Sapiens is an origin story of our world, starting with the multiple upright species over 2 million years ago and leading up to the point just before humans engineer their own evolution into something else entirely. Unlike most traditional history books, it not only includes major shifts in political, economic, agricultural, and spiritual trends, but also dives into what that meant for people at the micro (psychological and biological) level and how those human experiences compare across the span of 70,000 years. Some of his arguments I disagreed with, particularly his take on modern violence, but overall I enjoyed the content. It reminds me of a more intellectual rendition of one of my favorite books, Ishmael by Daniel Quinn.
“Gender is a race in which some of the runners compete only for the bronze medal.”
“Biology is willing to tolerate a very wide spectrum of possibilities. It’s culture that obliges people to realize some possibilities while forbidding others.”
“A lot of evidence indicates that we are destroying the foundations of human prosperity in an orgy of reckless consumption.”
“So perhaps happiness is synchronizing one’s personal delusions of meaning with the prevailing collective delusions.”