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21 Lessons For The 21st Century [Hardcover], Headspace Guide To Meditation And Mindfulness, Meditation For Fidgety Skeptics, 10% Happier 4 Books Collection Set. Description:- 21 Lessons for the 21st Century Yuval Noah Harari takes us on a thrilling journey through today’s most urgent issues. The golden thread running through his exhilarating new book is the challenge of ma 21 Lessons For The 21st Century [Hardcover], Headspace Guide To Meditation And Mindfulness, Meditation For Fidgety Skeptics, 10% Happier 4 Books Collection Set. Description:- 21 Lessons for the 21st Century Yuval Noah Harari takes us on a thrilling journey through today’s most urgent issues. The golden thread running through his exhilarating new book is the challenge of maintaining our collective and individual focus in the face of constant and disorienting change. Are we still capable of understanding the world we have created? The Headspace Guide to Mindfulness & Meditation: 10 minutes can make the difference Demystifying meditation for the modern world: an accessible and practical route to improved health, happiness and well being, in as little as 10 minutes.Andy Puddicombe, founder of the celebrated Headspace, is on a mission: to get people to take 10 minutes out of their day to sit in the now. Here he shares his simple to learn, but highly effective techniques of meditation. Meditation For Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-To Book ABC News anchor Dan Harris used to think that meditation was for people who collect crystals, play the pan pipes, and use the word namaste without irony. After he had a panic attack on live television, he went on a strange journey that ultimately led him to become one of meditation's most vocal public proponents. 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works After having a nationally televised panic attack, Harris knew he had to make some changes. A lifelong non-believer, he found himself on a bizarre adventure and realised that the sources of his problems was the very thing he always thought was his greatest asset.


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21 Lessons For The 21st Century [Hardcover], Headspace Guide To Meditation And Mindfulness, Meditation For Fidgety Skeptics, 10% Happier 4 Books Collection Set. Description:- 21 Lessons for the 21st Century Yuval Noah Harari takes us on a thrilling journey through today’s most urgent issues. The golden thread running through his exhilarating new book is the challenge of ma 21 Lessons For The 21st Century [Hardcover], Headspace Guide To Meditation And Mindfulness, Meditation For Fidgety Skeptics, 10% Happier 4 Books Collection Set. Description:- 21 Lessons for the 21st Century Yuval Noah Harari takes us on a thrilling journey through today’s most urgent issues. The golden thread running through his exhilarating new book is the challenge of maintaining our collective and individual focus in the face of constant and disorienting change. Are we still capable of understanding the world we have created? The Headspace Guide to Mindfulness & Meditation: 10 minutes can make the difference Demystifying meditation for the modern world: an accessible and practical route to improved health, happiness and well being, in as little as 10 minutes.Andy Puddicombe, founder of the celebrated Headspace, is on a mission: to get people to take 10 minutes out of their day to sit in the now. Here he shares his simple to learn, but highly effective techniques of meditation. Meditation For Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-To Book ABC News anchor Dan Harris used to think that meditation was for people who collect crystals, play the pan pipes, and use the word namaste without irony. After he had a panic attack on live television, he went on a strange journey that ultimately led him to become one of meditation's most vocal public proponents. 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works After having a nationally televised panic attack, Harris knew he had to make some changes. A lifelong non-believer, he found himself on a bizarre adventure and realised that the sources of his problems was the very thing he always thought was his greatest asset.

30 review for 21 Lessons For The 21st Century [Hardcover], Headspace Guide To Meditation And Mindfulness, Meditation For Fidgety Skeptics, 10% Happier 4 Books Collection Set

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bill Gates

    The human mind wants to worry. This is not necessarily a bad thing—after all, if a bear is stalking you, worrying about it may well save your life. Although most of us don’t need to lose too much sleep over bears these days, modern life does present plenty of other reasons for concern: terrorism, climate change, the rise of A.I., encroachments on our privacy, even the apparent decline of international cooperation. In his fascinating new book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, the historian Yuval No The human mind wants to worry. This is not necessarily a bad thing—after all, if a bear is stalking you, worrying about it may well save your life. Although most of us don’t need to lose too much sleep over bears these days, modern life does present plenty of other reasons for concern: terrorism, climate change, the rise of A.I., encroachments on our privacy, even the apparent decline of international cooperation. In his fascinating new book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, the historian Yuval Noah Harari creates a useful framework for confronting these fears. While his previous best sellers, Sapiens and Homo Deus, covered the past and future respectively, his new book is all about the present. The trick for putting an end to our anxieties, he suggests, is not to stop worrying. It’s to know which things to worry about, and how much to worry about them. As he writes in his introduction: “What are today’s greatest challenges and most important changes? What should we pay attention to? What should we teach our kids?” These are admittedly big questions, and this is a sweeping book. There are chapters on work, war, nationalism, religion, immigration, education, and 15 other weighty matters. But its title is a misnomer. Although you will find a few concrete lessons scattered throughout, Harari mostly resists handy prescriptions. He’s more interested in defining the terms of the discussion and giving you historical and philosophical perspective. He deploys, for example, a clever thought experiment to underscore how far humans have come in creating a global civilization. Imagine, he says, trying to organize an Olympic Games in 1016. It’s clearly impossible. Asians, Africans and Europeans don’t know that the Americas exist. The Chinese Song Empire doesn’t think any other political entity in the world is even close to being its equal. No one even has a flag to fly or anthem to play at the awards ceremony. The point is that today’s competition among nations—whether on an athletic field or the trading floor—“actually represents an astonishing global agreement.” And that global agreement makes it easier to cooperate as well as compete. Keep this in mind the next time you start to doubt whether we can solve a global problem like climate change. Our global cooperation may have taken a couple of steps back in the past two years, but before that we took a thousand steps forward. So why does it seem as if the world is in decline? Largely because we are much less willing to tolerate misfortune and misery. Even though the amount of violence in the world has greatly decreased, we focus on the number of people who die each year in wars because our outrage at injustice has grown. As it should. Here’s another worry that Harari deals with: In an increasingly complex world, how can any of us have enough information to make educated decisions? It’s tempting to turn to experts, but how do you know they’re not just following the herd? “The problem of groupthink and individual ignorance besets not just ordinary voters and customers,” he writes, “but also presidents and CEOs.” That rang true to me from my experience at both Microsoft and the Gates Foundation. I have to be careful not to fool myself into thinking things are better—or worse—than they actually are. What does Harari think we should do about all this? He offers some practical advice, including a three-prong strategy for fighting terrorism and a few tips for dealing with fake news. But his big idea boils down to this: Meditate. Of course he isn’t suggesting that the world’s problems will vanish if enough of us start sitting in the lotus position and chanting om. But he does insist that life in the 21st century demands mindfulness—getting to know ourselves better and seeing how we contribute to suffering in our own lives. This is easy to mock, but as someone who’s taking a course on mindfulness and meditation, I found it compelling. As much as I admire Harari and enjoyed 21 Lessons, I didn’t agree with everything in the book. I was glad to see the chapter on inequality, but I’m skeptical about his prediction that in the 21st century “data will eclipse both land and machinery as the most important asset” separating rich people from everyone else. Land will always be hugely important, especially as the global population nears 10 billion. Meanwhile, data on key human endeavors—how to grow food or produce energy, for example—will become even more widely available. Simply having information won’t offer a competitive edge; knowing what to do with it will. Similarly, I wanted to see more nuance in Harari’s discussion of data and privacy. He rightly notes that more information is being gathered on individuals than ever before. But he doesn’t distinguish among the types of data being collected—the kind of shoes you like to buy versus which diseases you’re genetically predisposed to—or who is gathering it, or how they’re using it. Your shopping history and your medical history aren’t collected by the same people, protected by the same safeguards, or used for the same purposes. Recognizing this distinction would have made his discussion more enlightening. I was also dissatisfied with the chapter on community. Harari argues that social media including Facebook have contributed to political polarization by allowing users to cocoon themselves, interacting only with those who share their views. It’s a fair point, but he undersells the benefits of connecting family and friends around the world. He also creates a straw man by asking whether Facebook alone can solve the problem of polarization. On its own, of course it can’t—but that’s not surprising, considering how deep the problem cuts. Governments, civil society, and the private sector all have a role to play, and I wish Harari had said more about them. But Harari is such a stimulating writer that even when I disagreed, I wanted to keep reading and thinking. All three of his books wrestle with some version of the same question: What will give our lives meaning in the decades and centuries ahead? So far, human history has been driven by a desire to live longer, healthier, happier lives. If science is eventually able to give that dream to most people, and large numbers of people no longer need to work in order to feed and clothe everyone, what reason will we have to get up in the morning? It’s no criticism to say that Harari hasn’t produced a satisfying answer yet. Neither has anyone else. So I hope he turns more fully to this question in the future. In the meantime, he has teed up a crucial global conversation about how to take on the problems of the 21st century. This originally appeared in the New York Times Book Review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Emily May

