Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Category: World
Author: Yuval Noah Harari
All Hacker News 6
This Year Reddit 41
This Month Reddit 3


by sdf_cardinal   2018-11-10

The book from last episode? Sapiens. I’m coincidentally reading it and it is great.

by parishilton1212   2018-11-10

For starters, I can really recommend Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. Great book.

by jascination   2018-11-10

None of the things I've read from actual "business" books have ever been groundbreaking. They're just not that useful IMO.

What I do read are books that inspire me, or get me in an entrepreneurial mindset. I find the Four Hour Work Week really good for this - the lessons in it aren't particularly relevant 10 years later, but the stories, the vision, the core concepts like:

  • Find holes in systems and exploit them for cash
  • Live in exotic places while working minimally
  • Focus on lifestyle design; don't wait until retirement to lead an exciting and rich life

All of these are really inspirational for me, and I'm lucky enough to have achieved all of these things over the past few years.

I still listen to the audiobook at least once a year, especially when I'm in a mental rut and need to refocus on what I really care about.

People in the startup world (especially Tim Ferriss, who wrote the 4 hour work week) also seem to bang on about:

None of them are about business, but more about understanding the human spirit.

I don't think it's possible to be a successful entrepreneur without being interested in empathy, what it means to have a truly "good" life, and what it means to be human.

You can certainly read The Lean Startup or similar, but those kinds of "famous entrepreneur books" have been cliff-noted to death online and don't really say all that much that you haven't heard a million times before.

I'll also add Hey Whipple, Squeeze This! cos most of the (very many) people I've met in the startup scene absolutely suck at copywriting, design and branding. Plus it's just a really entertaining book.

by Soperman223   2018-11-10

So I recently read Sapiens , which is a book that attempts to explain human history from a bit more of a cultural perspective.

I found it absolutely fascinating (and started reading guns, germs, and steel afterwards because I wanted more), and I was wondering if you’ve read it and what you thought about it.

Also, in terms of relating to the podcast, I kind of agree with Grey on just disconnecting (from social media at least). I don’t think it’s psychologically healthy to be exposed to that as often as we are

by Folkariffic   2018-11-10

Hey! This is my kind of contest. Here's my list:

  1. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Horari - From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.” One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us? (copied from the Amazon page)

  2. Name of the Wind - Kingkiller Chronicles by Pat Rothfuss - My name is Kvothe. I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep. You may have heard of me. (copied)

  3. The Golem Cypher: T.R.I.X. by B.V. Bayly - Once one of the best assassins in the galaxy, Cadell is now the hunted. The Ascendency, the ruling galactic empire and Cadell’s ex-employer, has stripped him of everything and placed a significant bounty on his head. Forced to live with the shadows of his past, Cadell hides on the backwater planets of the outer rim. Away from anyone who would recognize him. When his old friend and mentor, Salis, dangles a job in front of him that will get him an Ascendency pardon and let him clear his name, Cadell is ready to take it on. Armed with his constant companion, a strange alien symbiote named T.R.I.X. and his skills as an assassin, Cadell sets off to complete the strange job. ( A nifty book but a relatively new author, worth the read!)

  4. I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid - All I'll say about this is that it's quite volatile when it comes to the reviews it's received. I enjoyed it, but many other didn't... It's quite a ride if you end up enjoying it.

  5. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer - In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter. How McCandless came to die is the unforgettable story of Into the Wild. (One of my favorite books/stories of all time. I also hold the movie close to my heart.)

This took me a good few minutes, I hope you find something you like through this contest :)

by Mikho   2018-11-10
"Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind" by Yuval Noah Harari
by attofreak   2018-03-19

Wow, I didn't know he wrote a book dedicated specifically to "the Grandest Society of Merchants in the Universe". East India Company has been a subject of intrigue for me since the first time I got to know of its exploits during school. This company had an army (not mere mercenaries) to fight kingdoms! Imagine that in today's time. In Sapiens , Harari briefly mentions them, and the trinity of Imperialism-Capitalism-Scientific Revolution that swept the entire globe from Europe. Reading John Keay's unbiased narrative and propensity to be poetical in A History, The Honourable Company looks like an amazing read. And something that I naturally want to know more of, once getting at least some idea of the grand history of this country. Thank you!

by Fywq   2018-02-16

Yeah a pig is a lot worse for instance. I may also be influenced a bit by having recently read a book that goes a great way to question how we humans inflict pain on other sentient beings without thinking twice as long it is for food production. You get fined for kicking a dog, but we subject farm animals to all sorts of treatments that would qualify as torture if used on humans. Why is it not ok to have human slaves, but fine to enslave animals? In a monotheistic worldview god allows both. In a scientific world view we should have neither.

For those interested this is the book:

I can strongly recommend it though it may challenge your beliefs about who we humans are in the grand scheme of things.

Sorry that was a bit offtopic. And yes I still eat meat and consume dairy products.

by mesosorry   2018-02-16

Read this book . It'll blow your mind :)

by cwal37   2017-08-20
The book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind[1] is relevant here (which I've been reading and thoroughly enjoying recently) if anyone wanted to seek out some longer-form information on this and the topics around human evolution and development. The semantics here are really interesting to me because the book immediately points out that not too long ago there were at least 6 species of human on earth at the same time (going by homo=humans, sapiens is what distinguishes us). That concept had never been so explicitly stated to me before, and I find it really fascinating to unpeel.


by usnoozer   2017-08-19

Reddit is no good for this - especially this sub which is informed by the right-wing press, which in turn is owned by right-wing billionaires - the press basically sells audiences to advertisers, its no good as a news source - especially the Telegraph, Mail and Sun. Read as much as you can from everywhere - and never forget to check who owns what you are reading and what they want you to think and why. is worth a go as background.

by rukus23   2017-08-19

A great book. Awesome big picture perspective and helps put so many different ideas in place. Almost done reading it.

by cdbattags   2017-08-19
As an avid reader, I've been jumping back in to the world of literature after quite a long sabbatical. I purchased a Kindle back in December of 2015 and it's been a great investment thus far.

Basically, I read tons of non fiction and follow breaking tech news on sites like these so I get a little burnt out when I go to read books like:

- Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions (

- Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (

I recently read:

- Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel (

last fall and loved it; diving back into the world of fiction and fantasy. Do y'all have any other suggestions?