Sapiens — Danish Prakash


Thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book. I know this book has been excoriated heavily in certain anthropological and biological circles for not being outright wrong but for not being factually completely correct. And that’s fine by me, I guess. The book starts off with the earliest of human history, naturally then talks about evolution. It then touches upon the most important topics in human history hitherto. Namely, money, religion, the agricultural and industrial revolution, and the like. It throws some light on why things are the way they are, and could things have been different? Sprinkled in the midst of all the history are some trivia and thought-provoking pieces that make you pause and think. Things like the provenance of the most mundane of things that we usually take for granted, for instance, the invention of credit or the history behind New York, or even capitalism.

The final half of the book was extremely “disturbing”. I’m tempted to use that word because, although the topics being discussed were not novel, the inferences drawn were contemplative. For instance, the fact that the creationists had always talked about the presence of an intelligent designer. Here, the biologists were right about the past but ironically, the creationists might just be right about the future because humans are now actively trying to create living organisms out of thin air. And that is plain scary.

Recently, at work, a discussion about this book came up and I remember it being said that people’s opinion of life has fundamentally changed after they’ve read this book. To be completely honest, something like that didn’t happen to me, I would (personally)attribute that award to The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, but that isn’t to say I didn’t learn anything from this book, there were lots of insights and nihilism would be the last thing to come to my mind if at all it does.

I’d highly recommend this book to anybody reading this. Fun read.