    I really like Harari. I like his books a lot, but I think that is at least in part due to how much I like him. He seems like an intelligent, intuitive and empathetic person, and so his books become all those things. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is really a book about where we are and how we can move forward. It bridges the gap between Sapiens, which was about our past, and Homo Deus, which is about our future. Here, Harari looks at where we stand technologically and politically, debunking m I really like Harari. I like his books a lot, but I think that is at least in part due to how much I like him. He seems like an intelligent, intuitive and empathetic person, and so his books become all those things. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is really a book about where we are and how we can move forward. It bridges the gap between Sapiens, which was about our past, and Homo Deus, which is about our future. Here, Harari looks at where we stand technologically and politically, debunking myths and suggesting ways we can combat "post-truth". I especially like how he reminds us that fake news is just a rebranding of age-old lying, and that terrorism is only as powerful as we let it be. Terrorists are fundamentally weak but use scare tactics to raise havoc. If we refuse to be scared by them, they cease to have power. Harari's writing remains so accessible throughout his three books. He takes on complex political and economic concepts and breaks them down so anyone can understand them. It reads like common sense. I would have no problem recommending this to any person of any age - it is both easy to digest and extremely engaging. Harari's opinions do come into play in this book, more so than in Sapiens, but I think he comes across as very non-judgemental. He understands that he is just one person with opinions out of billions of people with opinions, and he ultimately concludes that the one thing we could all do with a little more of is humility. I agree. I sort of wish I'd ended the year on this book but, you know me, there's no way I'm going cold turkey for the few remaining days. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  3. 4 out of 5

    David Wineberg

    Society 101 Yuval Harari is well known for his books Sapiens and Homo Deus. He has decided to squander his reputation on a book called 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. The basic problem is that every chapter is the subject of whole shelves of books, and putting them all in one book cannot possibly do them justice. What we have left is a set of 21 editorials, which might inform the totally uninformed, but provide little insight and no solutions. As “lessons” they are unhelpful. He has conveniently Society 101 Yuval Harari is well known for his books Sapiens and Homo Deus. He has decided to squander his reputation on a book called 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. The basic problem is that every chapter is the subject of whole shelves of books, and putting them all in one book cannot possibly do them justice. What we have left is a set of 21 editorials, which might inform the totally uninformed, but provide little insight and no solutions. As “lessons” they are unhelpful. He has conveniently distilled all the threats to mankind into three: nuclear war, climate change and technological/biological disruption. But only technological/biological gets examined. You’re on your own for climate change and nuclear war, which apparently don’t rate high enough for “lessons”. Despite those three most important threats, the most common theme throughout the book is criticism of religion, mostly Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, though Buddhism and Hinduism come under attack as well. Looking back from the perspective of the universe, Harari condemns all religions as pompous, pretentious, full of contradictions, and terrifically negative forces. In his chapter on Immigration, Harari boils down the entire complex situation to three superficial “debates”: -The receiving country must be willing -Immigrants must be willing to adopt “at least the core norms and values” of the new country -If immigrants assimilate, they become “us” rather than “them” and must be treated as first class citizens. Simple, inaccurate and totally missing the real issues. In his chapter on terrorism, Harari completely misses the point that the state has a monopoly on violence. Anyone who challenges that monopoly must be put down, no matter how many civil rights and freedoms are trampled in the process. He spends pages explaining how few people are killed by terrorists compared to traffic, war and disease. So why are we so afraid of terrorists, he asks. (Because the state wants us to be, Mr. Harari.) In the chapter on war, he comes to the magical conclusion that we’ve pretty much done away with it. So far, the only new war we’ve seen this century is Russia taking parts of Ukraine. He says countries see too much risk in starting new wars. He completely ignores (not for the first or last time), the effects of climate change, which will result in unprecedented and massive wars as countries face unstoppable waves of immigrants seeking water and land, as countries disappear from the face of the earth, and as those that have will defend it to the death against all comers, foreign and domestic. The final chapter is on meditation. Meditation is Harari’s solution to pretty much everything, because you can focus on what is real – what is going on in your body right then and there. He says he does this two hours a day, plus one or two months a year. If I had to summarize 21 Lesson for the 21st Century, I would say: throw off the false faiths of institutional religions and meditate instead. Not quite what I expected, and not much help in navigating the 21st century. David Wineberg

  4. 4 out of 5

    Emily (Books with Emily Fox)

    This book is quite difficult to review. I enjoyed Part 1 about the technological challenges humans will be faced with and how we can adapt. It reminded me that I need to read Homo Deus which hopefully will satisfy that craving for me. The rest of the book was more political, religious and philosophical than I usually go for. The title misrepresented the content of the book as there are 21 chapters, not 21 lessons. Overall learned quite a bit but I much preferred his other work. I received an ARC fr This book is quite difficult to review. I enjoyed Part 1 about the technological challenges humans will be faced with and how we can adapt. It reminded me that I need to read Homo Deus which hopefully will satisfy that craving for me. The rest of the book was more political, religious and philosophical than I usually go for. The title misrepresented the content of the book as there are 21 chapters, not 21 lessons. Overall learned quite a bit but I much preferred his other work. I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Anni

    It's Life as we know it, Jim! (But don't ask what it means). 'A wise old man was asked what he learned about the meaning of life. ‘Well,’ he answered, ‘I have learned that I am here on earth in order to help other people. What I still haven’t figured out is why the other people are here.’ As Harari explains: “We are now living in an age of information explosion … the last thing people need is more information. What they really need is somebody to arrange all of the bits of information into a meani It's Life as we know it, Jim! (But don't ask what it means). 'A wise old man was asked what he learned about the meaning of life. ‘Well,’ he answered, ‘I have learned that I am here on earth in order to help other people. What I still haven’t figured out is why the other people are here.’ As Harari explains: “We are now living in an age of information explosion … the last thing people need is more information. What they really need is somebody to arrange all of the bits of information into a meaningful picture – and this is what I try to do.” Following on from Sapiens and Homo Deus, both of which were entertainingly accessible, this investigation of our species has a more personal approach, yet is just as vigorously researched and remarkably impartial. There are so many fascinating insights that I wanted to highlight in this book that it is hard to chose examples, and many are frightening to contemplate, such as: 'Globalisation has certainly benefited large segments of humanity, but there are signs of growing inequality both between and within societies. Some groups increasingly monopolise the fruits of globalisation, while billions are left behind. Already today, the richest 1 per cent owns half the world’s wealth. Even more alarmingly, the richest hundred people together own more than the poorest 4 billion. This could get far worse'. However I'm sure that contributors to Goodreads will particularly enjoy the section on the importance of literature, especially for aficionados of SF :- “… it is equally important to communicate the latest scientific theories to the general public through popular-science books, and even through the skilful use of art and fiction. Does that mean scientists should start writing science fiction? That is actually not such a bad idea. Art plays a key role in shaping people’s view of the world, and in the twenty-first century science fiction is arguably the most important genre of all, for it shapes how most people understand things like AI, bioengineering and climate change. We certainly need good science, but from a political perspective, a good science-fiction movie is worth far more than an article in Science or Nature.”. On the whole, the message Harari imparts is a positive one and he does offer some hope for the survival of our species. At the end of the book he describes his own personal way to discover a ‘firm ethical ground in a world that extends far beyond my horizons, that spins completely out of human control, and that holds all gods and ideologies suspect’ This is the book I will pass on to my grand daughter when she is of an age to wonder why our world is the way it is. In fact, I think it is essential reading for every human being on this planet. Update: Many thanks to the publisher for granting my wish of reading an ARC via Netgalley

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    I'd like to start by talking a little bit about Harari himself and the importance of this work. There are so many cynical academics out there, but very few devote their time and talent to actually creating work that could have a true benefit to humanity. It's all critical and very rarely constructive. I thoroughly enjoyed Sapiens with it's sharp focus on the history of mankind and the mistakes we have made (and continue to make) as a species. I also enjoyed Homo Deus with it's further exploratio I'd like to start by talking a little bit about Harari himself and the importance of this work. There are so many cynical academics out there, but very few devote their time and talent to actually creating work that could have a true benefit to humanity. It's all critical and very rarely constructive. I thoroughly enjoyed Sapiens with it's sharp focus on the history of mankind and the mistakes we have made (and continue to make) as a species. I also enjoyed Homo Deus with it's further exploration of humanity's mistakes and how they will be our detriment as we walk to our future (and perhaps our doom.) And here both ideas are brought together. This book is a middle-ground between the two, drawing on ideas from both to discuss some especially important and complex issues in a very sincere, intelligent and engaging way. Harari's greatest talent as a writer is his ability to condense large sweeping issues into accessible and thought-provoking discussions. He wants you to think. It is the only reason he writes. He wants his readers to engage with possibilities and questions over what might be. He looks at the future and what our lives and liberties will be like with increasing advances in technology, which come with decreasing amounts of privacy and autonomy. Everything can be done better by machines and we could all be replaced in some way. And here Harari considers the true value of human life and its potential to learn and adapt. And I really want to emphasise the word potential again because I believe (and I also believe that Harari believes) that we can become so much better if we altered the path that we are following. And it is not too late to change it had we the will and desire to do so. Indeed, I sense a desire for humanity, a desire for humanity to learn and grow and become better than we are. And this could only happen if we learn from our history and do not allow ourselves to fall completely into the traps of technology. Balance is needed between our human nature and our human advances. We need to remember who we are before it's too late. I believe his writing is very important and I believe we should all be reading it. _________________________________ You can connect with me on social media via My Linktree. __________________________________

