Sapiens. The Book That Makes You Unstupid.
Hi, my name is Oana and I l-o-v-e to read books in the bathtub.
Do not ask me how many oh them I dropped in the water because the answer might surprise you — none. Do not ask me if I ever fell asleep while reading there because you might think I am ignorant — I was close to, but not quite there, a few times. And, finally, do not ask me how I can manage to keep drops of sweat dripping on my book because I don’t. Ew!
Alin, the bookworm that he is, is piling up books. His friends know and indulge this horrible habit. He got Sapiens. A Brief History of Humankind. by Yuval Noah Harari as a present.
I am not one for this kind of books. I like belletristic, the kind of stuff that makes you want to tear out your heart out and eat it, whatever that means. Reluctantly I picked up this book. I wanted to see what the fuss was about.
First of all let me say this: Everybody seems to be reading this book.
Facebook people do, real-life people do, next thing I know my grandma will give it a shot as well. I said to myself “you will finish it no matter what” because I was expecting some inner struggle to turn the pages.
Second of all: This is my opinion. Subjective, passionate, twisted mind of an engineer/copywriter, ok? No need for high horses.
There is a reason why everyone is reading this book. The language is very accessible, the subject very broad. And that is not to say it’s general or vague. Examples are plenty and the lessons learned are important.
Before dwelling on those, here is a short synopsis.
As the title says, the book is about us, Homo Sapiens, and our humble history. Humble because we only occupy 150.000 years in the existence of the human species, which goes back to 2.4 million years. To put it into perspective, Earth is around 4.5 billion years old. Harrari brushes up against history, anthropology, politics, languages, economics, you name it. At the end of the day, if you are a little green nerdy alien who wants to come to Earth for holidays and wants to learn about its inhabitants and their customs, this book is like a Lonely Planet guide.
Sure, there are some critics who accuse Harari of sensationalism and I can’t argue his approach is not a bit too flashy at times, but all in all, it’s a wonderful read.
Questions that this book answered
Why are we on this Earth? How was it in the beginning? What made us get out of the cave start cultivating things, speak, build communities? How come our evolution was so slow until the 19th century and why does it move at lightning speed in the 21st century? Why the hell does religion seem so phony or why does it seem like it’s deliberately avoiding answering some questions? How come we are so materialistic and what does capitalism have to do with it? What do religion and capitalism have in common? — If you have at least once considered those questions and felt like you were missing some pieces of the puzzle, search no more.
I enjoyed this book mostly because it managed to put everything into perspective. Am not saying it’s perfect, but it surely presents things in an unbiased enough way to help you get a larger picture of life, maybe look within and get your head out of your ass and understand you are here because you cheated evolution.
Everything we have, as people, it’s not really our right, it just is; a huge puzzle and we are a little less than an insignificant part of it. And that is not bad. Not bad at all. The way I see it, it’s some sort of a wild card. We can be whoever we want.
It might be a coincidence of age, but I find it truly beautiful how things started to come together. Had I read this book in my 20s, I would have probably turned away from it. It’s not zealous enough, but rather skeptical. It is, however, something incredibly soothing in this skepticism. The point that the world, with the bad and the good, is mine as much as I am hers. There is a beautiful elegance in the duality of good and evil, there is a chance at something. And I can decide what that is.
So go ahead, read the book! Think the thought! Challenge yourself!