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Sapiens : A Brief History of Humankind

It is only once in a while that one comes across a book that challenges every things that one has taken for granted for long and makes them rethink their entire belief system. This outstanding book by Yuval Noah Harari is one of them.

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 and bias. But mostly, we confine ourselves to a particular event and try to understand that event in isolation. This is 'reductionist' approach.

Harari takes rather a 'holistic' approach instead and analyzes the history of humankind in its entirety and provides a very thought provoking synthesis.

Starting from the early cognitive and agricultural revolution to the latest achievement of mankind in genetic engineering, Harari focuses more on "why" we are the way we are now and "what" are the underlying themes and ideas that saw us through, than the trivialities of "who" and "when".

What made us the winning species in the natural selection? Was agricultural revolution a boon or a bane? Is history just or mere chronicle of the might? What unified humankind? What are the significances of money, empire and religion in forming human societies? Has science uplifted humanity or degraded it? What is worse - the success of capitalism or the failure of communism? Are we happier as we progress with time? - These are significant historical questions which Harari attempts to answer with his excellent deductive reasoning.

This book by Harari is a magnificent achievement in man's power to understand history as a whole.

Everyone should read this book.

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