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Resensie – Sapiens: a brief history of humankind

Sapiens: a brief history of humankind

Outeur: Yuval Noah Harari
Uitgewer: Penguin Random House
ISBN: 978-0-7710-3850-1

A book by Yuval Noah Harari first published in Hebrew in Israel in 2011, and in English in 2014. The book surveys the history of humankind from the evolution of archaic human species in the Stone Age up to the twenty-first century, focusing on Homo sapiens. The account is situated within a framework provided by the natural sciences, particularly evolutionary biology.

Homo sapiens rules the world because it is the only animal that can believe in things that exist purely in its own imagination, such as gods, states, money and human rights.

Starting from this provocative idea, Sapiens goes on to retell the history of our species from a completely fresh perspective. It explains that money is the most pluralistic system of mutual trust ever devised; that capitalism is the most successful religion ever invented; that the treatment of animals in modern agriculture is probably the worst crime in history; and that even though we are far more powerful than our ancient ancestors, we aren't much happier.

By combining profound insights with a remarkably vivid language, Sapiens acquired cult status among diverse audiences, captivating teenagers as well as university professors, animal rights activists alongside government ministers.

By 2018, over 10 million copies have been sold, and the book has been translated into nearly 50 languages.

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