Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

This interesting book is a history of humanity. It is speculative in places, but it is never dull. It takes the reader on a controversial trip from the distant past to the present. It even includes a disturbing foray to the future, with a glance at the ethical implications of genetic programming.

Dr Harari has worked with other people to produce a great translation. His thoughts are conveyed in a clear and simple style. This enables the reader to get to grips with arguments that challenge religions, ideologies and myths. One of the strengths of the text is its stress on the importance of admitting ignorance.

However, some of the grand narrative is a little misleading. It does not allow the complexity of reality to be hinted at. For example, the following assertion is more of a debating point than a fact:

“Yet, in fact, religion has been the third great unifier of humankind, alongside money and empires.” 

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