Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind is generally well-loved by readers. In my own circle of friends, those who have read the book absolutely love it. Whereas other people would find this as an encouraging sign to read the book, I delayed reading it—what if I didn’t like the book? Well, I had to deal with it. (I was supposed to be on a book buying ban, so I had to read the unread books on my shelf before purchasing new ones.)

The first thing I noticed was that the book lacked an introduction. When it comes to nonfiction (bar memoirs), I don’t care for spoilers; I’d like to know the gist of the book up front. That way, I’d know if I want to invest more time in the book or not. I felt uncomfortable reading because I wasn’t sure what point Harari wanted to drive home, so I felt I was reading a research paper blindly.

Other than that, I had a pleasant time reading Sapiens. Some parts of the book felt like throwbacks to my grade school and high school classes—finally, all of the terms I’d memorized back then made sense to me. I am glad I read Sapiens now because I developed a stronger appreciation for the things I learned in school, albeit through memorization.

Perhaps the most memorable section for me was the one on empires. Admittedly, we wouldn’t be where we are today if the Europeans hadn’t set out to explore (and exploit) new territories—for God, gold, and glory, I remember from school. But the path to today was not one of roses, and it’s chilling to think about the violence and deceit that happened throughout history, ending on a global scale only as recently as 75 years ago.

I’m glad I read a physical copy of the book. Although I’m not used to reading off glossy-ish white paper, I enjoyed looking at the photo exhibits, which I wouldn’t have been able to properly view on my kindle. It took me two weeks to read the book—pretty good time considering it was nonfiction—and if I hadn’t made it clear already, it was a good read. I don’t have strong opinions about it, but I did appreciate Harari’s efforts in keeping readers engaged in the book.

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