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Has anyone read Sapiens?


I'm smart and stuff.
Dec 7, 2014
What are your thoughts on the book? A lot of the students on campus seem to reading this book lately, so I was wondering if anyone on this forum has as well. Did you like it? Knowing that a lot of us already know a lot of materials related to evolutionary psychology, religion and philosophy, did you think it was a nice amalgamation of the all the topics? I was really reminded of The Social Conquest of Earth when reading Sapiens (the former I think which does a better job at explaining human history) and really wondered why this book became an international seller while the former did not. Also if anyone's read his second book, Homo Deus, how was it?
Jan 1, 2009
Only like 150 pages in. I don't go to bookshops much anymore, but I so happened to be browsing quite a few of them recently and saw this book everywhere, so I picked it up thinking it would be something like a summary of what humans probably was and had been doing throughout human history, according to what bits and pieces of knowledge we've gathered. I didn't see the other book you mentioned, so I assume it wasn't everywhere when it was being sold. Why this difference probably depends on publisher, popularity of the author, trends and so on.

So far it seems to be more about explaining values, society and so on, and less about ancient humans. (Then again, only 150 pages in) And it's obviously biased to his opinion. I could tell he was vegan/ vegetarian based on what he wrote over the course of half a page, for instance. He doesn't advocate it directly, but you can tell when he talks about animal treatment throughout human history etc, he is writing in a way that counters typical arguments made against veganism, and you can tell he is considering husbandry animals as beings capable of suffering by the way he writes, he can "feel" it. Maybe that sounds a bit basic, but I've found even with people who have a lot of sympathy regarding animals in general, they kind of "shut off" empathetically when thinking about cows or sheep being killed or suffer. Going on a bit off too much tangent.

He does something similar with homosexuality, but of course I can't tell whether he's just for their rights, or if he is homosexual. At the very least he is the former.

Not that I consider writing that way an inherent bad thing, I think it's positive several types of opinions and perspectives are presented to people, but I think this book should be read more like a type of perspective, rather than 100% factual truth. (Which might be obvious to everyone who knew about this book where I had no idea what it was going to be about).

Oh, I guess by now some of you might think that I addressed that because I disagree with his opinion on veganism and homosexuality, but I'm not saying whether I agree or not, or to what degree, only that he has opinions on some types of things (wow, really, opinions?) where others would have other opinions. They aren't always facts to the degree some would think they are, considering this book is centered around facts about humans. I mean if you are talking about facts, and sprinkle some opinions on them, for some it's going to be difficult to separate those. I guess most of us probably mistake those two occasionally? I guess I kinda realized how simple it could be to present your opinions as facts and final truths, if you weave them into actual facts.

So I guess I probably started reading it out of erroneous assumptions. I think this type of book might be more entertaining to late teens and early 20 year olds. Or people who never gave any thought to why we have the value systems we have and so on. He also kinda speaks "down" ("provoked yet, m8??") to you on a few occasions, and I guess how he writes is supposed to have a simple enough flow so that most will keep being engaged.

Are you a student or lecturer? It might be worth borrowing from the library just to have a reference point in terms of what others are enjoying or thinking about it. If you know a lot of people who read it. Since you're familiar with most of the issues he addresses, it will probably be mostly a light read.

I've actually not learned that much about human history yet, other than we apparently seem to know next to nothing about it.

I might change my opinion after reading it further, however.