A Brief History of Humankind Sapiens
Yuval Noah Harari
Contributed by Tereasa Jacob
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Review by Ahmad Abugosh

In this review, Abugosh indicates that at an individual level, he knew that there were many species, but he never took interest in that. However, as an individual who is interested in evolution he was able to learn more from the book.  According to Abugosh (n.p) fossil records indicate that species were many on earth and the main competitor to the human sapiens was Neanderthals, because of the larger brains and other biological advantages they possess.  This review is the same as that of Prof. Harari, in the sense that they both agree that there were other millions of species other than human beings. Harari, when giving the history of the origin of organisms indicated that when the molecules combined they formed numerous organisms, which human species were part of.  Another agreement from this review is that human beings became the most dominant species and that was due to their ability to think and turn the abstract ideas into concrete things. The review also, agrees that agricultural revolution in the short term was a bad thing in the sense that it distorted the way of doing things and also threatened hunting and gathering. But, in the long term it boosted agricultural production and people began to organize themselves purposefully to build mass-cooperation networks.

Review by Rubin Charlotte

The review by Charlotte is in agreement with the authorship of prof. Harari. The review notes that in nearly 100,000 BC, there were six human species but today there is only one. Harari in his book agrees that there has been extinction of some species including the human species. In agricultural revolution, Harari said that mankind did not domesticate wheat, and Charlotte also mentions the same point. Agricultural revolution was a turnaround in the lifestyle and the culture of sapiens, but plants like wheat encouraged man to multiply. The agricultural revolution, in the book and in this review was quite disruptive in the sense that it changed lifestyles. Humankind had to engage in farming and rearing of animals which gave them foods and improved their standard of living. Through agricultural revolution, hunting and gathering reduced and people then adopted sedentary lifestyle.

Review by Stephen Cognetta

According to Cognetta (n.p) the prosperity of Homo sapiens was due to the ability to share fictions. In my opinion, this is true because when mankind established imagined order or social class hierarchy and cultures, people had to share fictions, which then brought them together to work towards prosperity and their success. It was difficult for sapiens to succeed alone, but because of the belief that they shared fictions, they had to cooperate and it is the cooperation they built that allowed them to become successful. The shared fictions facilitated the creation of legal and worldview systems that brought order to the human societies. Another point that aligns to the book and my opinion is the impact of farming on the reproduction. During agricultural revolution, Harari writes in his book that farming rapidly grew and the dependence on hunting and gathering, reduced significantly. In effect, Harari argues that the reproduction rate increased, because there was enough food. In a personal opinion, increased farming must have required enough labor and there was also enough food to feed large families. Hence, it is justifiable that farming boosted and encouraged sapiens to bear more children and that explains the rapid population that Harari writes in his book.  

Bill Gates Review

In this review, Gates (n.p) states that humans for many years have believed that they are superior and they were naturally in charge of the earth. However, based on the book of Harari that is not the case because the history of mankind shows that there was nothing special about humans. Humankind were like any other organism they were wandering on earth, and had nothing special  that made them look better than other organisms. However, to some extent I tend to disagree to that thinking, because if human sapiens was not in charge of other organisms, then they could be at par with other organisms.  It is clear in book of Harari, that all the revolutions that happened were initiated by sapiens, but not other creatures. That is to imply that sapiens had a special position or was in charge of other living things, and that is why even today they are in control of wildlife or plants as well as animals.

Review by Lydia Macus

In the review of this article, the author has focused on technological development. In the history of mankind, Harari underscores the role technological development played in changing human societies. In scientific revolution, technology was developed to address human challenges. Harari stated that vehicles, and other machineries were developed, and this was an example of mankind transcending the boundaries established through natural selection. Quintessentially, the review is simply on technology and how it is likely to shape the future of mankind. Harari believes that technology has resulted in development, but again it is promoting capitalist creed.

Review by Lindebaum

The review agrees that the three revolutions, that is, scientific, agricultural and industrial are the most important aspects of Prof. Harari’s book. However, the review controversially indicates that this book is of less importance to emotion researchers, but for anthropologists, and evolutionary psychologists, this book is of great importance. Nonetheless, interestingly, the review puts praise on the scientific revolution analysis of this book. The author indicates that it was this part that caught the attention, because it was instructive and gave insight into biotechnological revolution, which was of interest to the reviewer (Lindebaum). Essentially, the review agrees with the opinion that scientific revolution is giving rise to biological engineering, which has enabled mankind to have a better understanding of organisms.

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