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Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind Hardcover – Illustrated, February 10, 2015

4.6 out of 5 stars 18,457 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month for February 2015: Yuval Noah Harari has some questions. Among the biggest: How did Homo sapiens (or Homo sapiens sapiens , if you’re feeling especially wise today) evolve from an unexceptional savannah-dwelling primate to become the dominant force on the planet, emerging as the lone survivor out of six distinct, competing hominid species? He also has some answers, and they’re not what you’d expect. Tackling evolutionary concepts from a historian’s perspective, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, describes human development through a framework of three not-necessarily-orthodox “Revolutions”: the Cognitive, the Agricultural, and the Scientific. His ideas are interesting and often amusing: Why have humans managed to build astonishingly large populations when other primate groups top out at 150 individuals? Because our talent for gossip allows us to build networks in societies too large for personal relationships between everyone, and our universally accepted “imagined realities”--such as money, religion, and Limited Liability Corporations—keep us in line. Who cultivated whom, humans or wheat?. Wheat. Though the concepts are unusual and sometimes heavy (as is the book, literally) Harari’s deft prose and wry, subversive humor make quick work of material prone to academic tedium. He’s written a book of popular nonfiction (it was a bestseller overseas, no doubt in part because his conclusions draw controversy) landing somewhere in the middle of a Venn diagram of genetics, sociology, and history. Throughout, Harari returns frequently to another question: Does all this progress make us happier, our lives easier? The answer might disappoint you. --Jon Foro

Review

Sapiens tackles the biggest questions of history and of the modern world, and it is written in unforgettably vivid language.” (Jared Diamond, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel, Collapse, and The World until Yesterday)

Sapiens is learned, thought-provoking and crisply written…. Fascinating.” (Wall Street Journal)

“In Sapiens, Harari delves deep into our history as a species to help us understand who we are and what made us this way. An engrossing read.” (Dan Ariely, New York Times Bestselling author of Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality, and The Honest Truth About Dishonesty)

“Yuval Noah Harari’s celebrated Sapiens does for human evolution what Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time did for physics.… He does a superb job of outlining our slow emergence and eventual domination of the planet.” (Forbes)

“[I]nteresting and provocative…It gives you a sense of perspective on how briefly we’ve been on this earth, how short things like agriculture and science have been around, and why it makes sense for us to not take them for granted.” (President Barack Obama)

“I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a fun, engaging look at early human history…you’ll have a hard time putting it down.” (Bill Gates)

“Thank God someone finally wrote [this] exact book.” (Sebastian Junger)

Sapiens takes readers on a sweeping tour of the history of our species…. Harari’s formidable intellect sheds light on the biggest breakthroughs in the human story…important reading for serious-minded, self-reflective sapiens.” (Washington Post)

“It is one of the best accounts by a Homo sapiens of the unlikely story of our violent, accomplished species.…It is one hell of a story. And it has seldom been told better…. Compulsively readable and impossibly learned.” (Michael Gerson, Washington Post)

“This was the most surprising and thought-provoking book I read this year.” (Atlantic.com)

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4.6 out of 5 stars
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18,457 customer ratings
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Harvinder Singh
1.0 out of 5 stars Fake print
Reviewed in India on September 6, 2018
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Eff
2.0 out of 5 stars Assertions, assertions, assertions... Evidence, please.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 21, 2018
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Execellent Read
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3.0 out of 5 stars Over praised
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 20, 2018
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Connor
3.0 out of 5 stars A brief speculation about the history of humankind
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1.0 out of 5 stars Over-rated book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 25, 2018
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Sonal
5.0 out of 5 stars THOUGHT PROVOKING!!
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1.0 out of 5 stars Author's bias chimes like a bell in a timely fashion.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 30, 2018
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 19, 2018
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3.0 out of 5 stars 100 Interesting facts in 10 minutes
Reviewed in Germany on June 15, 2019
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1.0 out of 5 stars IYI
Reviewed in Canada on August 12, 2018
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2.0 out of 5 stars okayish
Reviewed in India on December 31, 2018
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D. Haley
4.0 out of 5 stars Sapiens is a fascinating, thought-provoking, and at times sobering account of humanity.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 8, 2018
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Max Baxter
2.0 out of 5 stars The good and interesting bits are covered better in other books ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 12, 2018
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Lou
1.0 out of 5 stars Waste of time
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 13, 2019
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