21 Lessons for the 21st Century

21 Lessons for the 21st Century

In Sapiens, he explored our past. In Homo Deus, he looked to our future. Now, one of the most innovative thinkers on the planet turns to the present to make sense of today's most pressing issues.How do computers and robots change the meaning of being human? How do we deal with the epidemic of fake news? Are nations and religions still relevant? What should we teach our chi...

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Title:21 Lessons for the 21st Century
Author:Yuval Noah Harari
Rating:

21 Lessons for the 21st Century Reviews

  • Anni

    It's Life as we know it, Jim! (But don't ask what it means).

    'A wise old man was asked what he learned about the meaning of life. ‘Well,’ he answered, ‘I have learned that I am here on earth in order to help other people. What I still haven’t figured out is why the other people are here.’

    As Harari explains:

    “We are now living in an age of information explosion … the last thing people need is more information. What they really need is somebody to arrange all of the bits of information into a meani

    It's Life as we know it, Jim! (But don't ask what it means).

    'A wise old man was asked what he learned about the meaning of life. ‘Well,’ he answered, ‘I have learned that I am here on earth in order to help other people. What I still haven’t figured out is why the other people are here.’

    As Harari explains:

    “We are now living in an age of information explosion … the last thing people need is more information. What they really need is somebody to arrange all of the bits of information into a meaningful picture – and this is what I try to do.”

    Following on from Sapiens and Homo Deus, both of which were entertainingly accessible, this investigation of our species has a more personal approach, yet is just as vigorously researched and remarkably impartial.

    There are so many fascinating insights that I wanted to highlight in this book that it is hard to chose examples, and many are frightening to contemplate, such as:

    'Globalisation has certainly benefited large segments of humanity, but there are signs of growing inequality both between and within societies. Some groups increasingly monopolise the fruits of globalisation, while billions are left behind. Already today, the richest 1 per cent owns half the world’s wealth. Even more alarmingly, the richest hundred people together own more than the poorest 4 billion. This could get far worse'.

    However I'm sure that contributors to Goodreads will particularly enjoy the section on the importance of literature, especially for aficionados of SF :-

    “… it is equally important to communicate the latest scientific theories to the general public through popular-science books, and even through the skilful use of art and fiction. Does that mean scientists should start writing science fiction? That is actually not such a bad idea. Art plays a key role in shaping people’s view of the world, and in the twenty-first century science fiction is arguably the most important genre of all, for it shapes how most people understand things like AI, bioengineering and climate change. We certainly need good science, but from a political perspective, a good science-fiction movie is worth far more than an article in Science or Nature.”.

    On the whole, the message Harari imparts is a positive one and he does offer some hope for the survival of our species. At the end of the book he describes his own personal way to discover a ‘firm ethical ground in a world that extends far beyond my horizons, that spins completely out of human control, and that holds all gods and ideologies suspect’

    This is the book I will pass on to my grand daughter when she is of an age to wonder why our world is the way it is. In fact, I think it is essential reading for every human being on this planet.

    Update: Many thanks to the publisher for granting my wish of reading an ARC via Netgalley

  • Jenna

    Has anyone ever asked you which author you would choose to read if you were stranded on a deserted island and could only have one author with you? I could not come up with any one writer until reading Yuval Harari. Now, I would without a doubt choose him. There might only be 3 books he's written so far, and though I've read all 3, I could spend years re-reading them and reflecting on all that is contai

    Has anyone ever asked you which author you would choose to read if you were stranded on a deserted island and could only have one author with you? I could not come up with any one writer until reading Yuval Harari. Now, I would without a doubt choose him. There might only be 3 books he's written so far, and though I've read all 3, I could spend years re-reading them and reflecting on all that is contained within them. I suppose this doesn't really go with the quote above; after all, I'm glad to have answered that question! The quote is one of my favourites in the book and that's why I opened my review with it.

    In

    Mr Harari led us predominately through the history of mankind. In

    he focused on where we are headed as a species. Now in

    he addresses the major issues challenging the world today and what we can perhaps expect in the very near future. Hint: It doesn't all have to be gloom and doom and apocalyptic scenarios. As he wisely says,

    Since we cannot predict how AI and other technologies will change and (hopefully) improve, we cannot say with any certainty what the future will bring. Our world of the 21st century is vastly different to the world 500 years ago, when you could rightly guess that 100 years in the future would be very similar to your present day. Today we are constantly faced with changes, and the number of changes will only increase with each passing year. What should we be doing to prepare for this? How should we be educating our children for this uncertain future? How can we learn who we are before we find algorithms taking over our lives, making it all but impossible to then learn who we are?

