martes, 13 de noviembre de 2018

"Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind" - Yuval Noah Harari

Sapiens: A Brief History of HumankindSapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have also fallen to read "Sapiens", one of those books that everybody has read or plan to read, one of those books that plays the role of the perfect gift for your brother or sister, one of those books that pops up time and again in family dinners. It´s not a perfect book, sometimes it is quite superficial and orther extremely presumptuous. However it is written in a highly readable style and it is a light manner to extend your knowledge on the human race.

For some people, the book will be expendable, but I have the feeling that for many more it should be a must read. Otherwise, the later would not have a panoramic landscape of what has made the humankind the master and commander of the earth. That is the great value of the book. For the majority of its readers it is their first (and probably last) meeting with how an once weak and vulnerable animal has been capable to overcome its limitations once and again through multiple revolutions of its lifestyle.

Five hundred pages (footnotes and references included) is a short space to tell a story that spans across several hundred thousands of years, but in a well structured narrative in four stages, the author achieves his objective. By the end of the book, the reader have a basic knowledge (from the author perspective) of our first steps on earth as one of the many human species, the evolution from nomadism to sedentarism through the discovery of agriculture, how the humankind get connected thanks to imperialism and, finally, the unfinished era of an unended stream of scientific discoveries that may lead in the medium term to the definitive step of a self-designed race.

Of course the narrative has many gaps, from my point of view the most important is not paying enough attention to the Greco-Roman culture and the supposedly dark period of the Medium Age in Europe, and sometimes the author gives conclusions not based enough on evidences but on his own personal ideas. Nevertheless, that are the usual limits and downs of this kind of books that you should know before you invest in the effort of reading them.

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