resonate with the current political climate while keeping history relevant, revealing truths about the government and extrapolating details about the uncertain future. Our top 20 picks probe myriad branches of politics, both American and foreign, inspecting existential and moral questions that feel intensely relevant; listeners will find memoirs from famed political leaders and scientifically driven texts alike.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good stuff, but mostly repeats

I loved Sapiens and Dues, recommended to many friends and family. I was really excited for this book but was disappointed as so much of it was repeat from earlier books, it felt like the Cliff Notes for Dues. If I hadn't read the other books this would be 5* all the way, but I did...

70 people found this helpful

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Should Have Stopped with Sapiens

The substantive content for this series has inexorably thinned as the books keep on coming. What's left is the author's panoptic speculation thinly tethered to facts or even reality.

Seems like a money grab to capitalize on the popularity of Sapiens, which covered most of the relevant ground quite well.

Other than his pronunciation of "Junta" with a hard "J", Derek Perkins did an admirable job in reading this book and sustaining interest in an otherwise anemic work of scientific, sociological and technological speculation.

Bottom line: Spend your money on something else.

35 people found this helpful

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A world controlled by cognitive dissonance

Yuval Harari is a Historian, Philosopher, Scientist, Futurist, and formost a thinker of the 21 century. This is rare in a world of specialist, and indeed his books reveal connections from multidisciplinary subjects no others have achieved. It’s always a real pleasure digesting his intellect.

In 21 Lessons for the 21st century he does not disappoint. He reveals the present dilemma facing the world. Nationalism does not resolve global problems such as Global Warming, Global unemployment due to automation, or Nuclear threats, Genetic Engineering, and other high risk high reward scientific endeavours. Only a global authority can act, failing which nations will accelerate threats to get ahead.

Tragedy of the commons has just gone global, and danger looms if we don’t act sensibly. Understanding our cognitive dissonance, and biases, and accepting we are part of a global community is something discussed in a convincing manner. Delving to what is real and what is fiction Harari opens our eyes to how such fallacies control our lives.

A highly recommended read, along with his other books.

76 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

not nearly as good as his first two.

unfortunately sapien's is by far his best book, homo Deus his second, and this one is a few steps down from homo Deus

13 people found this helpful

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Unlike the other two books

Unlike the other two books. The author introduce his points of view as a facts. Nothing to take from this book. The only good thing they did this time is the massive marketing campaign before releasing the book which made me preorder it.

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

This is what happens when a brilliant thinker writes a book not because he has a book's worth of stuff to say, but because his publisher wanted another book. A plodding series of discontinuous, half-formed thoughts, unjustified therefores, and banal conclusions. If you've read Sapiens and Homo Deus, you'll find almost nothing new in this book. If you haven't read them, you'll find an author drawing conclusions from the most threadbare of observations. Not quite a waste of time and money, but awfully close.

104 people found this helpful

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Should have been titled "A case for Secularism"

‘Sapiens’ was one of my favorite books of the last few years, ‘Homo Deus’ was a good listen but I sensed that the future was not a strong point for Harari. This book derails my desire to listen to more. While the first third, much a rehash of past content, is a pleasant and a well-read listen, I find myself getting more annoyed as the read continues. I get Harari is a Secularist and I even agree with some of his points, what I struggle with is the way he argues them. Specifically, he makes huge generalizations about both what he agrees in and what he doesn’t, missing the grey in all of it. If you need a case to feel good about a Secularist approach then this book will help. If you want some interesting insight in history and the world, stop at ‘Homo Deus.’ This will be a very unsatisfying experience after the last two books.

8 people found this helpful

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story of human kind

this is an essential read as:
1. it shows the most logical explanation of current state of the humanity
2. it tries to explain how we got here
3. it offers a basis for real discussions to happen without too much confusion for to closed mindsets
4. it dispels most important biases that humanity faces without even realizing it.
5. it concludes with a path to understanding the world within by introspection.

a must read for every sapien

19 people found this helpful

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One of the top 10 books to read in a lifetime

This book is very insightful and helps understand the mechanisms than make out our different societies and psychics - it teaches good lessons and can be a great tool in understanding modern day societies, regimes and the human experience.

2 people found this helpful

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From the author of Sapiens

Sapiens is the only book I wish I could give 6 stars.
21 Lessons gets 5 from me because it is that good, but I suggest starting with Sapiens.

2 people found this helpful