  7. 5 out of 5

    David

    This is an utterly fantastic book, the third book I have read by Yuval Harari. They have all been exquisitely excellent! Harari is opinionated and blunt, no doubt about it. But what I most enjoy about this book--as in all of his books--is the unique insights he brings to the discussion. I just love the way he thinks about things. This book contains very few answers--mainly it's about questions. But Harari develops ways to think about issues that are very relevant today. The 21 lessons are contain This is an utterly fantastic book, the third book I have read by Yuval Harari. They have all been exquisitely excellent! Harari is opinionated and blunt, no doubt about it. But what I most enjoy about this book--as in all of his books--is the unique insights he brings to the discussion. I just love the way he thinks about things. This book contains very few answers--mainly it's about questions. But Harari develops ways to think about issues that are very relevant today. The 21 lessons are contained in 21 chapters, each one on a different subject. The first chapter is about disillusionment; mainly about disillusions with the liberal agenda. He wonders if today's evolution into nationalism marks the beginning of the end to liberalism. One of the issues is the loss of jobs to artificial intelligence. Harari discusses what types of jobs will probably be lost, but then highly skilled workers might find new jobs in this arena. The main theme of the book, is that we are at the confluence of two major revolutions; biology and computer science. Harari takes a unique look at where artificial intelligence could take humanity, and the decisions it could make for us. Would these decisions take something away from "being human"? The distinction is made between intelligence and consciousness; they are not the same, though people tend to confuse them. Consciousness develops feelings, which intelligent machines lack. Artificial intelligence could actually analyze feelings, without having feelings itself. While discussing the role of centralized data on our system, Harari writes: Politicians are a bit like musicians, and the instrument they play on is the human emotional and biochemical system. They give a speech, and there is a wave of fear in the country. They tweet, and there is an explosion of hatred. I don't think we should give these musicians a more sophisticated instrument [centralized data] to play on. Harari is a historian, and he has studied the history of the world from a remarkable standpoint. He writes that Western civilization is not based on democracy (Sparta, Julius Caesar, Crusaders, Conquistadors, the Inquisition, the slave trade, Louis XIV, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin). Western civilization is what it is. Another theme of the book is the three threats that are above any single country's ability to counter: nuclear war, climate change, and technological disruption. Harari feels that a global union can actually lead to more patriotism (as in Scotland and Catalonia), without a threat of invasion and violence. Religions are the "handmaids of nationalism." They make finding global solutions to our problems more difficult. Problems of nuclear war, ecological collapse, and technological disruptions can only be solved on a global level. Meanwhile, nationalism and religion divide human civilization into hostile camps. The chapter on immigration is very interesting. Harari discusses the four debates that underlie much of the arguments: 1) Pro-immigrationists think that host countries have a moral duty to accept immigrants. Anti-immigrationists see immigration as a privilege and absorption as a favor. Host countries have worked very hard and made numerous sacrifices to build a prosperous democracy, and it's not their fault if Syrians have failed to do the same. 2) Immigrants have an obligation to assimilate. Most agree that host countries are attractive because of their values of tolerance and freedoms. But do they need to absorb immigrants who are intolerant, homophobic, racist, misogynistic, and anti-Semitic? The culture of the host country should not be destroyed. If it offers eventual full equality, then should it also demand full assimilation? 3) If immigrants sincerely work to assimilate, how much time should elapse before they become full members of society? Thte issue here is the difference between individual and collective timescales. 4) Anti-immigrationists argue that immigrants are not assimilating and too many stick to intolerant, bigoted worldviews. o they should not be treated as first-class citizens. So, why invite more? Pro-immigrationists reply that the host country does not fulfill its side of the deal. Underneath all the debates lurks a more fundamental question; are all cultures equal, or are some superior to others? Harari has an interesting take on terrorism. A terrorist is like a fly in a china shop. The fly is so weak it cannot move even a single teacup. Instead, it finds a bull and buzzes inside its ear. The bull goes wild with fear and anger and destroys the china shop. The idea here is that a terrorist is desperate, and stages a terrifying spectacle, inducing his adversary to overreact. This overreaction is a bigger threat to security than the terrorist himself. I just love these quotes: Human stupidity is one of the most important forces in history, yet wew often tend to discount it. and in the chapter on humility: Whenever they talk of God, humans all too often profess self effacement, but then use the name of God to lord it over their brethren. Harari points out the contradictions between God as a mystery and as a dictator of arcane regulations. "... the mystery of existence doesn't care one iota what names we apes give it." Every religion, ideology and creed has its shadow. Secular science has one big advantage over most religions; it is not terrified of its shadow and is willing to admit its mistakes and blind spots. Yet, in the chapter on Ignorance, Harari writes that scientists who believe that facts can change public opinion are themselves victims of scientific groupthink. And, when a thousand people belive some made-up story for one month, that's called fake news. But when a billion people believe it for a thousand years, that's called a religion. Harari sometimes goes very deep into the human psyche. He believes that asking "what is the meaning of life" is simply the wrong question to ask. The correct question is, "how do we reduce suffering?" I just love this book, and I highly recommend it to everyone. The book is very accessible. There is no jargon or difficult passages. Harari is a great story-teller, and as a result his books are very engaging; and most important, his books make the reader think. A lot.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    I've read all of Harari's books and I really like him as a thinker and a writer. This book is wonderful in the way all his books are wonderful and is flawed in the way the rest are. It is an act of bold ambition and also hubris to write a history of the world, answer the meaning of life, and to propose a path toward the 22nd Century. He certainly does not do all of that, but the act of trying is a lot of fun to read. A lot of his predictions for the future sound like fantasy and science fiction, I've read all of Harari's books and I really like him as a thinker and a writer. This book is wonderful in the way all his books are wonderful and is flawed in the way the rest are. It is an act of bold ambition and also hubris to write a history of the world, answer the meaning of life, and to propose a path toward the 22nd Century. He certainly does not do all of that, but the act of trying is a lot of fun to read. A lot of his predictions for the future sound like fantasy and science fiction, but as he readily admits, anyone who tries to imagine the future without sounding like a sci fi writer is certainly wrong. That's fine, but some of the predictions did seem to me to be pretty far fetched. The biggest strength of the book is the breadth and depth he uses to articulate the problem. The book's fundamental weakness then is that his solution (meditation) does not even come close to being a satisfying result. He sounds pretty nihilistic at the end as he dismantles every single "meaning of life" story. That is fine and maybe he really wants us to stop pretending that there is one. But if the book is going to be about lessons (plural) for a whole century, I would have liked to see some more lessons. Perhaps reducing suffering or increasing compassion? I mean, I refuse to consider a world that will be controlled by robot overloads in which the only way to survive is to count our breaths.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Otis Chandler