    Yuval Harari addresses these questions and many others, including climate change, immigration, religion, technology, politics, terrorism, education, and secular ethics. As in his previous books, Mr Harari discusses many topics and gives us many facts and much material to ponder. This book is more philosophical than the previous two, forcing us to really think about ourselves, our stories, our world, our future. If we are to not only survive as a species but also to create a future that is good for all humankind, we must abandon our strict adherence to previous fictions, such as nationalism and religious myths. We can feel loyalty to our country and we can believe in religion, but only if we recognise that they are fictions, and that other humans have their own and ours is not somehow right whilst all others are wrong. We must not let our own world views make us feel superior to other humans and sentient beings, we must not think their suffering does not matter or matters less than our own. We must come together globally if we are to survive and flourish.

    Let's leave behind our prejudices and tribal mentality that helped our hunter-gather ancestors survive. Our world is not the same as theirs; we are all connected and must work together to solve the problems facing humanity today.

    I recommend this book to anyone who is even remotely interested in any of these topics. As always with Harari's books, I learned so much and was encouraged to think critically about many things. I love his books because of this!

  • Argos

    Harari’nin üçüncü kitabı olan “21. Yüzyıl için 21 Ders”, önceki kitabı Homo Deus’taki ivme kaybının azalıp, ilk kitabı Homo Sapiens’e yaklaştığı bir kitap olmuş. İlk kitabındaki 2 milyon yıllık insanlık tarihi anlatımı ikinci kitabında biraz bilimkurgu niteliğini alarak fütüristik kurgu (fiction) şekline dönmüştü. Bu kitabı yine bilgi yüklü, yine yazarın sözünü esirgemeden düşüncelerini ve sentezlerini net olarak anlattığı bir kitap olmuş.

    Kitabı beğenip beğenmemeniz tamamen baktığınız pencereye

    Harari’nin üçüncü kitabı olan “21. Yüzyıl için 21 Ders”, önceki kitabı Homo Deus’taki ivme kaybının azalıp, ilk kitabı Homo Sapiens’e yaklaştığı bir kitap olmuş. İlk kitabındaki 2 milyon yıllık insanlık tarihi anlatımı ikinci kitabında biraz bilimkurgu niteliğini alarak fütüristik kurgu (fiction) şekline dönmüştü. Bu kitabı yine bilgi yüklü, yine yazarın sözünü esirgemeden düşüncelerini ve sentezlerini net olarak anlattığı bir kitap olmuş.

    Kitabı beğenip beğenmemeniz tamamen baktığınız pencereye bağlı. Eğer sosyalist veya Marksist bir dünya görüşündeyseniz kitabı beğenmeniz çok zor, beğeniden çok eleştiri ağır basacaktır. Milliyetçi-ulusalcı bir kimlikle bakarsanız yine beğeniden çok eleştiri oklarını yönlendirisiniz. Dindar biriyseniz ve muhafazakar dünya görüşüne sahipseniz çok rahatsız edici bulmanız neredeyse kesin. Anarşizmi savunuyorsanız kitabı külliyen reddedersiniz. Yazar zaten kendisini liberal olarak tanımlıyor, liberal ekonomiyi, çevreciliği, LGBT haklarını savunan, ateist, laik, düşünce ve fikir özgürlüğünün ateşli taraftarı, sosyal devlet ve demokrasinin yanında yer alan, otokrat yönetimlere düşman olan bir düşünce insanı.

    Kitabın ilk birkaç bölümü Homo Deus’un özeti ve tekrarı niteliğinde. Bu bölümlerde sanırım çeviri politikası gerekliliğinden dolayı verilen isimler (sanatçı, şarkı vb) Türkçe örnekler üzerinden verilmiş, bence çok sırıtıyor. Keza sanırım Türkiye’deki mevcut yönetime yönelik eleştirileri elekten geçirilmiş, orijinali ile karşılaştırmakta yarar var.

