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From Animals into Gods: A Brief History of Humankind

4.4  ·  Rating Details ·  61,862 Ratings  ·  5,798 Reviews
100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens.

How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, tim
Paperback, 484 pages
Published July 16th 2012 by CreateSpace (first published 2011)
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Jerry It is now available in English via Amazon with title Sapiens. I took his Coursera on line class based on book and was amazed.
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Adrian I agree with you Ellen. I'm listening to the audiobook during my hour long commute and on many occasions I found myself listening for 30 minutes and…moreI agree with you Ellen. I'm listening to the audiobook during my hour long commute and on many occasions I found myself listening for 30 minutes and reflecting for 30 minutes. (less)
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Community Reviews

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Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind is a book bound to appear on a large number of coffee tables and favorite lists, and be picked up even by those who normally would not find the time for reading. It will certainly not be the next A Brief History of Time, which is often named as the world's top unfinished popular bestseller.

Both A Brief History of Time and Sapiens share a similar, worthy goal - to explain complex issues in a way which can actually be understood and comprehended by most people
Liad Magen
Mar 30, 2013 Liad Magen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book had changed my life, the way I think, the way I precept the world.
I think it should be an obligatory book for everyone on this planet.
Sep 05, 2013 Moran rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I believe I am relatively familiar with history in general, and I'm usually not very excited about reading more about it. But this book was something else.
Beautifully written and easy to read, this book just made me want to know more and more about how the author thinks the world evolved to what it is today. Revolution by revolution, religion by religion, conception by conception, things were simplified and yet still maintained valid points - and it was never boring.

The best thing about it was
Petra Eggs
The book was too much a basic primer for me, at least to start with, but that's probably because I've read too many books on our origins biologically and culturally. Once the author had us settled into the civilization of cities he waxed romantically (as authors on this subject quite often do) on the life of the hunter gatherer and its perfection. (I've just finished Sebastian Junger's Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging and there was more of that.) If it was all so perfect then more of us would ...more
Marc Gerstein
May 05, 2015 Marc Gerstein rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Had I stopped reading after the first section, I’d have given this a five stars and whined that the Goodreads platform doesn’t aloe reviewers to go higher. But I didn’t stop. I kept reading, . . . until it got so bad, I found myself unable to do more than skim, and eventually, to just skipping large chunks.

It starts out as a fascinating discussion of the development and rise of our species, homo sapiens. But starting in the second section on the Agricultural Revolution, Harari shift gears and dr
This book is a superficial gloss on human history. Nice try but it excludes too much data in favor of an overarching conceptual view to be deeply interesting. Stopped reading for reasons detailed below at p. 304 of 416.

Considering the outlandishness of some of its claims—the downside of the Agricultural Revolution, the joys of Empire—the book seems weirdly under-sourced. The bibliography is beyond meagre. Don't get me wrong, I like a little informed speculation as much as anyone. Take for exampl
Feb 28, 2015 Andy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The only parts of this book that really grabbed my attention were the chapters on early humankind, and especially the interaction between Homo Sapiens and other Homo species. The rest of it is a very pedestrian and basic journey through some aspects of human history, with the author making a lot of sweeping assertions and tending towards a rather vague and disembodied explanation of things like culture, money, etc. These sort of general explanations might be good for someone new to the study of ...more
Tanja Berg
Rating 5* out of 5. This is one of those rare books which is superbly written, intelligent and mind-altering. I am convinced by this author's arguments and my view of the human condition has changed permanently.

I thought this would be a book that would delve lavishly in later human evolution, but it is does not. It discusses it briefly and moves on, concentrating its effort on the times of agricultural revolution and forward. It is a masterpiece of anthropology.

"Ever since the Cognitive Revolu
Mar 16, 2016 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to David by: Arun Divakar
This is an excellent book about the history of humans, covering all aspects; evolution, anthropology, geography, psychology, religion, ideologies, and the future of humans. Physically, the book is beautiful; the glossy paper makes it heavy as well. What really makes the book interesting is the unique points of view that the author, Yuval Harari, brings to life.

For example, early in the book, Harari mentions that chimps and sapiens (humans) can only organize in groups of up to 150, without organi
Beginner's guide to sociobiology.
And since I am a complete beginner, perfect for me.

I finished this some six months ago: interesting to see what has remained: gossip, something I hate and rarely indulge in, is an important factor in creating social cohesion, (so perhaps I should revise my attitude to it). True, when you think about it: you and I can only gossip about someone we both know. And it might be important to know who is forming an alliance behind our back. However, as social glue, goss
Nov 26, 2015 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very well read by Derek Perkins, I highly recommend this book to everyone. Whatever your beliefs, you'll find plenty of food for thought in this relatively brief outline of our history from a middling animal to whatever the hell we are now. It's about 15 hours long, but never dragged a bit. I made excuses to listen every minute that I could & even downloaded the ebook to reread sections for clarification & to ponder a bit more at length. I highly recommend this method. (I'm putting this ...more
Ehud Amir
Jul 27, 2012 Ehud Amir rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Brief History of the Right Questions

At the 16th Century, Peter Bruegel the Elder has painted his Landscape with the Fall of Icarus: a farmer works in the field, ships sail by – and at the bottom, at the corner, almost invisible, Icarus falls to the sea. The Icarus Myth is remembered for thousands of years; the farmer in the painting had lived and died in anonymity. Why, therefore, had Bruegel painted such a small and marginal Icarus and such a central farmer?