    Harari is one of my favorite authors of late, and his books Sapiens and Home Deus are among my favorites. This book builds on those, and is equally fascinating. He is one of those clear thinkers who is able to put together multiple macro trends combined with philosophical perspective. Sapiens is about the past, Deus about the future, and this book purports to be 21 lessons about the present. But it is also rooted in the past, and preparing us for the future. One of Harari's key themes in Deus an Harari is one of my favorite authors of late, and his books Sapiens and Home Deus are among my favorites. This book builds on those, and is equally fascinating. He is one of those clear thinkers who is able to put together multiple macro trends combined with philosophical perspective. Sapiens is about the past, Deus about the future, and this book purports to be 21 lessons about the present. But it is also rooted in the past, and preparing us for the future. One of Harari's key themes in Deus and this book is AI and what it will mean for humanity in the future. Many people - thanks to Hollywood - equate AI with machines that achieve consciousness - I tend to not agree with that, as I think it more likely that AI will just be exceedingly smart. But regardless, along with nuclear power and climate change it's one of the great risks to our future. And it is being advanced rapidly. This will have a lot of side affects, the top one of which is what will happen to humans. I think this quote might be one of the most key from the book, and certainly a key theme of Harari's: "for every dollar and every minute we invest in improving artificial intelligence, it would be wise to invest a dollar and a minute in advancing human consciousness." He goes on to further explain that our whole economic system is causing us to head in this direction, and to - except for a small number of people who opt to prioritize differently - largely ignore how to improve ourselves. "The economic system pressures me to expand and diversify my investment portfolio, but it gives me zero incentive to expand and diversify my compassion. So I strive to understand the mysteries of the stock exchange while making far less effort to understand the deep causes of suffering." Another consequence of AI that is fascinating is that it can enable intelligence at a scale we today can't comprehend, which can be dangerous if it is controlled by the wrong people. AI is just a function of the data you put into it, so it follows that who holds the data in the future, will hold the power. I think this is a key concept. "In the twenty-first century, however, data will eclipse both land and machinery as the most important asset, and politics will be a struggle to control the flow of data." Harari talks about trends in globalization, nationalism, immigration, religion, terrorism, and war. A common theme across these is that many people worry a lot that trends in these areas is a cause for concern and causing decline in our world. However the truth is that in most of them, we have come a long way and made a lot of progress - however because we live in an unprecedented age of information sharing - "media" - people are a lot more aware of even small issues in these areas. Also, our governments are predicated on keeping us safe from political violence, so even small issues like terrorism (small in the sense of how many people die from it each year) can have outsized importance to people. He talks about the danger of propoganda/fake news and fascism and how in todays technological climate there is more risk of them so its better if everyone understands them. He explained this really well in his TED talk - highly worth watching. But in the end, the only major recommendation Harari makes is around meditation. He impressively meditates for TWO HOURS per day, and TWO MONTHS per year. That is obviously a *huge* time commitment, and yet one he finds fulfilling. If we are going to invest in ourselves, the biggest way might be to start with our minds, and to stop worrying about all of these trends - because in the end, they don't matter to our ability to have a good, happy, loving life. "I think I learned more about myself and about humans in general by observing my sensations for those ten days than I had learned in my whole life up to that point. And to do so I didn’t have to accept any story, theory, or mythology. I just had to observe reality as it is. The most important thing I realized was that the deepest source of my suffering is in the patterns of my own mind."

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    Questions you cannot answer are usually far better for you than answers you cannot question." Has anyone ever asked you which author you would choose to read if you were stranded on a deserted island and could only have one author with you? I could not come up with any one writer until reading Yuval Harari. Now, I would without a doubt choose him. There might only be 3 books he's written so far, and though I've read all 3, I could spend years re-reading them and reflecting on all that is cont Questions you cannot answer are usually far better for you than answers you cannot question." Has anyone ever asked you which author you would choose to read if you were stranded on a deserted island and could only have one author with you? I could not come up with any one writer until reading Yuval Harari. Now, I would without a doubt choose him. There might only be 3 books he's written so far, and though I've read all 3, I could spend years re-reading them and reflecting on all that is contained within them. I suppose this doesn't really go with the quote above; after all, I'm glad to have answered that question! The quote is one of my favourites in the book and that's why I opened my review with it. In Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind Mr Harari led us predominately through the history of mankind. In Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow he focused on where we are headed as a species. Now in 21 Lessons for the 21st Century he addresses the major issues challenging the world today and what we can perhaps expect in the very near future. Hint: It doesn't all have to be gloom and doom and apocalyptic scenarios. As he wisely says, "The first step is to tone down the prophecies of doom and switch from panic mode to bewilderment." Since we cannot predict how AI and other technologies will change and (hopefully) improve, we cannot say with any certainty what the future will bring. Our world of the 21st century is vastly different to the world 500 years ago, when you could rightly guess that 100 years in the future would be very similar to your present day. Today we are constantly faced with changes, and the number of changes will only increase with each passing year. What should we be doing to prepare for this? How should we be educating our children for this uncertain future? How can we learn who we are before we find algorithms taking over our lives, making it all but impossible to then learn who we are? Yuval Harari addresses these questions and many others, including climate change, immigration, religion, technology, politics, terrorism, education, and secular ethics. As in his previous books, Mr Harari discusses many topics and gives us many facts and much material to ponder. This book is more philosophical than the previous two, forcing us to really think about ourselves, our stories, our world, our future. If we are to not only survive as a species but also to create a future that is good for all humankind, we must abandon our strict adherence to previous fictions, such as nationalism and religious myths. We can feel loyalty to our country and we can believe in religion, but only if we recognise that they are fictions, and that other humans have their own and ours is not somehow right whilst all others are wrong. We must not let our own world views make us feel superior to other humans and sentient beings, we must not think their suffering does not matter or matters less than our own. We must come together globally if we are to survive and flourish. "If we want to survive and flourish, humankind has little choice but to complement such loyalties [to nation, religion, etc] with substantial obligations toward a global community. A person can and should be loyal simultaneously to her family, her neighborhood, her profession, and her nation -- so why not add humankind and planet Earth to that list?" Let's leave behind our prejudices and tribal mentality that helped our hunter-gather ancestors survive. Our world is not the same as theirs; we are all connected and must work together to solve the problems facing humanity today. I recommend this book to anyone who is even remotely interested in any of these topics. As always with Harari's books, I learned so much and was encouraged to think critically about many things. I love his books because of this!

  11. 5 out of 5

    André Oliveira

    This book is going to upset some people. I really enjoyed Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind and Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow , my favorite being Sapiens. okay. this book. Yuval Noah Harari takes some really big topics as religion, nationalism, secularism, liberty, equality, immigration, terrorism, fake news and so much more, and give us his opinions on these subjects always being really frank and upfront. So, I can say that I liked this book because I agree with a lot of his opinions. I This book is going to upset some people. I really enjoyed Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind and Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow , my favorite being Sapiens. okay. this book. Yuval Noah Harari takes some really big topics as religion, nationalism, secularism, liberty, equality, immigration, terrorism, fake news and so much more, and give us his opinions on these subjects always being really frank and upfront. So, I can say that I liked this book because I agree with a lot of his opinions. If you have different opinions, it may be difficult for you to finish the book. But that's the point, right? It made me think about topics that I've never thought about before. It gave me new perspectives and that is really important for me. At the end of the day, we are just a group of molecules and everyone just wants to live their best life. Think outside the box, do your research and leave your prejudices behind.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Swaroop

    "Change is the only constant." "I am free to create my own dharma." This book has been an interesting, fascinating, enlightening, liberating, scary and an exciting read! The psyche of Homo sapiens... 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari is all about perspective on what's happening right now and clarity about the greatest challenges and important choices. This book covers a wide range of topics, from Disillusionment, War, Politics to Meditation. Homo sapiens is just not built for sat "Change is the only constant." "I am free to create my own dharma." This book has been an interesting, fascinating, enlightening, liberating, scary and an exciting read! The psyche of Homo sapiens... 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari is all about perspective on what's happening right now and clarity about the greatest challenges and important choices. This book covers a wide range of topics, from Disillusionment, War, Politics to Meditation. Homo sapiens is just not built for satisfaction. Human happiness depends less on objective conditions and more on our own expectations. These lessons don't exactly provide answers for the challenges, but are more focused on helping us think, research further and be prepared for the "change". The truth is that truth was never high on the agenda of Homo sapiens. But in truth, everything you will ever experience in life is within your own body and your own mind. Even though, overall, the book focuses on the important social, economic and political challenges, the content is much deeper and stimulating. "It is our own human fingers that wrote the Bible, the Quran, the Vedas, and it is our minds that give these stories power." "If you realize your dharma, no matter how hard the path may be, you enjoy peace of mind and liberation from doubt.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Citizen! Are you concerned that the problems we face increasingly call for a global response? Then look no further for a lucid circle jerk. Have you ever, while huffing the molten interior of a fresh dinner roll, saw emerging technologies fuse with advances in bioengineering to produce a shambling monstrosity the likes of which Lovecraft had no adjectives for? Well, this book may occasion some frustration as it continually auto-corrects to ‘Cyclopean’. Right up front: I usually don’t like books t Citizen! Are you concerned that the problems we face increasingly call for a global response? Then look no further for a lucid circle jerk. Have you ever, while huffing the molten interior of a fresh dinner roll, saw emerging technologies fuse with advances in bioengineering to produce a shambling monstrosity the likes of which Lovecraft had no adjectives for? Well, this book may occasion some frustration as it continually auto-corrects to ‘Cyclopean’. Right up front: I usually don’t like books that prognosticate endlessly. Since (a.) Humans are terrible at it. (b.) Science Fiction offers a more thrilling alternative, and (c.) Said books are often cynical cash grabs that peddle doomsday scenarios or utopian visions, neither of which are very helpful for kindling productive conversation. But since I had read the author’s previous books and liked them well enough, I thought I might as well pick this one up too. Humans have a thing for threes. And while I can’t recommend this book without some caveats, I didn’t fall asleep. So, what’s this book about? The title doesn’t leave much to the imagination, but here’s some gristle: A confluence of technological and historical factors have produced disillusionment in the mantras of liberal democracy. In a time when our collective interests should be more aligned than ever, we see a renewed eagerness for a disintegration of the global community, and a regression back into idiosyncratic fiefdoms whose concerns are purely parochial. Are the liberal values of freedom and tolerance enough to resolve the cultural conflicts of the world and unite humankind in the face of nuclear war, ecological collapse, and technological disruption? Damn! I hope so! And so does Harari! To say that this book offers “lessons” would be overselling it. The chapters are brief topical surveys of the impediments to our cooperation, (there’s 21 of them!), with scant advice on how we might defeat old prejudices, or steer technological progress more wisely. There’s also significant overlap with the author’s previous book: Homo Deus, and if you’ve already cracked that open, I’m not sure you’ll wanna spring for this. Also, if you’re relatively current on these near-future speculations, from the slew of recent books on the topic, I doubt you’ll find much unique here to recommend it. But, if reiteration isn’t your thing, I still found a couple of new concepts to chew on, and it’s written very well. So what are you waiting for? Attack the bones of a rotisserie chicken with this book!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anton