    “Laiklik” ve “hakikat sonrası” (posttruth) bölümleri çok iyi toparlanmış. Son bölüm ilgilenenlere ait “meditasyon” bölümü, isterseniz okumazsınız. Bu tür kitapları çok yararlı buluyorum, size hap şeklinde komprime bilgi ve geniş kaynak havuzu sunuyor. Farklı bakış açısı ile düşünmenize imkan sağlıyor.

    Önyargısız, sizi etkilemesinden korkmadan okumanız halinde beğeneceğinizden eminim.

  • Atila Iamarino

    Harari sendo Harari. Mais um daqueles livros que mudou a minha perspectiva em uma série de fatores. Da sociedade japonesa ao movimento político atual. O livro pula bastante da discussão sobre super-humanos tocando o mundo do futuro, o que achei ótimo, já que é algo que ele discute bastante em Homo Deus.

    Em 2016, li o

    , do Castells, que fala sobre como vários países estão passando por um movimento de descrédito da política, um misto

    Harari sendo Harari. Mais um daqueles livros que mudou a minha perspectiva em uma série de fatores. Da sociedade japonesa ao movimento político atual. O livro pula bastante da discussão sobre super-humanos tocando o mundo do futuro, o que achei ótimo, já que é algo que ele discute bastante em Homo Deus.

    Em 2016, li o

    , do Castells, que fala sobre como vários países estão passando por um movimento de descrédito da política, um misto de decepção com os políticos e desapontamento quando percebemos que as promessas não serão cumpridas. Harari dá um contexto e uma perspectiva para isso, quando discute como estamos chegando em um ponto onde não há uma grande mensagem política que unifique as pessoas e a ansiedade que vem dessa falta de missão.

    Recomendo para qualquer um vivo no Século XXI. Harari tem um desapego e uma cultura que se combinam muito bem para uma descrição da humanidade sem julgamentos. Aqui discute uma série de problemas e transições que estamos enfrentando. Sinto que é um livro que vou ter que reler várias vezes, para tirar insights sobre o que estou (e o mundo está) passando no momento. Atualmente, para mim, a maior lição foi política. Mas garanto que tem uma outra lição para cada um.

  • Anton

    As always, masterful and exquisite non-fiction writing as we come to expect from Mr Harari. Delightful, wise and very perceptive. This book can be seen as an expansion and a companion to

    . The attention of this volume is focused on the Present as opposed to Past or the Future. Some parts will make you feel inspired, others will sow a despair. But it is a relevant and useful book that will give you a plenty to chew on.

    Strongly recommended

  • ||Swaroop||

    "Change is the only constant."

    This book has been an

    The psyche of Homo sapiens...

    21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari is all about perspective on what's happening right now and clarity about the greatest challenges and important choices. This book covers a wide range of topics, from Disillusionment, War, Politics to Meditation.

    "Change is the only constant."

    This book has been an

    The psyche of Homo sapiens...

    21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari is all about perspective on what's happening right now and clarity about the greatest challenges and important choices. This book covers a wide range of topics, from Disillusionment, War, Politics to Meditation.

    These

    don't exactly provide answers for the challenges, but are more focused on helping us think, research further and be prepared for the "change".

    Even though, overall, the book focuses on the important social, economic and political challenges, the content is much deeper and stimulating.

  • Maria Ferreira

    Preâmbulo

    As lições que se apresentam neste livro, advém de conversas que o professor Youval Noah Harari teve com várias pessoas: alunos, leitores, investigadores, políticos, etc. A lente que aqui se apresenta não é a de um microscópio, mas sim a lente dos óculos do professor.

    Este espírito não o tive na minha primeira abordagem ao livro, e talvez por isso o tenha afastado inicialmente por discordar do discurso de Harari .

    Preâmbulo

    As lições que se apresentam neste livro, advém de conversas que o professor Youval Noah Harari teve com várias pessoas: alunos, leitores, investigadores, políticos, etc. A lente que aqui se apresenta não é a de um microscópio, mas sim a lente dos óculos do professor.

    Este espírito não o tive na minha primeira abordagem ao livro, e talvez por isso o tenha afastado inicialmente por discordar do discurso de Harari .

