I am looking for a high-quality book summary of the book "Sapiens" by Yuval Noah Harari. What's the best summary available? I'm looking for something that summarizes each chapter in order. 30 pages would be ideal, but 10 (or even less) to 50 pages could work. To be clear, I don't want any analysis or opinion... just a summary.
Hello and thanks for requesting a high-quality book summary of "Sapiens" by Yuval Noah Harari. The most helpful resources I found were in-depth reviews by the blog Less Wrong and Blinkist. I searched for summaries by those who are considered experts in their field; that is, the fields of literary criticism and literature review. I also engaged a little bit with how the writer himself defines the book. In the report that follows I have provided a list of substantive summaries conducted by credible writers. These summaries collectively total somewhere in the ballpark of 50 (possibly more) pages. I didn't find exact chapter-by-chapter breakdowns, but I did however find one summary that offers a "section-by-section" breakdown of the work and a summary by Blinkist that is broken up in chapter-form. Below you will find these and more resources.
SAPIENS BY YUVAL NOAH HARARI
Harari describes the book on his website as a retelling of our species' collective history from an entirely new perspective. "It explains that money is the most pluralistic system of mutual trust ever devised; that capitalism is the most successful religion ever invented; that the treatment of animals in modern agriculture is probably the worst crime in history; and that even though we are far more powerful than our ancient ancestors, we aren’t much happier."
According to a literature blog run by James Clear, a three sentence summary of "Sapiens" is "Human history has been shaped by three major revolutions: the Cognitive Revolution (70,000 years ago), the Agricultural Revolution (10,000 years ago), and the Scientific Revolution (500 years ago). These revolutions have empowered humans to do something no other form of life has done, which is to create and connect around ideas that do not physically exist (think religion, capitalism, and politics). These shared “myths” have enabled humans to take over the globe and have put humankind on the verge of overcoming the forces of natural selection."
Those three major revolutions map out the book from a stylistic point-of-view, in that it is broken up into three sections which target each epoch. The book begins by placing these three revolutions in their historical context. The section for the Cognitive Revolution, which began roughly 70,000 years ago, deals with the instance of "the ability of Sapiens language (and brains) to communicate about fictions." It is also attributed to the ability of Sapiens to collaborate and communicate in a societal function.
The Agricultural Revolution, which began about 12,000 years ago, is responsible for "collectives trading off individual satisfaction for collective power time and again. Since collective power is what determines survival of a culture, we are left with an immensely strong culture that holds the entire world in its grasp--but, to the individual people living in it, may not actually be any more satisfying than life as a nomad." Harari expands this section to include what happens when agriculture is consolidated into corporations and collective entities and paints a dark picture of the factory farming effect and the results of animal domestication.
Harari identifies the Scientific Revolution, which began only 500 years ago, as "a feedback loop between research, power, and resources that led to runaway growth. But 'research' is as old as the cognitive revolution, in the sense that there have always been scholars of one form or another. The three differences underlying the Scientific Revolution were the willingness to admit ignorance, the centrality of observation and mathematics, and the acquisition of new powers."
A LIST OF IN-DEPTH SUMMARIES
James Clear provides a bulleted, easy-to-follow summary on his blog that features quotes, passages, and key takeaways as well.
Less Wrong provides a section-by-section summary of the book that also features a short review at the end.
A user from GitHub shared a very long, substantive summary of the book also in bulleted form.
Perhaps the best summary, though, is the one offered by Blinkist, which offers a very clear and easy-to-follow summary of the book in chapter form.
In the research brief above, I have provided you with a short summary of the book "Sapiens" by Yuval Noah Harari as well as a list of 4 in-depth summaries from various sources that cover the book in its entirety.
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