    As always, masterful and exquisite non-fiction writing as we come to expect from Mr Harari. Delightful, wise and very perceptive. This book can be seen as an expansion and a companion to Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow. The attention of this volume is focused on the Present as opposed to Past or the Future. Some parts will make you feel inspired, others will sow a despair. But it is a relevant and useful book that will give you a plenty to chew on. Strongly recommended As always, masterful and exquisite non-fiction writing as we come to expect from Mr Harari. Delightful, wise and very perceptive. This book can be seen as an expansion and a companion to Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow. The attention of this volume is focused on the Present as opposed to Past or the Future. Some parts will make you feel inspired, others will sow a despair. But it is a relevant and useful book that will give you a plenty to chew on. Strongly recommended

  15. 4 out of 5

    Brandice

    21 Lessons for the 21st Century offers lots of food for thought and interesting concepts, many already under way with several on the horizon for the near future. The continuous rise of technology, including artificial intelligence (AI), the overwhelming volume of information we’re bombarded with on a daily basis, and the traditional ideas we often hold regarding religion and politics all significantly impact the world. The chapters on AI, nationalism, and combatting terrorism were particularly i 21 Lessons for the 21st Century offers lots of food for thought and interesting concepts, many already under way with several on the horizon for the near future. The continuous rise of technology, including artificial intelligence (AI), the overwhelming volume of information we’re bombarded with on a daily basis, and the traditional ideas we often hold regarding religion and politics all significantly impact the world. The chapters on AI, nationalism, and combatting terrorism were particularly interesting. ”Instead of humans competing with AI, they could focus on servicing and leveraging AI. For example, the replacement of human pilots by drones has eliminated some jobs but created many new opportunities in maintenance, remote control, data analysis, and cybersecurity. The U.S. armed forces need thirty people to operate every unmanned Predator or Reaper drone flying over Syria, while analyzing the resulting harvest of information occupies at least eighty people more.” While there’s much to consider here, I couldn’t help but feel parts of this book were dry, and found myself losing interest at various points. I do appreciate Harari’s intellect — 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is an insightful read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    kartik narayanan

    What can I say about this book that will do it justice? Nothing. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is yet another seminal work by Yuval Noah Harari, which deals with the challenges facing us here and now. He tackles different topics from varying perspectives. Even if you do not agree with everything he says, one thing is for sure - he makes you think. Prepare to have your worldview expand if you read this book. It is a definite keeper.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Preston Kutney

    If you’ve read Sapiens and Homo Deus (which I really enjoyed), you can skip. This is basically a collection of Harari’s opinions on a group of topics somewhat relevant to today, repackaged from his first two books, with all the same strengths and flaws: good storytelling about human history, human nature, the future; but also the signature flaw in his writing - very little distinction between ideas that have substantial evidence and those that are simply his opinions.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bharath

    I enjoyed reading both Sapiens and Homo Deus, especially the former. This book picks up the thread and is set between the matter of Sapiens (now Homo Sapiens came to rule the Earth) and Homo Deus (what awaits us in the future) in terms of time scales. While the author talks about this book’s matter being more relevant to the present, it is still set out a little into the future. The book starts with the impact of technology – robotics, artificial intelligence and biotechnology. This is going to m I enjoyed reading both Sapiens and Homo Deus, especially the former. This book picks up the thread and is set between the matter of Sapiens (now Homo Sapiens came to rule the Earth) and Homo Deus (what awaits us in the future) in terms of time scales. While the author talks about this book’s matter being more relevant to the present, it is still set out a little into the future. The book starts with the impact of technology – robotics, artificial intelligence and biotechnology. This is going to mean a large-scale shift in the nature of jobs – with low end jobs set to disappear. This will lead to the emergence of what Yuval Noah Harari describes as a ‘useless’ class who will be unemployable. In the later part of the book he discusses ideas for the revamp of the education system. Till date, education has been about imparting of information & knowledge – there is little purpose in that any more with access to information being easier than ever before for anybody. The political shift worldwide is discussed in some detail – including the apparent decline of liberalism. He talks about the emerging popularity of nationalist parties worldwide. In the later parts of the book, Yuval warns of the dangers of looking at aggregate data which is less personal, but in my opinion makes that mistake himself in the political section. Voters often only have a binary choice and the aggregate results make it appear as if they have chosen an ideology rather than voted for specific individuals. There are further sections on immigration, religion, justice and finally on meditation. The discussions on mythology are far less nuanced and meaningful as compared to Joseph Campbell’s writings. The section on secularism makes some great points. There are many brave and frank insights throughout the book, including on religion. There are several issues with the narrative though – a very pessimistic tone, disjointed sections and abrupt conclusions. And yet, it is a book which is intellectually stimulating and makes for great reading for that reason alone. The topics in the book are those which all of us should be thinking about. As Yuval Noah Harari points out, most of us are too busy trying to attain power and control circumstances, rather than understanding ourselves & the world we live in. My rating is more liberal than my usual standards due to the highly intellectual, important and engaging content of the book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anni

    It's Life as we know it, Jim Or: Don't ask what it means! 'A wise old man was asked what he learned about the meaning of life. ‘Well,’ he answered, ‘I have learned that I here on earth in order to help other people. What I still haven’t figured out is why the other people are here.’ As Harari explains: “We are now living in an age of information explosion … the last thing people need is more information. What they really need is somebody to arrange all of the bits of information into a meaningful p It's Life as we know it, Jim Or: Don't ask what it means! 'A wise old man was asked what he learned about the meaning of life. ‘Well,’ he answered, ‘I have learned that I here on earth in order to help other people. What I still haven’t figured out is why the other people are here.’ As Harari explains: “We are now living in an age of information explosion … the last thing people need is more information. What they really need is somebody to arrange all of the bits of information into a meaningful picture – and this is what I try to do.” Following on from Sapiens and Homo Deus, both of which were entertainingly accessible, this investigation of our species has a more personal approach, yet is just as vigorously researched and remarkably impartial. There are so many fascinating insights that I wanted to highlight in this book that it is hard to chose examples, and many are frightening to contemplate, such as: Globalisation has certainly benefited large segments of humanity, but there are signs of growing inequality both between and within societies. Some groups increasingly monopolise the fruits of globalisation, while billions are left behind. Already today, the richest 1 per cent owns half the world’s wealth. Even more alarmingly, the richest hundred people together own more than the poorest 4 billion.This could get far worse. However I'm sure that contributors to Goodreads will particularly enjoy the section on the importance of literature, especially for aficionados of SF :- “… it is equally important to communicate the latest scientific theories to the general public through popular-science books, and even through the skilful use of art and fiction. Does that mean scientists should start writing science fiction? That is actually not such a bad idea. Art plays a key role in shaping people’s view of the world, and in the twenty-first century science fiction is arguably the most important genre of all, for it shapes how most people understand things like AI, bioengineering and climate change. We certainly need good science, but from a political perspective, a good science-fiction movie is worth far more than an article in Science or Nature.”. On the whole, the message Harari imparts is a positive one and he does offer some hope for the survival of our species. At the end of the book he describes his own personal way to discover a ‘firm ethical ground in a world that extends far beyond my horizons, that spins completely out of human control, and that holds all gods and ideologies suspect’ This is the book I will pass on to my grand daughter when she is of an age to wonder why our world is the way it is. In fact, I think it is essential reading for every human being on this planet. Update: Many thanks to the publisher for granting my wish of reading an ARC via Netgalley

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alice Lippart

    Interesting, as always.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nada Elshabrawy

    A super important book!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Clausen

