Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on September 11, 2017
How do I dislike Homo Deus? Let me count the ways.
1. Loved Sapiens. This is a disappointing sequel
2. Authorial voice couldn’t be trusted. Was he advocating a point of view? Being a neutral reporter? Or something more devious? Midway through the book I started mistrusting him as an author, and his last sentences—asking the reader whether the materialist worldview he’d been touting throughout the book might be wrong—confirmed that he wasn’t trustworthy.
3. Attack on humanism. He describes humanism as an ideology based solely on feelings (“it’s wrong to kill someone because it makes the victim feel bad”—I’m not kidding; this is what he says is humanism’s position). What about the various declarations of inalienable human rights that have been proclaimed over the last centuries, including the right to life? He doesn’t bother to discuss this.
4. Never really nails down a discussion of an issue. Just says the same thing in various ways and moves on. Doesn’t give arguments against some of his most basic claims, e.g. humans are just algorithms. Which again is why it’s so startling when he asks the reader, at the end of the book, to ponder if maybe we aren’t algorithms.
5. Doesn’t seem to grasp that today’s image of the universe as an algorithm is just as much rooted in our present-day understanding as when some centuries ago people spoke of the ‘clockwork universe.’
6. ‘The system.’ He regularly speaks of something he calls ‘the system’ that is controlling things, but he never says what he means by this. He comes off like some 60’s hippie in the U.S. calling the government ‘the man’ and blaming everything on ‘the man.’
7. The title. He never delivers. Calling the book Homo Deus makes you think he will investigate the various ways that humans might upgrade themselves. I got weary of his endless repetition of humanity’s supposed goal of immortality, bliss, and divinity. He should have spent less time in the preface promoting this trinity and more time in the third section discussing it. When he finally gets around to talking about the future, he skips lightly over the possibility of upgraded humanity to get to the more alarming idea of the end of humanity. The book should have been called Homo Extinctus.
8. I could go on, but why? If you want to read more about the flaws of this book, read some other 3-star reviews.
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