“A Brief History of Humankind” by Y
Ranjeev Dubey
Feb 03, 2015 Ranjeev Dubey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every once in a decade, a book comes along that has the capacity to radically change the way we think about matters of substance. This book is one of them.

It asks fundamental questions about our evolution as humans and offers counter intuitive, tangential viewpoints. It tests our thinking, provokes new trains of thought.

The book is highly readable and an immense provocation. It must be read, whether or not you are particularly interested in mankind, its history, its evolution or its future. I
Mar 10, 2017 Darwin8u rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
"The ability to speak about fictions is the most unique feature of Sapiens language...fiction has enabled us not merely to imagine things, but to do so collectively."
-- Yuval Noah Harari , Sapiens


The writing style reminds me a bit of Bob Wright's The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology, Mann's 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, or Sagan's Cosmos. It is obviously a book directed at non-academics interested in 'Big History'.

If I
Dec 11, 2012 Natan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
There is no doubt that, as a book, it is excellent. The author takes a very complex subject and makes it very clear. He is also not afraid to make controversial statements, which get you thinking about some deep questions.

I think my main complaint is that he comes across as a little too sure of his own opinions, stating them as facts. Indeed he himself says that today's scientific culture is one of "ignorance", meaning we know there are things we don't know (just like Donald Rumsfeld), so how ca
Sapiens was an occasionally interesting but ultimately disappointing read.

Where Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel was a transformative investigation of the origins of civilization, Yuval Harari's Sapiens is a divisive, ideologically driven [Cognitive Revolution = Cultural Determinism] which twists data to fit a pre-existing theory. Back of it all, the entire book, is the final chapter where Harari frets about genetic engineering, cyborgs, and AI [artificial intelligence].

Readers, unless c
Jul 05, 2015 M. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: müspet-bilimler
Başlarda güzel giden (bilimsel ifadeler, kaynak gösterme, objektif anlatım, konu bütünlüğü) kitap giderek subjektifleşmeye ve çizgisini bozmaya başlıyor.

Normatif ifadeler, empirik yöntemler dışında sezgiye dayalı aksiyomlar... Alenen propagandası yapılan Kapitalist söylem de cabası.

Büyük bir heves ve şevkle başladım lakin beni hayal kırıklığına uğrattı.
Şu ifadeye bakalım:
"İkinci cevap da biraz daha sabırlı olmamız gerektiğidir. Kapitalistlerin söz verdiği cennete ulaşmamıza çok az kalmıştır. Tar
Jul 08, 2012 Hedva rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best non-fiction books I have ever read.

It is amazing that such a young person could grasp the whole history of mankind, synthesize it and present it in such and interesting, coherent, fluent way.
A real pleasure to the mind.
Arnab Paul
Jul 16, 2015 Arnab Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
বই রিভিউঃ
কিছু কিছু বই পড়ার পর চিনতা করার ধরণ পালটে যায়। Yuval Noah Harari'র A Brief History of Humankind:Sapiens পড়ার পর এমনটাই মনে হল। পরায় সাড়ে চারশো পৃষঠার বইটিতে মানুষের আবিরভাব,বুদধিবৃততিক বিকাশ , কৃষিবিপলব , সভযতা ও ধরমের পরবাহ, পরযুকতিবিপলব থেকে একেবারে অদূর ভবিষযতের মানুষের কথা (আদৌ মানুষ থাকবো কিনা ততদিনে,নাকি ইতোমধযে অনযকিছু হয়ে যাবো?) পরযায়করমে আলোচিত হয়েছে।ঝরঝরে লেখার সটাইল, গলপে গলপে মানুষের ইতিহাস বরণনা।
পৃথিবীর গোড়ার ইতিহাস, সভযতা, ধরমতততব, রাজনৈতিক ইতিহাস, কলোনিয়াল যুগ, অরথনীতির ব
Jan 28, 2017 Mümin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
-Sana bir sorum olacak: Nasıl oldu da bir bilim kitabı ülkemizde haftalarca çok satanlar listesinde kendine yer bulabildi?

+Çok basit. İyi polisiyeler her zaman çok satar.

-Saçmalama lütfen. Bu kitap polisiye değil ki. Hatta kurgu bile diyemeyiz.

+Belki de deriz. Şöyle: Şimdi istersen iyi bir polisiyenin özelliklerini düşünelim. İyi bir polisiyede neler vardır söyler misin?

