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Sapiens

A Brief History of Humankind
Written by: Yuval Harari
Narrated by: Derek Perkins
Length: 15 hrs and 18 mins
5 out of 5 stars (2,392 ratings)
Price: CDN$ 48.81
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Publisher's Summary

Destined to become a modern classic in the vein of Guns, Germs, and Steel, Sapiens is a lively, groundbreaking history of humankind told from a unique perspective.

One hundred thousand years ago, at least six species of human 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, timetables, and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come?

In Sapiens, Dr. Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical - and sometimes devastating - breakthroughs of the cognitive, agricultural, and scientific revolutions. Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, paleontology, and economics, he explores how the currents of history have shaped our human societies, the animals and plants around us, and even our personalities. Have we become happier as history has unfolded? Can we ever free our behavior from the heritage of our ancestors? And what, if anything, can we do to influence the course of the centuries to come?

Bold, wide-ranging and provocative, Sapiens challenges everything we thought we knew about being human: our thoughts, our actions, our power...and our future.

©2017 Yuval Noah Harari (P)2017 Penguin Random House Canada

What the critics say

"Here is a simple reason why Sapiens has risen explosively to the ranks of an international best seller. It tackles the biggest questions of history and of the modern world, and it is written in unforgettably vivid language. You will love it!" (Jared Diamond, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel, Collapse, and The World Until Yesterday)
" Sapiens is the sort of book that sweeps the cobwebs out of your brain. Its author, Yuval Noah Harari, is a young Israeli academic and an intellectual acrobat whose logical leaps have you gasping with admiration...Harari's writing radiates power and clarity." ( The Sunday Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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I'll definitely listen to this again.

Really interesting book and well narrated. Even if you're familiar with the current story of our biological evolution, that story is retold in a really digestible way. There's much more in here than biology though. Philosophy, psychology and explanations of our behaviour and relationship to out environment from the beginning to modern day. I couldn't even fit an index of it all in a short review. I'll definitely listen to this again.

20 of 20 people found this review helpful

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I've learned so much from this book!

I didn't use to like reading about history. As time has gone by, I've caught myself not only addicted to getting to know more about our history but also to audiobooks! Well, I liked the way of which this book was written especially for those like me not familiar with history. I've ended up wanting to read more and more! However, I'd like to make an observation that most parts of this book weren't narrated fully! I mean, many times the writing and its audio reproduction don't match! This doesn't compromise the understanding, but I believe this may be an issue for some people. Overall, getting to know a little more about our history was amazing!

24 of 25 people found this review helpful

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Not As Good As It Should Be

Sapiens spends a lot of words not really saying anything. The first 2/3 of the book is about the origin of our species and the cognitive and agricultural revolutions, the downfall of Neanderthal. This was the interesting section. The back third of the book is The author postulating on what the point of humanity might be, while aggressively not knowing the difference between sex and gender and constantly conflating the two.

I can’t tell if this book is nihilist or if it’s hopeful, or if the author even likes being a human. He seems to have a pretty poor view about our worth overall.

The philosophies of morality, ethics, and law basically are reduced to “imagination” by the author who doesn’t bother looking at the nuance of why those things separate us from the animals, and he kind of treats these things with disdain. He’s the bro in the entry level philosophy class who has nothing to contribute but “everything is a social construct, so I’m not subject to laws durr” like some Libertarian backwash.

#Audible1

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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loved it

I very much enjoyed listening to Sapiens, an interesting perspective on us humans through out history and at the same time asking very relevent questions on our behavior.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great (but some arguments were hollow)

Great book. Some of his arguments were slightly hollow and were left under examined as to not shine light on the fact that they were overly simplistic.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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An individual's interpretation of history ...

History is an engaging topic, the segments where the author delivers on what the title promises are thus engaging and interesting. When actual history is shared I enjoyed the book. However, much of the book is nothing more than the author's subjective opinionated and biased interpretation of history. All major religions are attacked save the author's own faith and nation. I am disappointed that a "scientist" can be this jaded and closed minded.

19 of 30 people found this review helpful

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Generational Book

This book is something else. I've never read a book with so much depth and insight. The captivating words paired with a great speaker made this a book for generations to come.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Need to read this a few times

An overall great “question book” that asks the big macro questions of humans, society, religion, science, engineering...
My first read (I audio’d along with the actual book...helps me retain info better when I visually see the words and audibly hear them) I have realized is not enough. I need to read this one a few more times to really digest all of it.
This is a fantastic read. Highly recommend it.

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Thoroughly enjoyed it

I really enjoyed this book. It's not a light listen by any means but it's both interesting and informative. The author basically takes you from the big bang to the end of humanity, cruising through biology, history, zoology, sociology, economics, and politics in a way that doesn't get boring or dull. His language is engaging and makes everything interesting and the narrator did a very good job of telling the stories, taking it slow when he needs to and pausing for effect when appropriate.

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great book.

learnt so much about my own history and human behavior. I highly recommend this book.

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  • Ken Muir
  • 2019-03-15

Sapien - a great work!

I really enjoyed the whole experience of both listening to the narrator and the material itself. it filled in. a lot of gaps in things I've pondered for many years.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-02-08

Well done.

wonderfully crafted piece of literature. I kind of wished there was another five chapters. I will probably have to listen to it again ... maybe annually.

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  • Phillip Layton
  • 2019-01-29

highly recommend!

One of the top two most influential book I have ever read. the other one is Richard Dawkins The selfish Gene 1976.

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  • Deep Think
  • 2018-12-26

History, science and philosophy all packaged up

A real tour de force of integrating what we know from physics, chemistry, biology, philosophy and history and what it means. Fascinating from the outset and interesting through to the end.

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  • Nhat
  • 2018-11-05

INSIGHTFUL book on a typically boring subject

I wish Yuval was my history teacher. I have gained a new appreciation to History in general. I look to purchase more books from this author, as well as in the domain of History in general.

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  • Ross Smillie
  • 2018-10-22

awesome survey of human history

a tour de force exploring the history of the human race from the emergence of modern humans with the cognitive revolution to the way in which robotics and genetic engineering may well produce new species with god-like powers far surpassing our own. A fascinating,, stimulating, informative and troubling read!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-10-15

The tree of knowledge

Enlightening, scary, fascinating and humbling. I could go on but there is no point. This book covers so much and yet given the time it covers... Is a precise of humanity. Very well read this should be a text book and required reading for all.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2018-09-26

brilliant

this is one of the best books i have heard. the perspective was refreshing. wonderful

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  • benvan
  • 2018-09-24

Better if Yuval read it (or read the book yourself

Really great details and insights, if a bit on the dark side. The reader I felt put a spin on the words sometimes that seemed to inject too much of his own opinion. I've heard Yuval speak on these topics before, even the darker comments are supposed to have an earnest energy to go with them, which imparts alarm but also hope. This narration I found instead almost sounded sardonic at times, like coldly flaunting horror over the masses.

Overall still worth a read, but read it yourself I'd suggest.

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  • Andrew Kovacevic
  • 2018-08-06

Very Informative

My wife and I listened to this on a recent road trip and really enjoyed it. It was really informative and covered a lot of interesting material.