    This is one of the most complete books I've read in a long time. Filled with wisdom, insight, philosophy, wit, curiosity. And, most importantly, humility. I felt that each chapter could be a book unto itself. I felt that some insights were exceptional, while others gave me pause. Perhaps one of the reasons is that the book covers so much ground in such a short time and in doing so passes over vasts amounts of scholarly research (glosses over it, randomly picks through it perhaps). In some of the This is one of the most complete books I've read in a long time. Filled with wisdom, insight, philosophy, wit, curiosity. And, most importantly, humility. I felt that each chapter could be a book unto itself. I felt that some insights were exceptional, while others gave me pause. Perhaps one of the reasons is that the book covers so much ground in such a short time and in doing so passes over vasts amounts of scholarly research (glosses over it, randomly picks through it perhaps). In some of the subjects where I was familiar with the scholarly literature, I was thoroughly impressed by his ability to take complex ideas, summarize them, synthesize them, and pack them into a short chapter. On the other hand, I was also a little worried about how much certain debates were left on the cutting-room floor. In cases where I wasn't as familiar with the scholarly literature or in chapters where I think he is dealing with new theoretical territory, I wish he would have slowed down and thoroughly explained the assumptions that were leading his insights. Typically, I like concise books that are light on citations; but in this case, I found myself missing the thick list of notes and citations at the end. For this reason, I would like to thoroughly interrogate the ideas of the book again at a slower pace. One of the key ideas of the book -- that revolutions in biotech and infotech (AI especially) might lead to algorithms that are better decision-makers than humans -- is an insight that contradicts my own findings regarding computer-led decision-making. In short, what I've found in my reading "black box" decision-making tools, even ones that bake in a lot of data, have tendencies toward catastrophic blow-ups when they try to predict human behavior. The most dramatic example of this was 1998's Long Term Capital Management which used a computer model for investing and almost blew up the world economy. One of the designers of the model, Nobel prize winner Myron Scholes, afterward suggested that if they had simply baked in more data they would have been fine. (Here is a link to Long-Term Capital Management history on Investipedia: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/l/...). My guess is that it would have simply delayed the blow-up and made it perhaps more catastrophic. An attempt by google to use an algorithm to predict the outbreak of flu cases was another example of a prediction algorithm that was well-behaved for a while and then fell apart. (You can read about that one here: https://www.wired.com/2015/10/can-lea...). Of course, Long-Term Capital Management was more than 20 years ago. AI, algorithms, and machine learning, I'm sure, have significantly improved and will improve, as the author's own research suggests. I don't doubt his insight that humans will increasingly come to rely on algorithms. But I was concerned that he didn't address the problem of randomness in human action that often leads these models to be catastrophically wrong. The point is that he covers so much so fast that there are probably a lot more of these gaps that need to be examined. I think that the book both in its message and its design makes the case for more of this kind of writing by scholars. Since the 21st century moves fast and upends your preconceived notions fairly quickly, perhaps scholars should also try to move fast, even if it means throwing some caution to the wind. I have mixed feelings about this. For a long time, even early in the twentieth century, people have suggested that scholars need to engage more in public discourse -- be unafraid of the pundits and punditry world. They should engage in the often messy debates that mark and scar our imagination on TV, radio, and newspapers (and now Youtube and social media). For me, punditry is a four-letter word. It's actually pronounced ****ing punditry. Their priority is ratings and relevancy: thus attention-grabbing and entertainment are a priority. The scholar's greatest resource is his or her ability to be irrelevant: to play around with ideas that aren't sexy or exciting. Scholars have entered the punditry world before and the results I believe have not always been happy ones. Those who fight monsters need to be cautious that they do not become one (Friedrich Nietzsche I believe, but its origin is perhaps far older). This book, written quickly, tackling big problems, making big assertions, may come close to that dirty four-letter word. It is certainly more relevant for it. Certainly the kind of book that I would not hesitate to recommend to a high-level high school student or college freshman. (Still too scholarly I'm afraid for a barroom chat). But for that reason, it also warrants my caution -- and another read. [I re-read this book in February of 2021! It still holds up as one of the better books I've ever read.]

  23. 5 out of 5

    Saadia B. || CritiConscience

    Harari is famous for his thought provoking analysis and descriptions. In this book he touches upon various aspect of life such as AI, nuclear wars, globalised politics, religion, terrorism, etc. but more than lessons he talks about their stance in the 21st Century. Though he tries to make sense out of them but mostly loses track. As per his estimates, the recent boom of Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Algorithms and BioEngineering will put billions of humans out of job market and will create a Harari is famous for his thought provoking analysis and descriptions. In this book he touches upon various aspect of life such as AI, nuclear wars, globalised politics, religion, terrorism, etc. but more than lessons he talks about their stance in the 21st Century. Though he tries to make sense out of them but mostly loses track. As per his estimates, the recent boom of Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Algorithms and BioEngineering will put billions of humans out of job market and will create a massive new useless class leading to social and political upheavals that no existing ideology be it Liberalism, Nationalism, Islam or any other knows how to handle. Jobs are changing, so are skills hence this might come to a reality which most of us aren’t able to see as a threat, as of now. Machines learn better with more information; their abilities enhance with analysis and patterns. Thereby instead of collective discrimination in the 21st Century we might face a growing problem of individual discrimination. Three problems: nuclear wars, ecological collapse and technological disruption are enough to threaten the future of human civilization. Terrorism according to Harari is a weapon for the marginal and weak segments of the humanity. It is a military strategy that hopes to change the political situation by spreading fear rather than cashing material damage. Like the USA, China, Germany, Japan, Iran and Israel seem to understand that in the 21st Century the most successful strategy is to sit on the fence and let others do the fighting for you. Revolutionary knowledge do rarely make it to the centre because the centre is built on existing knowledge. Your brain and yourself are part of the matrix, to escape the matrix you must escape yourself and escaping the narrow definition of self might become a necessary survival skill in today’s time. I agree with some of his notions but nonetheless this book is his weakest as the title was more about lessons. But the book itself was about his predictions which might or might not come true in the 21st Century. Blog | YouTube | Instagram | Facebook | LinkedIn

  24. 5 out of 5

    Laura Noggle

    Initial Thoughts: Overly generalized and vague, you'll be hard pressed to find many concrete "lessons"— although there's a fair amount of astute insights and quotable aphorisms. “In a world deluged by irrelevant information, clarity is power.” Based on all the rave reviews, I thought at first maybe I had missed something until Bill Gates' 3 star review confirmed my initial opinion. The first portion of the book was my favorite, and although I've already hit my personal limit on digital futurecasti Initial Thoughts: Overly generalized and vague, you'll be hard pressed to find many concrete "lessons"— although there's a fair amount of astute insights and quotable aphorisms. “In a world deluged by irrelevant information, clarity is power.” Based on all the rave reviews, I thought at first maybe I had missed something until Bill Gates' 3 star review confirmed my initial opinion. The first portion of the book was my favorite, and although I've already hit my personal limit on digital futurecasting (see: The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future and Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future) Harari provided a plethora of interesting perspectives (... albeit with a paucity of data). In fact, the whole book is fascinating—but seems to be built more upon Harari's own opinions, mass generalizations, and factual cherry picking than any hard science or research. Technically, you might argue that all nonfiction books have these same qualities, however, next to books such as The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power which is utterly stacked with backed up facts ... this one pales in comparison. Instead of "lessons," Harari could easily have swapped in "questions," each of which are addressed/confronted in the 21 chapters: Part I: The Technological Challenge 1. DISILLUSIONMENT The end of history has been postponed 2. WORK When you grow up, you might not have a job 3. LIBERTY Big Data is watching you 4. EQUALITY Those who own the data own the future Part II: The Political Challenge 5. COMMUNITY Humans have bodies 6. CIVILISATION There is just one civilisation in the world 7. NATIONALISM Global problems need global answers 8. RELIGION God now serves the nation 9. IMMIGRATION Some cultures might be better than others Part III: Despair and Hope 10. TERRORISM Don’t panic 11. WAR Never underestimate human stupidity 12. HUMILITY You are not the centre of the world 13. GOD Don’t take the name of God in vain 14. SECULARISM Acknowledge your shadow Part IV: Truth 15. IGNORANCE You know less than you think 16. JUSTICE Our sense of justice might be out of date 17. POST-TRUTH Some fake news lasts for ever 18. SCIENCE FICTION The future is not what you see in the movies Part V: Resilience 19. EDUCATION Change is the only constant 20. MEANING Life is not a story 21. MEDITATION Just observe By the end of the book, Harari has fallen into repetitive religion bashing and his main "answer" / overall summary as a solution ... meditation. Okay ... Now I'm not a fan of organized religion by a long shot, but this last portion gave me strong editorial rant vibes, and, I'm all for meditation—but as a cure all? I guess I just had higher hopes for this book. "Silence isn't neutrality; it is supporting the status-quo." It's almost like Harari used up all his academic prowess in Sapiens, with each book moving farther afield from sound research to personal tirades and guesstimations. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind 5 Stars: Solid material, loved it. Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow 4 Stars: Moving towards heavy futurecasting, still compelling. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century 3 Stars: Abstract and loose, borderline sci-fi. Sweeping and almost all encompassing, this is still an entertaining read. "Questions you cannot answer are usually far better for you than answers you cannot question." Some things to think about: "For as the pace of change increases, not just the economy but the very meaning of 'being human' is likely to mutate. Already in 1848 the Communist Manifesto declared that 'all that is solid melts into air.' Marx and Engels, however, were thinking mainly about social and economic structures. By 2048, physical and cognitive structures will also melt into air, or into a cloud of data bits." "Terrorists are masters of mind control. They kill very few people but nevertheless manage to terrify billions and rattle huge political structures such as the European Union or the United States. Since September 11, 2001, each year terrorists have killed about 50 people in the European Union, about 10 people in the United States, about 7 people in China, and up to 25,000 people elsewhere in the globe (mostly in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Syria). In contrast, each year traffic accidents kill about 80,000 Europeans, 40,000 Americans, 270,000 Chinese, and 1.25 million people altogether. Diabetes and high sugar levels kill up to 3.5 million people annually, while air pollution kills about 7 million people per year. So why do we fear terrorism more than sugar, and why do governments lose elections because of sporadic terrorist attacks but not because of chronic air pollution?" "In the twentieth century, industrialized civilization depended on the 'barbarians' for cheap labor, raw materials, and markets, and it often conquered and absorbed them. But in the twenty-first century, a post-industrial civilization relying on AI, bioengineering, and nanotechnology might be far more self-contained and self-sustaining. Not just entire classes but entire countries and continents might become irrelevant. Fortifications guarded by drones and robots might separate the self-proclaimed civilized zone, where cyborgs fight one another with logic bombs, from the barbarian lands where feral humans fight one another with machetes and Kalashnikovs."

