JANUARY BOOK REVIEW CONTEST | Sapiens. From animals to gods

in Hive Book Clublast month


Grateful to @cleydimar2000 for making me participate in the Hive Book Club Community, today I join their initiative JANUARY BOOK REVIEW CONTEST. It is a pleasure for me to enter for the first time in this community, and even more, to do it in this way, sharing with you the review of one of my favorite books and that at the time, generated a great debate between my work colleagues and me.

Working for years as a teacher of Biology and Natural Sciences, I became very interested in reading about these areas, reading books such as The Origin of Species - Charles Darwin, The Revenge of the Earth - James Lovelock, The Sixth Extinction - Elizabeth Kolbert, A Brief History of Almost Everything - Bill Bryson, among many others. However, there is one that stands out and is the one I will refer to, Sapiens. From Animals to Gods, written by Harari Yuval Noah, published in 2011, a non-fiction book recognized as the book of the year, international bestseller with more than ten million copies sold. Number 1 on the list of The New York Times. Recommended by Barack Obama, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. Sapiens, is a book that has given much of itself and has had a great media impact and transcendental because it has dared to reflect on human evolution and its consequences.

Agradecido con @cleydimar2000 por hacerme participe de Hive Book Club Community , hoy me sumo a su iniciativa JANUARY BOOK REVIEW CONTEST. Es un placer para mí, incursionar por primera vez en esta comunidad, y más aún, hacerlo de esta manera, compartiendo con ustedes la reseña de uno de mis libros favoritos y que en su momento, genero un gran debate entre mis colegas de trabajo y yo.

Al trabajar durante años como docente de Biología y Ciencias Naturales, me interesé mucho por la lectura referida a estas áreas, leyendo libros como El Origen de las Especies - Charles Darwin, La Venganza de la Tierra - James Lovelock, La Sexta Extincion - Elizabeth Kolbert, Una breve historia de casi todo - Bill Bryson, entre muchas otras. Sin embargo, hay una que destaca y es a la que haré referencia, Sapiens. De animales a dioses, escrita por Harari Yuval Noah, publicado en el año 2011, un libro de no ficción reconocido como el libro del año, Bestseller internacional con más de diez millones de ejemplares vendidos. Número 1 en la lista de The New York Times. Recomendado por Barack Obama, Bill Gates y Mark Zuckerberg. Sapiens, es un libro que ha dado mucho de sí y que ha tenido una gran repercusión mediática y trascendental porque se ha atrevido a reflexionar sobre la evolución humana y sus consecuencias.


Sapiens. From animals to gods, is an interesting book of history and philosophy that tells us about humanity, from its beginnings with the appearance of the most evolved species and the consequences that this has led to over time. The author indicates each of what, according to him, have been the most important revolutions in the chronology of homosapiens approximately one hundred thousand years ago. We are talking about the cognitive revolution, the agricultural revolution and the scientific revolution.

Yuval Noah Harari argues that the beliefs on which our status quo is based are based on imaginary premises, that is, they are not real or at least they are not based on something real that we need to survive. We talk about mythologies, legends and fantasies, and how these may have transcended to, for example, form a religion. This is the basic idea behind collaboration between individuals of the same species, if we can narrate and tell each other stories that we all believe, then we can pool life forms and be flexible when it comes to defending ourselves, attacking and surviving. Only this species on the planet has been able to reach this state of consciousness or intelligence, which is very curious, we are the only species able to trade, socialize and change beliefs, things that otherwise or in another species, would only be possible over millennia with genetic changes.

When you read this book you can get an idea of the incredible and transcendental reflections that these approaches entail. According to Harari, most of our psychology as we know it today, had already developed about 10,000 years ago with the agricultural revolution, at the same time, around that period we were already the predominant species on the planet and we were only different or making distinctions between us, through culture.

Harari believes that the lack of general culture about prehistoric and historical beliefs and religions is one of the biggest problems in understanding human evolution. It is also surprising to know that the age of agriculture arrived on the planet almost contemporaneously in each of the populated points of the earth, and moreover it did so without apparent connections between them. And it is also surprising to know that agriculture began to make the life of homosapiens more difficult, at the same time that they were beginning to move out of their more instinctive ideals. In other words, homosapiens used to hunt and gather, and after the agricultural revolution they had to work in order to feed themselves and survive.

This undoubtedly allowed the first proto-cities or first civilizations to be very successful and the population began to grow exponentially, and this is probably a key point in which the dependence on an idea for survival is created for the first time, making it more and more complex and more sophisticated, thinking about things like the future, the rains, the crops, the need to believe in a superior being that could help them to survive, and the need to believe in a superior being that could help them to survive, and the need to believe in a superior being that could help them to survive, need to believe in a superior being to help them understand the weather or circumstances. Thus, it can be said that the religious revolution came hand in hand with the discovery of agriculture.

