Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Written by:
Yuval Noah Harari
Narrated by:
Derek Perkins

Unabridged Audiobook

Ratings
Book
1529
Narrator
150
Release Date
August 2017
Duration
15 hours 18 minutes
Summary
New York Times Bestseller

A Summer Reading Pick for President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg

From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.”

One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us?

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 that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. 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.

Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become?

Featuring 27 photographs, 6 maps, and 25 illustrations/diagrams, this provocative and insightful work is sure to spark debate and is essential reading for aficionados of Jared Diamond, James Gleick, Matt Ridley, Robert Wright, and Sharon Moalem.
Reviews
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Lynn S

Starts out as an impressive, factual read but as it progresses unto more modern times the author can't resist interjecting biased views.

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Todd

If an alien from another planet stopped by, studied earth and reported on what he found to his fellows he would likely produce something quite similar to this book. If you want an objective view of sapiens and the how and why of our rise to prominence this is the book for you. If you are easily offended, especially when your particular "ox" or belief system is gored then either brace yourself or avoid this book entirely. I found the subject material fascinating and although I disagreed with some of his points, enlightening. I highly recommend this book.

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Andrew T

Wonderful

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Agnes K

It added new points of views to my understanding about humankind.

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Anonymous

I enjoyed the factual parts of this book but was quite put off by the author’s personal opinions.

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Anonymous

I adore this book. This is the best what i have read ever !!! Thank you !!!

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David R.

Interesting book, I was more interested in the early history of humans vs the modern segments but overall I was intrigued with the majority of the book.

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Daniel V.

This book is so chock full of facts and insights that I have to listen to it again. It is brilliant and informative. Great read.

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Robert Scott

A great summary of human evolution and accomplishments.

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Benoît G.

Great summary and point of view

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Anonymous

I began this book with great interest but I was greatly disappointed by the number of unsubstantiated claims and broad statements which were woven throughout the book . As others have stated there appear to be personal prejudices which are revealed as one continues to listen . It is interesting to hear it through to the end but not what I would refer to as an unbiased and well documented dissertation .

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Anonymous

I enjoyed the scientific approach used in most of the text, however the author then ruins the it by cherry-picking data to make a case for his personal opinions. I would not recommend this book to anyone.

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Malvika Tolani

Brilliant, informative and thought provoking !!! Thoroughly enjoyed it

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Linda W.

well worth listening to.

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Gustav G.

It seems to me, the author is of the opinion, that if something cannot be boiled down to a meaningful, biological concept, it does not really exist. In this reductionist world view, there is only black and white, and all of philosophy, politics and human thought falls into the category of religion. It leads him to come up with some fun and through provoking perspectives in the earlier chapters, but the loopsidedness increases throughout the book, and it comes across as being intellectually immature and just plain "odd"". So much so that I could not bring myself to listen to the end.

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Leah M.

a wonderful and honest construction of our story.

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Rashid K.

We may not agree to everthing it says but the story is wonderfully carfted and the narrator is brilliant storey teller.

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Rebeca S.

Absolutely loved! Can’t wait to listen again!!

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Felix K.

It is a 15hr sermon on the delusions of religion and the meaninglessness of life. There are some interesting thoughts presented, but what it lacks the most is humility. It’s fascinating that after going over all of human history and discussing all its ignorant beliefs, the author misses the opportunity to see himself and our current understanding of the world, as part of the same ignorance. Instead it shows how the only thing matching humanities ignorance, is it’s arrogance!

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Andrew T.

I think it's fine book. Thought provoking, original, smart. I don't agree with all the conclusions that the author drew, especially when it comes to ontology.

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Walter H.

fabulous. one of the best books i have read.

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Purvi S.

Interesting book. Factual part and some of the analysis make sense.

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Herb B.

This was one of the more interesting books I've ever read - packed full of interesting information from start to end. As others have reviewed, the sections dealing with more modern times can get a bit preachy, but it doesn't really detract from the overall feel of a product that is very well researched, laid out, and narrated. As for narration, it was spectacular! Easy to listen to, humor and sadness reflected well, and very well paced with pauses and tempo increases where needed. Highly recommend!

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Roberto D.

This is and will continue to be, one of the most influential books ever written.

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Paula D.

Many interesting facts and information. Sometimes it felt like the author was pushing some idea of his own, which didn’t feel right to me. Otherwise a very educational book.

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Steven H.

Don't agree with the politics!^*

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Parasto P.

It was one of the best books that I have ever read/listened

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Büster

Broad general history but very Eurocentric.

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Francois S.

Fantastic book and great Narrator. I very much recommends his book for curious minds. Do yourself a favour.

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Mudassar B.

Sapiens- my first audiobook completed. Thoroughly enjoyed listening although have to disagree with many of the author’s arguments, particularly about Islam and human evolution. History has a new meaning to me now - we tend to be too shortsighted in our interpretation of history.

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Rashid Y.

the narrator is very monotonous and distanced, a bit like blinkist narrators. as for the book, i didn't learn much from it, its not bad, it has a logical flow and tries to challenge some things that were common understanding 10 years ago. but somehow the ideas have become so mainstream that there is nothing new left in the book. altogether, as a audiobook with this narrator, its a great sleeping aid (i mean it in a positive way)

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Ted E.

If you are looking for new insights on the development of our species and are not afraid to have your old perceptions challenged, then this is a brilliant tome. As a previous critic wrote, everyone's ox get gored here. Great details and good fun and fodder for the open mind!

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Joel S.

Excellent. - wonderful read

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Richard B.

This is a perfect read to follow up Jered Diamond's books. Homo Deus is sold separately but imo they are 2 halves of the same great book.

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Rodrigo S

I listened to the book very attentively until after I listened to the author's critique of the American Consitution. Mr. Harari stresses the importance of rationality as the benchmark for understanding the evolution of thinking. Mr. Harari chooses the American Constitution as a topic of discussion and alleges the lack of fairness in face of the institution of slavery when it was enacted; Mr. Harari treatment of the topic comes short of examining the Founding Fathers personal positions regarding the institution, therefore, it is dishonest and discredits his work. Mr. Harari chooses to inject the concept of fairness, which he rejected as not relevant to his work, on this particular instance of Human History, a very personal perspective on a very broad topic, to insidiously condemn the most influential political experiment in Human history. After reflecting on it for a few days I choose to stop listening to the book. How could I have trusted the author to have been honest afterward?

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Lelia C

As another reviewer stated, the book started out in what appeared to be a factual manner, but then devolved into rather sexist hypotheses about the “natural” order of men being in charge of human society. He couldn’t seem to fathom why, in the last century, the status quo between the sexes has shifted so dramatically, given the rest of human history. He never once mentioned female control over reproduction with the advent of reliable birth control and the massive impact that had in freeing women to time reproduction, or skip it entirely. Apparently, he only learned about half of human history. Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore and stopped listening.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
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