21 Lessons for the 21st Century - Yuval Noah Harari
October 25, 2020
Goodreads Book Blurb:
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 children?
Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is a probing and visionary investigation into today’s most urgent issues as we move into the uncharted territory of the future. As technology advances faster than our understanding of it, hacking becomes a tactic of war, and the world feels more polarized than ever, Harari addresses the challenge of navigating life in the face of constant and disorienting change and raises the important questions we need to ask ourselves in order to survive.
In twenty-one accessible chapters that are both provocative and profound, Harari builds on the ideas explored in his previous books, untangling political, technological, social, and existential issues and offering advice on how to prepare for a very different future from the world we now live in: How can we retain freedom of choice when Big Data is watching us? What will the future workforce look like, and how should we ready ourselves for it? How should we deal with the threat of terrorism? Why is liberal democracy in crisis?
Harari’s unique ability to make sense of where we have come from and where we are going has captured the imaginations of millions of readers. Here he invites us to consider values, meaning, and personal engagement in a world full of noise and uncertainty. When we are deluged with irrelevant information, clarity is power. Presenting complex contemporary challenges clearly and accessibly, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is essential reading.
It takes a lot of courage to fight biases and oppressive regimes, but it takes even greater courage to admit ignorance and venture into the unknown.
Tackling this book certainly felt like venturing into the unknown, but I wish I had not had the courage. I had to push through glazed eyes, yawns, eye rolls, and spontaneous naps to make it to the end.
Yuval Noah Harari seems to tell long, repetitive stories with condescending moral endings. I found each chapter to be an incredibly simplistic point with filler nonsense rambling until the word quota was met. I swear he told the same story 21 times with barely distinguishable differences.
I honestly cannot say I gained any knowledge from these lessons and I don’t think I’m the target demographic for his storytelling. I did have high hopes for this book – I’ve heard the author speak, and I find him incredibly interesting and knowledgeable – I just don’t identify with his writing and making it to the end felt like serious work. I’ve never been so excited to find out that the footnotes started just over 80% through on my kindle, and I didn’t have to read any further.