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bianca

    A million stars Educational+ Informative + Food for thought = BRILLIANT = MUST READ

  26. 5 out of 5

    Vladimir

    This book provoked me so I decided to write a longer review. First of all, Yuval Noah Harari is well educated man and the book contains many interesting thoughts and comments. I learned a lot. However, it is so imbued with political correctness that it was sometimes painful to read it. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely share the liberal values but, sometimes, I cannot stand all this "purity" of language. Either Dr Harari had a "good" editor who cleaned up all possible strong statements or it was This book provoked me so I decided to write a longer review. First of all, Yuval Noah Harari is well educated man and the book contains many interesting thoughts and comments. I learned a lot. However, it is so imbued with political correctness that it was sometimes painful to read it. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely share the liberal values but, sometimes, I cannot stand all this "purity" of language. Either Dr Harari had a "good" editor who cleaned up all possible strong statements or it was the pure auto-censorship. It is clear for whom this book was written for. I really think that this path leads nowhere and that the modern intellectual should stand up against it. I grew up in communist Yugoslavia where I had to listen from my first days of school about the brotherhood and unity of our nations. This brotherhood produced a bloody war with so many causalities and refuges (bye the way, all parties involved were guilty for what happened, not just Serbs). What I was trying to say that, if something was built on wrong grounds, eventually, it will fall apart. Of course, it is difficult to act in that way today and it needs courage. Let's go back to communism. It seems that it was easier to be a dissident and speak against the system or government living in communism because you had only one enemy (the state = communist party). Today, there are so many interest groups (mentioned by Dr Harari ), which react to any statement that is not in line with political correctness, that you cannot come out even with grounded criticism. The question is, why do they get so much media space? I think that this answer can be found in the works of Peter Sloterdijk, who, in my opinion, approaches this subject in much better way. In his book "Rage and Time", he pointed at the rage as a specific social "quality" which like money and knowledge can create new values i.e. bring the power. Power is, according to Bertrand Russel, something that guides the history, not ideology or money (these are just the means to get the power). Now, please check who collects the money and knowledge (which brings the power) and prevents the accumulation of the rage (in order to keep the power)? I don't need to point my finger to let you know. With all these internal struggles, different groups cannot be united to fight the common enemy. In this way, the struggle is always horizontal and not vertical. So, I agree with Dr Harari that none of the political organizations, secret services or groups can understand the complexity of the world but I know that their job is to rule and, for that, they will use all of the mechanisms on their disposal. So, if I know that many of the groups will get the chance to attack me, it is better to write as it was proscribed. Then, I will be able to live from my writings. Instead, we should form a new paradigm as a alternative to this system. The only time when middle class was living good (at least in the West) was when there was a communist alternative they could turn to. The communist idea was wrong but we should find an alternative one, if we want to get the fair share. I think that the main problem with the current state of affairs is that we need a novel political system. Liberalism failed in many ways and with technological advances and interconnection of the world, Dr Harare talks about, we need the new one. The problem is that no one knows how it should look like. Meanwhile, as always when they are in danger, the people from above react with giving the power to bureaucracy and by creating the internal struggles that I was talking about above. Once we find the right political system, things will change. So I don't think that there will be too much problems 30-40 years from now, as Dr Harari suggests. We will adjust, as we always do. In any case, the solution should encounter the human nature. The current agenda is that everything is culture, which is the thesis pushed by social anthropologist Margaret Mead among others. I strongly believe that the truth is somewhere in between i.e. we are the cultural beings but, at the same time, the culture is built around human nature. If you push too much, you get Trump. So, all the problems with nationalism, religions etc. are actually part of the biology i.e. human nature. We will always misinterpret a noble idea in order to get things our way. If we do not change our nature, no cultural pressure will affect us. We will just pretend. Yuval Noah Harari tried to convince us that everything is relative. All our stories and myths that we live with are less than 3000 years old, which is nothing compared to 100 000 years that our specie populates the Earth. Thus, we should abandon them once they become useless. I can agree with that. These ideas are not new. Sir James Jeans ( the physicst as myself) estimated that in next 500 milion years (if we do not destroy the planet and if civilizations come to exist with the same tempo as up to now) there will appear 1743 000 civilizations. Pretty scary. Faced with this calculations, it is obvious that whatever we do it will be wiped out along. Harari suggests meditation as his way dealing with it. I would suggest Isihasm (Hesychasm), a mystical tradition of prayer in the Eastern Orthodox Church introduced in XIV century (although this will not be accepted well among my liberal friends). Therefore, I agree with the main conclusion of his book, but I do not agree with many of Harare's interpretations of the current state. I would also suggest that in his future writings he should avoid to use CNN as a source. His comments about Russia looks like written in the US Sate department. We all know that Putin is autocrat and dictator. That is so obvious. No one would like to live in the country like Russia, but Putin's actions were many times provoked in all these games played around. Harari as historian should have known better. Yes Assad is dictator as well (who gave two harbors in Mediterranean to Russia for her fleet). I am reading The New Yorker regularly and in all these years I have never encountered a critical article about Saudi Arabia (I assume that Saudi king is not much more different from Assad except that he is USA allay). It seems that auto-censorship is everywhere. A critical thinker today should not take sides. Noam Chomsky is very old and I would really like to see whether someone with same courage and autonomy would appear soon.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ray

    I got a lot out of this book. I do understand the criticisms that Harari can be unfocused in this list of lessons, or rather questions without clear answers (but what's wrong with that?), and it is not quite the must-read that was Sapiens and even Homo Deus. That said, having a book of Yuval Harari disjointedly riffing about the state of the world is about the most fascinating kind of read I could ask for. The more, the better. His ideas about religion, technology, story-telling, identity, medit I got a lot out of this book. I do understand the criticisms that Harari can be unfocused in this list of lessons, or rather questions without clear answers (but what's wrong with that?), and it is not quite the must-read that was Sapiens and even Homo Deus. That said, having a book of Yuval Harari disjointedly riffing about the state of the world is about the most fascinating kind of read I could ask for. The more, the better. His ideas about religion, technology, story-telling, identity, meditation, the future, politics, nationalism, what went wrong with humanity and what went right... his very well-thought out takes on all these subjects are crucial indeed. (And for an atheistic author who doesn't believe in identity and basically disproves all religions, this sure turned out to be a surprisingly spiritual book.) If only there was a way to make everyone in the world read Harari and have some real perspective about all that is going on. Seriously, those with power may be just the kinds to not to seek truth--as is expertly explained within--but it sure would be nice if they did read more. This book is a series of conversation starters in many ways, but conversations that need to be had. How are the challenges of the planet earth, and not only the societal structure but the actual genetic makeup of the human species, how are they going to pan out in this dynamic century? Unfortunately, those in charge seem to have no idea what to do. Yes, the current regressive political movements are discussed, and one does come away more convinced than ever that such movements are extremely not equipped to deal with the problems that are coming? So what are we going to do about it all? I don't know. But, for a start, at least having thinking more deeply about the right questions could lead to some better answers!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Charlie Hasler