-Öldürülen birisi ya da birileri. Bu cinayeti işlediğinden şüphelenilenler. Cinayete dair ipuçları. Akıcı bir anlatım. Merak d
Jan 01, 2017 Yakup rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
İnsanoğlunun süreçteki serüvenini bir çok dalda vermeyi planlarken kendi konseptinin dışına çıkmış, akademik bir çalışma sunmaktan çok söyleşi kayıtları gibi yani araştırmacı birinden sohbet tadında dinliyormuş gibi olmak mümkün. Kitaba karşı pozitif düşüncelerim olduğu gibi negatif, eleştirel düşüncelerim olduğunu söyleyebilirim. Bunları madde madde yazmak istemiyorum. Herkesin okumasını istiyorum herkes kendince bunları tespit etmesi daha makuldur. Ayrıca kitap okunma kaygısı taşındığı için ge ...more
Otis Chandler
I haven't read a ton of "history of the world" books, but this was fascinating. Highly recommended. I think the author is incredibly good at explaining and simplifying big concepts. He take on complex things like religion & capitalism and explains them in very simple terms that you likely hadn't thought about before.

The history of religion chapter was very interesting. I hadn't thought about the fact that many early religions were animists or polytheists, or dualists. Nor the fact that they
Sanırım bu kitabı okumamış olan son kişi bendim ve artık bende okudum. Kime sorsam okumuş. Türkiye'de bilimsel bir yayının bu kadar popular olması acıkcası cok sevindirici.

Bu kitap öncelikle bilimsel bir yayın olmaktan çok bir hiciv.
İnsanoğluna Hiciv.
Adını ilk duydugumda dünya tarihinden bahsedeceğini, ilk tek hücreli canlı, sudan çıkış, dinazorlar, memeliler, erectus, Neanderthal falan bunlardan bahsedecek zannettim.
Evet bunlardan da kısaca bahsediyor. Ancak kitabın büyük çoğunluğu 10bin yıl o
Simon Clark
Oct 25, 2016 Simon Clark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Fantastic. Absolutely sublime. I don't think I've ever read a book with such grand scope, or a book that promises to cover so much and actually delivers. Dealing with the biggest questions about our species - Why are we here? Why are we the way we are? What does our happiness mean? - Harari writes precisely and with shrewd use of metaphor, providing answers that seem intuitively right but leading us to think further than we have before. The links between giant forces that control our world such ...more
To be fair: 2.5 stars, solidly in the middle of a "stinking rotten book" and "exceptionally brilliant".

To do as Harari does, I speak only "generally" when I say this is a nice little synopsis of Anthropology One OH One, Physical and Cultural, with a lean towards the Cultural.

In Ancient Days, when I was in First Year Anthro, I had two brilliant tutors -- one in each of the sub-disciplines noted above, who led us in wondrous discussions on all the possibilities of humankind, past present and fut
Karen Witzler
Good synthesis of all that is currently known as well as likely future scenarios. I see this replacing Guns, Germs, and Steel as popular high school level overview for World History or Human Geography.
Clif Hostetler
Aug 11, 2015 Clif Hostetler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
The trajectory of our species according to this book can be traced as a succession of three revolutions: the cognitive revolution (when we got smart), the agricultural revolution (when we got nature to do what we wanted), and the scientific revolution (when we got dangerously powerful). The author Mr Harari predicts that humanity will see one more epochal event. We will vanish within a few centuries, either because we’ve gained such godlike powers as to become unrecognizable or because we’ve des ...more
Mar 24, 2017 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is as big a deal as everyone says it is. It's the kind of book you want to hand to all your family and friends - incredibly valuable information on history, biology, psychology, and technology written in the most accessible way possible. My mind was blown again and again, and the last chapter completely freaked me out. Read it, and then send a copy to your political representatives (you'll be doing them a favor).
Mar 10, 2017 Sujeet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is only once in a while that I come across a book that challenges the things that I have taken for granted for long and makes me rethink my beliefs. This outstanding book by Yuval Noah Harari is one of them. I can't help but admire the brilliance of the author with every page I read.

History, as we come across, is predominantly a chronicle of happenings and happenstances recorded and many a times manipulated by historians, and we the students of life try to make sense out of it by our analysis
Nelson Zagalo
Apr 04, 2017 Nelson Zagalo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: academic, non-fiction
“Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” conta a história da nossa espécie, focando-se sobre o modo como passámos de presas a predadores e nos tornámos na espécie dominante. Yuval Noah Harari parte da sua disciplina base, a História, à qual acopla as restantes ciências sociais — Comunicação, Sociologia, Psicologia, Economia e Geografia — tudo estruturado por uma lógica Evolucionista. O resultado é uma obra de divulgação de ciência dotada de enorme retórica e alcance conceptual, capaz de colocar H ...more
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Professor Harari was born in Haifa, Israel, to Lebanese parents in 1976. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Oxford in 2002, and is now a lecturer at the Department of History, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

He specialized in World History, medieval history and military history. His current research focuses on macro-historical questions: What is the relation between history and biolo
More about Yuval Noah Harari...

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“You could never convince a monkey to give you a banana by promising him limitless bananas after death in monkey heaven.” 244 likes
“How do you cause people to believe in an imagined order such as Christianity, democracy or capitalism? First, you never admit that the order is imagined.” 144 likes
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