    Ora, é precisamente nesta primeira parte que discordei em algumas das opiniões, que, diga-se: Harari já as tinha dissecado no livro Homo Deus, e que foi alvo de crítica por parte de cientista da área da computação e da área da biologia, embora tenha mudado um pouco o discurso, continua a bater na tecla do filme de ficção cientifica, os robots são “Os vilões”, e a humanidade a vitima.

    Nesta primeira parte, o foco é a biotecnologia e as tecnologias de informação, mas tanto a primeira como a segunda estão em processo de gestação, vemos algumas transformações, poucas, mas nada nos indica, e Harari também não conseguiu explicar: Como é que os Robots irão mandar no mundo, ou como é que os algoritmos irão controlar a mente humana. Profecias há por aí muitas, mas explicar cabalmente de forma lógica ainda ninguém o fez. Pedro Domingues, especialista em aprendizagem automática, explica no livro “ A Revolução do Algoritmo Mestre - Como a Aprendizagem Automática Está a Mudar o Mundo”, que estamos no encalce do algoritmo que conseguirá, conscientemente, se “re-auto-ensinar” (palavra minha, apenas para explicar o objetivo final do algoritmo mestre), mas ainda temos um longo caminho a percorrer até ao veredito final.

    Ora, se os especialistas ainda não encontraram a solução e poderão demorar dezenas, milhares ou nunca conseguir tal proeza, saberá alguém afirmar com garantias que os algoritmos irão dizimar o homo sapiens? Chega de divulgar aquilo que é o discurso do medo.

    A verdade é que ninguém sabe o dia de amanhã. No passado, não muito distante, milhões de pessoas trabalham na agricultura e morria-se à fome, hoje são poucos que trabalham a agricultura e ninguém morre de fome (refiro-me essencialmente ao Ocidente). É claro que centenas de profissões irão desparecer, mas isto não é nada novo, sempre foi assim. Há 20 anos quantos informáticos existiam? E hoje? Morreram os agricultores nasceram os informáticos que lhes sucederam e é assim ao longo de milénios, e assim irá continuar.

    Concordo em absoluto, Harari detém uma grande capacidade de análise, para além de um vasto conhecimento dos problemas que afectam o globo terrestre, os princípios nacionalistas, os regimes comunistas, o pavor que o ser humano ainda enfrenta sobre o desconhecido, apesar das inúmeras descobertas científicas que tentam explicar alguns fenómenos. É curioso que sendo judeu não se deixou levar pelo fervor judaísta, fala sobre as religiões com grande pragmatismo expondo o que cada uma delas tem de bom e o que tem de mau.

    Como o atentado de 11 de setembro de 2001 abalou o mundo, que impôs um medo exacerbado nas cabeças dos humanos, o medo do terrorismo, que na prática mata muito menos que os problemas de saúde no aparelho respiratório que a industrialização provoca.

    Há um aproveitamento político mundial, sobre o medo que os cidadãos sentem do terrorismo, que os instiga ao ódio e à raiva, legitimando as invasões que os aliados lançam sobre os países ricos em recursos naturais.

    Esta parte é igualmente interessante, como podem ver pelos títulos das lições. As dicotomias: verdade/mentira, justiça/injustiça, real/fictício, responde-se apenas com o primeiro título Ignorância: sabemos menos do que julgamos. A verdade anda de mãos dadas com a mentira, há que ser prudente ao abraçar doutrinas. Concordo com as palavras de Youval, contudo, acrescentaria mais uma lição, emocional/racional. creio que temos tendência a julgar o mundo, ora pelo lado emocional, ora pelo lado racional, mas há alturas que nenhuma nos serve.

    A educação, fala-se tanto sobre ela, umas vezes bem (poucas) outras vezes mal, mas o que é certo é que todos falam sobre ela, todos têm grandes ideias, todos sabem exactamente o que deve ser feito, todos têm opiniões, conselhos e orientações para dar.

    Quando na verdade, nem mesmo os membros das comunidades escolares compreendem bem a complexidade da instituição, nem tão pouco percebem afinal o que é que a sociedade pretende. Quando os inputs vêm de tanto lado, e a maioria desses inputs estão desgarrados de qualquer contexto, apenas origina incompreensão.

