Week 5 – Yuval Noah Harari

Yuval Noah Harari (Hebrew: יובל נח הררי‎; born 24 February 1976) is an Israeli historian, the author of the international bestsellers Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (2014), Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (2016), and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century (2018) and our person of interest this week here on SiP goes 53.

An author we mentioned before, and one who made a profound impact on me when I first read his book Sapiens in 2017. I devoured it in one go and have since been promoting it in any conversation I had. So when we all jotted down names of persons for the #SiPgoes53 challenge, he was amongst my number ones.

A fellow Sapiens who wrote a thought-provoking book that made me pause and reflect on our history and our future. Sapiens gives indeed a “brief” overview of our species since the Stone Age. If you have not read it, I can warmly recommend it. For me, this one should be part of our educational system and mandatory reading for teenagers in high school as it gives a different insight in the minds of Cleopatra, Darwin and Tolkien alike. 

Homo Deus

I just recently finished his second book Homo Deus. A different beast altogether, and it took me more than 6 months to wrestle myself through the middle of the book. (I read a few others in the meantime, but out of respect for the first one I knew I had to finish it.)

The end is thought-provoking and puts the question forward if Homo Sapiens will evolve in a Homo Deus or altogether become extinct in a larger Dataism driven galaxy of algorithms, and argues there may be no difference after all between an organic aged and slowly maturing algorithm like ourselves versus a fast-moving synthetic one we are creating today in the midst of Google, Facebook and the Big Data Companies alike.

Aren’t we all feeding Dataism.

Yuval does not take a position (although he does not avoid confrontational quotes and forces you to engage). He merely explores and shows the different possibilities and gives the larger context.
The history surrounding it.
And makes you pause and think.

“Taxi drivers are highly likely to go the way of horses …” – Homo Deus

Reflect on the meaning of life and the number forty-two after all.
Not in fiction, but in historical contexts.

Forty-two divided by two

And then there is his third book. A deep dive on twenty-one (half of 42) questions for this century. I just downloaded it on my Kindle and read the introduction and I am sure this one will be again a different read all together. One I may complete again in one go. Time will tell, and I will let you know.

To read or not to read.

If you have read any of his books you will know that you can go anywhere with them. They cover all of humanity and beyond.

If you haven’t, I really recommend you to get a copy of Sapiens (his first) and read it in 2019. Or listen to it. It has been translated in over 30 languages and is available in paper copy in any major airport bookstores, digital on Kindle and my family members at home listened to it (as the plus 400 pages may scare some away). Read that one first. The rest can come later.

SiP goes 53

So where does this leave you with SiP goes 53?
Well, we did not say it was going to be easy. 
Cleopatra gave us ancient Egypt and Tolkien Elves.
Harari gives us ourselves. 

I am curious to see what you make out of this one. If you read his book(s) I am even more curious to hear below in the discussion what you thought of his works so far.
Are you equally intrigued or is it just another one on the list?

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5 years ago

Well well well… This time, it’s going to be really tough.

before I get the Goes53 list, I never heard of Harari, or did not pay attention. Boris, you gave me the need to read his books.

5 years ago

Arg I still haven’t read or listened to the book… I guess it won’t happen this week.

And so far I don’t have any picture (and not much idea) so this could be the first week I’ll miss of #SiPgoes53 :/

Tomasz Lasek
5 years ago
Reply to  Maëlick

I don’t know if this isn’t cheating or if You want it at all, but I can give some hints. J. N. Harari’s literature seems to fit my own views on humanity, so I maybe I can help :)

5 years ago
Reply to  Tomasz Lasek

So far my main problem is the lack of time, and potentially the lack of cooperation from the weather too :D

Tomasz Lasek
5 years ago
Reply to  Maëlick

Weather… I know this problem!

Tomasz Lasek
5 years ago

I didn’t read his books. YET. I heard a buzz about Homo Deus [I live this title!] but didn’t have an opportunity to catch this one. Now I definitely will. When I read some of descriptions of his books and some quotes to catch the spirit of his writing and to find an inspiration, there were so much similarities to my own reflections, especially about future of humanity, post and transhumanity. There are so much threads that I felt dizzy! It was quite tough to find a proper way to illustrate my ideas with Lego, some ways were even impossible,… Read more »

5 years ago

Not an easy week in SiPgoes53 challenge! But I guess challenges are not made to be easy!
I didn’t know this writer till his name was put on the list and, as the others, now I’ve added one more book to read on my pile :D
As I read some quote from his books, I’m starting to have an idea for this week picture.

5 years ago

I think that an idea came to my mind, but it’s uncertain I’ll be on time for Sunday’s deadline.

Boris, you’re a bad bad guy, having put this name in the list!   

5 years ago

And I thank you once again for the discovery. It’s always a pleasure to find new books.

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