Sunday, October 30, 2016

Homo Deus - Yuval Noah Harari


Sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Book Info: Hardback, Non-Fiction, 440pp

Buy/Read Now! (Links): Amazon UK/Amazon US/Goodreads

Rating: 4/5

Audience: Readers looking ahead to the future and wondering what the world may look like in 100 years. People interested in all aspects of humanity and the science, psychology, technology and politics behind everything we have done, are doing and will do in the future.

Summed up in a few words: Relevant. Unbiased. Necessary.

First Impression: Homo Deus was a book I was really excited to read! The tagline 'A brief history of tomorrow' really intrigued me as I don't really put much thought into my life years down the line. This book is a must read! Not only does Harari talk about the future, he does so in such a wide spectrum of elements and details that I was impressed by how much information I took in. It also helps that he kept the language to an accessible and easy to read level, though there is technicality in some of the areas of the text. When I finished the book I was stuck between two very distinct and conflicting thoughts, the first was that I am comfortable with the steps that we as humans are taking to secure our futures and the other is that I am massively concerned about our future. 

Book Summary/Review

Homo Deus: A Brief History Of Tomorrow is one of many groundbreaking books that are coming out this year that will influence certain non-fiction titles for the next decade or so. I have many of these books on my to-read list but I started with Homo Deus as it seem like a book that would cover all the bases and show me what we as humans are doing to secure our futures on earth and how we plan to do so. Yuval Noah Harari definitely achieves this, though it took a long time to get to sections I really wanted to read. 

Homo Deus started off strong, outlining what we have achieved up until today and where we may take life in the future. It did this from many different perspectives from agriculture, technology, economy, geography and medicine to psychology, politics, sociology, existentialism and science and it was incredibly interesting. 

Unfortunately for some who already have read a lot of books about human history, Harari does typical 'to see where we are going we must go back to the start' section which for me was slightly irritating but if you know very little about our past, our struggles and how we came to be then you will be very pleased with this section. I know that sounds like a complaint but it is really just a warning, because though it has been covered many times before, I felt that Harari did a great job with this section. 

The next section of the book covers how we brought the world to be in the last 2 or 3 centuries and again it has been done before, but Harari has such depth, understanding and control of the subject that I was left thoroughly informed and prepared for the last section, the one I had been waiting for, where are we going!

I was massively impressed with this section, it both made me excited about the future, what technologies, scientific discoveries and biological/medicinal advances we may create or discover. It also scared the hell out of me too, where societies may change, how our life may become automated and where religion may evolve. 

I am not sure whether I enjoyed the subject or the author the most when reading this book. I feel that it is the subject overall as it is uncharted territory for me so to speak, I know I read a lot of science fiction but I have never read a book where someone has sat down and outlined all aspects of our actual humanity and extrapolated them into a realistic vision of our future, please let me know if you have read anything like this before.

In terms of content, it is overwhelming, Harari must do nothing but research as he knows more about humanity than I will ever know, but he is so down to earth and treats readers fairly, not bogging everything down in technicality and jargon but bringing the subject down to a comprehensible and comfortable level. This meant I could read this book without having to look up every other word and pretend I understanding what he is saying instead of actually understanding what he is saying. 

If you want to know what we went through to get to this point, the famine, the war, the disease and hunger. If you want to know what life truly looks like today with social media, algorithms, happiness, religion and art. And if you want a vivid depiction of what are future may or may not become then Homo Deus is the book you want. I was most impressed with how Harari was so unbiased, he treated each viewpoint and opinion with respect and lets the reader make their own mind up of what to make of each scenario. Also there are great stories and case studies to back up his points as well as images to give the insights some context or texture.

Fortunately this is not an 'all is lost' viewpoint on the future of human existence but it is definitely not all peachy and full of promise. Read the book, see what you think and tell me what you thought on Harari's approach to this topic. I found Homo Deus engaging, thought provoking, extremely concerning and delightfully promising as well.

About The Author: Professor Yuval Noah Harari is the author of the international bestseller Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind and Homo Deus: A Brief History Of Tomorrow.

He was born in Haifa, Israel, in 1976. He received his PhD. from the University of Oxford in 2002, and is now a lecturer at the Department of History, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 

He specialised in World History, medieval history and military history. His current research focuses on macro-historical questions: What is the relation between history and biology? What is the essential difference between Homo sapiens and other animals? Is there justice in history? Does history have a direction? Did people become happier as history unfolded? (Official Bio see more about Professor Yuval Noah Harari at his website

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