  • Mehrsa

    I've read all of Harari's books and I really like him as a thinker and a writer. This book is wonderful in the way all his books are wonderful and is flawed in the way the rest are. It is an act of bold ambition and also hubris to write a history of the world, answer the meaning of life, and to propose a path toward the 22nd Century. He certainly does not do all of that, but the act of trying is a lot of fun to read. A lot of his predictions for the future sound like fantasy and science fiction,

    I've read all of Harari's books and I really like him as a thinker and a writer. This book is wonderful in the way all his books are wonderful and is flawed in the way the rest are. It is an act of bold ambition and also hubris to write a history of the world, answer the meaning of life, and to propose a path toward the 22nd Century. He certainly does not do all of that, but the act of trying is a lot of fun to read. A lot of his predictions for the future sound like fantasy and science fiction, but as he readily admits, anyone who tries to imagine the future without sounding like a sci fi writer is certainly wrong. That's fine, but some of the predictions did seem to me to be pretty far fetched.

    The biggest strength of the book is the breadth and depth he uses to articulate the problem. The book's fundamental weakness then is that his solution (meditation) does not even come close to being a satisfying result. He sounds pretty nihilistic at the end as he dismantles every single "meaning of life" story. That is fine and maybe he really wants us to stop pretending that there is one. But if the book is going to be about lessons (plural) for a whole century, I would have liked to see some more lessons. Perhaps reducing suffering or increasing compassion? I mean, I refuse to consider a world that will be controlled by robot overloads in which the only way to survive is to count our breaths.

  • David Wineberg

    Society 101

    Yuval Harari is well known for his books Sapiens and Homo Deus. He has decided to squander his reputation on a book called 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. The basic problem is that every chapter is the subject of whole shelves of books, and putting them all in one book cannot possibly do them justice. What we have left is a set of 21 editorials, which might inform the totally uninformed, but provide little insight and no solutions. As “lessons” they are unhelpful.

    He has conveniently

    Society 101

    Yuval Harari is well known for his books Sapiens and Homo Deus. He has decided to squander his reputation on a book called 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. The basic problem is that every chapter is the subject of whole shelves of books, and putting them all in one book cannot possibly do them justice. What we have left is a set of 21 editorials, which might inform the totally uninformed, but provide little insight and no solutions. As “lessons” they are unhelpful.

    He has conveniently distilled all the threats to mankind into three: nuclear war, climate change and technological/biological disruption. But only technological/biological gets examined. You’re on your own for climate change and nuclear war, which apparently don’t rate high enough for “lessons”.

    Despite those three most important threats, the most common theme throughout the book is criticism of religion, mostly Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, though Buddhism and Hinduism come under attack as well. Looking back from the perspective of the universe, Harari condemns all religions as pompous, pretentious, full of contradictions, and terrifically negative forces.

    In his chapter on Immigration, Harari boils down the entire complex situation to three superficial “debates”:

    -The receiving country must be willing

    -Immigrants must be willing to adopt “at least the core norms and values” of the new country

    -If immigrants assimilate, they become “us” rather than “them” and must be treated as first class citizens.

    Simple, inaccurate and totally missing the real issues.

    In his chapter on terrorism, Harari completely misses the point that the state has a monopoly on violence. Anyone who challenges that monopoly must be put down, no matter how many civil rights and freedoms are trampled in the process. He spends pages explaining how few people are killed by terrorists compared to traffic, war and disease. So why are we so afraid of terrorists, he asks. (Because the state wants us to be, Mr. Harari.)

    In the chapter on war, he comes to the magical conclusion that we’ve pretty much done away with it. So far, the only new war we’ve seen this century is Russia taking parts of Ukraine. He says countries see too much risk in starting new wars. He completely ignores (not for the first or last time), the effects of climate change, which will result in unprecedented and massive wars as countries face unstoppable waves of immigrants seeking water and land, as countries disappear from the face of the earth, and as those that have will defend it to the death against all comers, foreign and domestic.

    The final chapter is on meditation. Meditation is Harari’s solution to pretty much everything, because you can focus on what is real – what is going on in your body right then and there. He says he does this two hours a day, plus one or two months a year.

    If I had to summarize 21 Lesson for the 21st Century, I would say: throw off the false faiths of institutional religions and meditate instead. Not quite what I expected, and not much help in navigating the 21st century.

    David Wineberg

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