Reissued as part of Vintage's Patterns of the Planet series.
100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms?
How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come? In Sapiens, Dr Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical – and sometimes devastating – breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural and Scientific Revolutions. Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, palaeontology and economics, he explores how the currents of history have shaped our human societies, the animals and plants around us, and even our personalities. Have we become happier as history has unfolded? Can we ever free our behaviour from the heritage of our ancestors? And what, if anything, can we do to influence the course of the centuries to come?
Bold, wide-ranging and provocative, Sapiens challenges everything we thought we knew about being human: our thoughts, our actions, our power ...and our future.
For UK customers, watch an interview with the author on the BBC News website.
Dr Yuval Noah Harari has a PhD in History from the University of Oxford and now lectures at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, specialising in World History. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind has become an international phenomenon attracting a legion of fans from Bill Gates and Barack Obama to Chris Evans and Jarvis Cocker, and is published in nearly 40 languages worldwide. It was a Sunday Times Number One bestseller and was in the Top Ten for over six months in paperback. His follow-up to Sapiens, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow was also a Top Ten Bestseller and was described by the Guardian as 'even more readable, even more important, than his excellent Sapiens'.
"Sapiens is the sort of book that sweeps the cobwebs out of your brain. Its author, Yuval Noah Harari, is a young Israeli academic and an intellectual acrobat whose logical leaps have you gasping with admiration [...] Harari's writing radiates power and clarity, making the world strange and new"
– John Carey, The Sunday Times
"Here is a simple reason why Sapiens has risen explosively to the ranks of an international best-seller. It tackles the biggest questions of history and of the modern world, and it is written in unforgettably vivid language. You will love it!"
– Jared Diamond
"Sapiens is packed with heretical thinking and surprising facts. This riveting, myth-busting book cannot be summarised in any detail; you will simply have to read it"
– John Gray, Financial Times
"This lucid, illuminating and brilliantly written single-volume history of our species examines how we succeeded in the battle for dominance, thanks to such crucial factors as Fire, Gossip, Agriculture, Mythology, Money, Contradictions and Science (which made us deadly). Harari explains how we came to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables and consumerism. Having read it, I feel as if I've had a whole new education."
– The Bookseller
"A rare book [...] thrilling and breathtaking"
– The Observer
"Sapiens is a starburst of a book, as enjoyable as it is stimulating"
– Sunday Express
"Full of shocking and wondrous stories"
– Sunday Times
"Harari delivers a boldly synthesized account of Homo sapiens' rise through the hominin ranks [...] A view of our ascent as nasty, brutish, long – and endlessly fascinating"
"Harari can write. Not in the sense that most authors can [...] But really, really write, with wit, clarity, elegance and a wonderful eye for metaphor"
– The Times
"A vaultingly ambitious history of humankind [...] vivid, provocative and enlightening"
– Lunch with the FT
"Sapiens is a fast-paced, witty and challenging romp through 70 000 years of human history [...] I did love it, and if you are interested in the whole story of humankind, I'm confident that you will love it too"
– Literary Review
"This is mega-history of the best sort: sweeping but not simplistic, contemporary but not gimmicky, provocative but not contrarian. Almost everyone will want to argue with one part of this book or another, but working out which part and why will do us all good."
– Dr Steven Gunn
"We usually think that we are an outcome of our personal history, where we grew up, the way our parents educated us, etc. In Sapiens, Harari delves deep into our history as a species to help us understand who we are and what made us this way. An engrossing read."
– Dan Ariely, New York Times Bestselling author of Predictably Irrational
"Provocative, thrillingly erudite"
– Washington Post
"For its sheer originality and intellectual stimulation, I was captivated by Yuval Noah Harari's Sapiens"
– Matthew d'Ancona, Evening Standard – Books of the Year
"Probably the most ambitious history book of the year. Certainly the most thought-provoking"
– Dan Jones, Evening Standard – Books of the Year
"A highly accessible book, but also one that has well-supported academic rigor"
– Good Book Guide
"Reading it is like having a mental massage, cold shower and brisk workout, and all in the comfort of your own home"
– Esther Rantzen, Mail on Sunday
– James Mcconnachie, Sunday Times
"A fascinating insight into our species"
– Bill Bailey, Week
"Ambitious and invigorating"
– Charlotte Heathcote, Sunday Express
"This is a thrilling, challenging, often moving book, eminently readable and packed with powerful ideas and entertaining sidelights on Homo sapiens past, present and future"
– Teresa Morgan, Tablet