The progress made by humans from being mere hunter-gatherer to space explorers always intrigued me and ‘Sapiens’ has a perfectly scientific, well-researched answer to this. Written by Yuval Noah Harari, an Israeli historian, and researcher, the book delves into the complete process of evolution even before the existence of the history. The book is divided into four parts, each narrating the three important revolutions of humankind, namely, cognitive, agricultural, and scientific, and the unification of the humans. Yuval’s style of writing is simple and you need not have a very distinguished scientific knowledge to understand the most important processes and build-ups that have led us here today.
It blew my mind away on discovering the fact how the Sapiens – the wise, ousted other human species before the time in history including the Neanderthals, Homo Erectus, Homo Rudolfensis, and many more some 50,000 years ago. Our siblings no longer exist on this planet and what caused them to disappear? The question is beautifully responded to in every line of the first chapter. The second chapter reflects upon the fact what led Sapiens to give up the life of the hunter-gatherers, cultivate wheat and settle down. Certainly, this shall leave you with many thoughts one being – did we tame wheat or did wheat tame us? Gradually, the book picks a pace and while developing a smooth tempo with the readers, it talks about the unification of humankind by the means of birth of religion and God and our ability to create stories. However, the era in which we live, the Scientific Revolution that has occurred just 500 years ago, is the one in which we have achieved several breakthroughs along with several irreversible damages as the by-products which creates another significant question in the minds of the readers – are Sapiens here to survive, grow and succeed till eternity, or shall this species of Humans too will be overthrown by some other species called the Super-humans? The book is well-illustrated with pictures and timelines for a better understanding of the readers.
How did we suddenly arrive at the top of the food chain, develop languages, kingdoms, money, economics, the idea of capitalism, consumerism, cloning and the future of the Sapiens is all left in the book for the curious minds to find out.
Review by: Nazneen Kachwala