21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari
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Published on 30 August 2018
I received a complimentary copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
For those of you wondering why I am posting on a Monday rather than my usual Tuesdays, I just happen to be travelling for the next couple of weeks and Mondays will be a bit easier for me to post, but from mid-september I will be back to my old schedule!
So, here I am back again with another non-fiction book! (and if it’s not your style I promise you it is the last one for a good while so make sure to come back next week!)
Yuval Noah Harari is an Israeli historian and tenured professor in the Department of History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is also everything that I aspire to be but am too weak-willed to achieve: an incredibly researched individual who practises meditation for two hours every day, is vegan and stays away from social media (I mean, he doesn’t even own a smartphone anymore).
21 Lessons for the 21st Century takes a deep look at the current world and where it’s headed. Whereas in his previous works (namely Sapiens and Homo Deus) Harari mainly focused on the past and future of humankind, this new book is rather geared towards the present. It explores various domains: the advance of technology, the pros and cons of different political regimes, the rises of terrorism and immigration, and even topics such as religions and science-fiction. The extent of his knowledge on all these various topics is mind-blowing and it all makes so much sense when someone takes the time to explain! He is obviously very knowledgeable in matters of history, science and politics, but also social sciences: how humans work both inwardly and with each other.
This book made me feel very clever at times (when I could relate to a topic) or very stupid (when reading about things I don’t know much about) and just generally woke. It’s also made me feel a balance of emotions: from despair (questioning the point of carrying on when the world is headed towards some dark places) to hope and feeling inspired that humans can find their peace and adapt to the changes to come and just try and have an enjoyable ride while they’re here.
It is an essential read for everyone but mainly for the younger generations, the ones facing an uncertain future, at least to act as a forewarning that maybe we should start thinking about the world differently and be ready to adapt to whatever comes. However I will admit that the book is a lot to take in so it might be worth taking your time reading it (and not cramming it into your brain in under a week, like I tend to do) in order to better absorb all of the information. Or just read it a few times.
It is an unconventional read and very far from my comfort zone, even in terms of non-fiction, but as someone who takes interest in the direction of the world and how to make it a better place, I really enjoyed it.