    A fascinating read. It made me feel quite uncomfortable at times, reading something and allowing the words to unplug your mind from the Matrix is a strange feeling. I enjoyed how the author didn’t shy away from any subjects, no subject is safe as it were, and nor should it be. Everything be it religion or world politics must be open for criticism and dissection. After putting this book down each evening I pondered on the chapters I had just read, and the ones before that. I am a thinker/day dreame A fascinating read. It made me feel quite uncomfortable at times, reading something and allowing the words to unplug your mind from the Matrix is a strange feeling. I enjoyed how the author didn’t shy away from any subjects, no subject is safe as it were, and nor should it be. Everything be it religion or world politics must be open for criticism and dissection. After putting this book down each evening I pondered on the chapters I had just read, and the ones before that. I am a thinker/day dreamer so I did get lost in my thoughts with this book at times. A brilliantly written, eye opening book. I would say to everyone, allow yourself to unplugged from the system and give it a go. A worthy 5 stars.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    Yuval Noah Harari, author of 'Sapiens', which looked at the history of mankind and 'Homo Deus' which looked to the future, is back with '21 Lessons for the 21st Century' a book which very much explores present day issues. As I enjoyed his previous two books I was excited to delve into this collection to see how it would compare. Just as accessible as the others it discusses important topical issues such as fake news, immigration, terrorism, and climate change, to name but a few. I found each top Yuval Noah Harari, author of 'Sapiens', which looked at the history of mankind and 'Homo Deus' which looked to the future, is back with '21 Lessons for the 21st Century' a book which very much explores present day issues. As I enjoyed his previous two books I was excited to delve into this collection to see how it would compare. Just as accessible as the others it discusses important topical issues such as fake news, immigration, terrorism, and climate change, to name but a few. I found each topic provided just the right amount of detail without overwhelming the reader, a fine balancing act if ever there was one! Each chapter flows beautifully into the next, and alongside the various topics are lots of citations. There is no doubt that Harari is an excellent writer, and here he has meticulously researched each of the "lessons". There is certainly a lot of thought-provoking material included in this book, and I can imagine it being of interest to a great many people. This is most likely destined to be another bestseller! With the sheer amount of hard work that has gone into it, and the honesty it provides, it certainly deserves to be. Many thanks to Jonathan Cape for an ARC. I was not required to post a review, and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Krista

    Humans have always lived in the age of post-truth. Homo sapiens is a post-truth species, whose power depends on creating and believing fictions. Ever since the Stone Age, self-reinforcing myths have served to unite human collectives. Indeed, Homo sapiens conquered this planet thanks above all to the unique human ability to create and spread fictions. As Yuval Noah Hurari states in his introduction, his book Sapiens was about the deep past of human history, Homo Deus was about our deep future, and Humans have always lived in the age of post-truth. Homo sapiens is a post-truth species, whose power depends on creating and believing fictions. Ever since the Stone Age, self-reinforcing myths have served to unite human collectives. Indeed, Homo sapiens conquered this planet thanks above all to the unique human ability to create and spread fictions. As Yuval Noah Hurari states in his introduction, his book Sapiens was about the deep past of human history, Homo Deus was about our deep future, and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is a reflection on our present; where we are in the today of 2018 and where he sees us up to about the year 2050. Considering categories such as Work, Nationalism, War, and God, Hurari's primary point is that it's all fiction: Liberalism, Capitalism, Religion, National Borders; these are all simply stories that we tell ourselves and the biggest hurdle we are about to face is sleepwalking into a greater interface with “Big Data algorithms” and allowing them to shape our reality; allowing them to provide the new fictions by which we organise our thoughts about how the world works, enriching the few and enslaving the rest. Seemingly out of nowhere, the final chapter in this book is on the benefits of meditation – of recognising that the only reality is the fact of one's own body – and while I have long understood that meditation is an integral part of Harari's writing process, it's primacy here surprised me (not in a bad way, it just pushed the whole premise out of History and into a New Agey category in my mind). If John Lennon sang, “Imagine no possessions, no countries, no religion, too”, what Hurari is saying is, “We need to stop imagining that there are possessions, or countries, or religion”; and that won't be easy for our post-truth species without acknowledging that our brains are constantly creating these fictions. I received an ARC of 21 Lessons, and although I am not actually supposed to quote from it, all I want to do in this review is allow Hurari to speak for himself, so be advised: these passages may not be in their final forms. If somebody describes to you the world of the mid twenty-first century and it sounds like science fiction, it is probably false. But then if somebody describes to you the world of the mid twenty-first century and it doesn't sound like science fiction – it is certainly false. As Hurari begins with, we Sapiens found ourselves in the 20th century being asked to choose between three organising stories – Fascism, Communism, and Liberalism – and after the fall of the Soviet Union, we in the West believed that we had arrived at the “end of history”; that the spread of liberal democracy (even if it was achieved with the threat or fact of violence) was inevitable; we were marching towards one global community with freedom and liberty for all. But we suddenly find ourselves facing the resurgence of strongmen on the other side of the world, and to the liberals' horror, the rise of nationalism/populism in our own countries. From this opening, all of the rest follows: • In 1938 humans were offered three global stories to choose from, in 1968 just two, in 1998 a single story seemed to prevail; in 2018 we are down to zero. No wonder that the liberal elites, who dominated much of the world in recent decades, have entered a state of shock and disorientation. To have one story is the most reassuring situation of all. Everything is perfectly clear. To be suddenly left without any story is terrifying. • Any story that seeks to gain humanity's allegiance will be tested above all in its ability to deal with the twin revolutions in infotech and biotech. If liberalism, nationalism, Islam or some novel creed wishes to shape the world of the year 2050, it will need not only to make sense of artificial intelligence, Big Data algorithms and bioengineering – it will also need to incorporate them into a new meaningful narrative. • Twentieth-century communism assumed that the working class was vital for the economy, and communist thinkers tried to teach the proletariat how to translate its immense economic power into political clout. The communist political plan called for a working-class revolution. How relevant will these teachings be if the masses lose their economic value, and therefore need to struggle against irrelevance rather than against exploitation? How do you start a working-class revolution without a working class? • We are now creating tame humans that produce enormous amounts of data and function as very efficient chips in a huge data-processing mechanism, but these data-cows hardly maximise the human potential. Indeed, we have no idea what the full human potential is, because we know so little about the human mind. And yet we hardly invest much in exploring the human mind, and instead focus on increasing the speed of our Internet connections and the efficiency of our Big Data algorithms. If we are not careful, we will end up with downgraded humans misusing upgraded computers to wreak havoc on themselves and on the world. • Radical Islamists have been influenced by Marx and Foucault as much as by Muhammad, and they inherit the legacy of nineteenth-century European anarchists as much as of the Umayyad and Abbisid caliphs. It is therefore more accurate to see even the Islamic State as an errant offshoot of the global culture we all share, rather than as a branch of some mysterious alien tree. • At present, it is far from clear whether Europe can find a middle path that would enable it to keep its gates open to strangers without being destabilised by people who don't share its values. If Europe succeeds in finding such a path, perhaps its formula could be copied on a global level. If the European project fails, however, it would indicate that belief in the liberal values of freedom and tolerance is not enough to resolve the cultural conflicts of the world and to unite humankind in the face of nuclear war, ecological collapse and technological disruption. If Greeks and Germans cannot agree on a common destiny, and if 500 million affluent Europeans cannot absorb a few million impoverished refugees, what chances do humans have of overcoming the far deeper conflicts that have beset our global civilisation? • When the peasants and workers revolted against the tsar in 1917, they ended up with Stalin; and when you begin to explore the manifold ways the world manipulates you, in the end you realise that your core identity is a complex illusion created by neural networks...In truth, everything you will ever experience in life is within your own body and your own mind. • There is no divine script, and nothing outside me can give meaning to my life. It is I who imbue everything with meaning through my free choices and through my own feelings...In itself, the universe is only a meaningless hodge-podge of atoms. Nothing is beautiful, sexy or sacred – but human feelings make it so. It is only human feelings that make a red apple seductive and a turd disgusting. Take away human feelings, and you are left with a bunch of molecules. Always an interesting thinker, I really enjoy Hurari as a writer. As in his other two books, Hurari is able to find spots in 21 Lessons to promote his most personal causes – gay rights, the immorality of the meat industry, the Agricultural Revolution as the worst thing that ever happened to Sapiens – and for the first time, he is overt about the solution to what ails us as a species: the practise of daily meditation as a way to see past the fictions our minds create; those stories that create all the pain and suffering in the world. I have no doubt that humanity is marching towards a revolution in the ways we live our lives, and while I'm not sure that I agree with everything Hurari writes about here, it was fascinating to see what he had to say about our immediate future.

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