At this point in the book, there is much talk of polytheism, of its rejection in the evolution of monotheism, when the reality is that objectively it is not very different to pray to an apostle or a farmer saint, than to a rain god. The book explores the reason for the paradigms of our life, and compares and evaluates them from biology, the belief system, forms of government, ways of driving the economy, and also talks about the invention of money in more detail.

In short, it is a very interesting book, at the same time, very daring and very controversial, since, without attacking directly, it questions absolutely all the current status quo. After all the historical essay, Harari talks about the future, about bioengineering and nanotechnology, fields where experimentation is very recent and very transcendent, and where perhaps we are at the gates of the power of the gods. One of the sentences that struck me most in the book is the following:

Is there anything more dangerous than dissatisfied and irresponsible gods who do not know what they want?

Something important you should know is that Sapiens is a book that has 496 pages, with approximately 35 lines per page and 10 words per line, that is a total of 172,550 words, which with the average reader's usual average of 200 to 250 words per minute, it would take you a total of 11 and a half hours of your time to read the whole book.

Sapiens. De animales a dioses, se trata de un interesante libro de historia y filosofía que nos habla de la humanidad, desde sus albores con la aparición de la especie más evolucionada y las consecuencias a las que esto ha ido llevando con el paso del tiempo. El autor nos indica cada una de las que, según él, han sido las revoluciones más importantes en la cronología de homosapiens aproximadamente desde hace cien mil años. Hablamos de la revolución cognitiva, la revolución agrícola y la revolución científica.

Yuval Noah Harari defiende que las creencias sobre las que se basa nuestro status quo, parten de premisas imaginarias, es decir, que no son reales o por lo menos no se fundamentan en algo real que necesitemos para subsistir. Hablamos de mitologías, leyendas y fantasías, y de cómo éstas pueden haber trascendido hasta, por ejemplo, conformar una religión. Esta es la idea básica detrás de la colaboración entre individuos de la misma especie, si podemos narrarnos y contarnos historias que todos creemos, entonces podemos poner en común formas de vida y ser flexibles a la hora de defendernos, de atacar y de sobrevivir. Solo esta especie en el planeta ha sido capaz de llegar a este estado de conciencia o inteligencia, lo que no deja de ser muy curioso, somos la única especie capaz de comerciar, socializar y cambiar de creencias, cosas que de otra manera o en otra especie, sólo sería posible a través de milenios con los cambios genéticos.

Cuando lees este libro te puedes hacer una idea de las increíbles y trascendentales reflexiones que conllevan estos planteamientos. Según Harari, la mayor parte de nuestra psicología como la conocemos hoy, ya se había desarrollado hace unos 10.000 años con la revolución agrícola, a la vez, sobre ese periodo ya éramos la especie predominante en el planeta y tan sólo éramos diferentes o hacíamos distinciones entre nosotros, a través de la cultura.

Harari cree que la falta de cultura general sobre las creencias y religiones prehistóricas e históricas, es uno de los mayores problemas de comprensión de la evolución humana. También es sorprendente saber, que la era de la agricultura llegó al planeta de forma casi contemporánea en cada uno de los puntos poblados de la tierra, y además lo hizo sin aparentes conexiones entre ellos. Y también es sorprendente saber que la agricultura empezó a hacer la vida de los homosapiens más difícil, a la vez que empezaban a salir de sus ideales más instintivos. En otras palabras, los homosapiens antes cazaban y recolectaban, y después de la revolución agrícola tenían que trabajar para poder alimentarse y sobrevivir.

Esto sin duda, permitió que las primeras proto ciudades o primeras civilizaciones, tuvieran mucho éxito y la población empezará a crecer de forma exponencial, y este probablemente es un punto clave en el que se crea por primera vez la dependencia de una idea para sobrevivir, haciéndola cada vez más compleja y más sofisticada, pensando en cosas como el futuro, las lluvias, las cosechas, la necesidad de creer en un ser superior que les ayudase a entender el clima o las circunstancias. Así pues, se puede decir que la revolución religiosa vino de la mano del descubrimiento de la agricultura.

En este punto del libro, se habla mucho del politeísmo, de su rechazo en la evolución del monoteísmo, cuando la realidad es que objetivamente no es muy distinto rezar a un apóstol o a un santo de los granjeros, que a un dios de la lluvia. El libro explora el porqué de los paradigmas de nuestra vida, y los coteja y los valora desde la biología, el sistema de creencias, formas de gobierno, formas de impulsar la economía, y habla también del invento del dinero en más detalles.

En definitiva es un libro muy interesante, a la vez, que muy atrevido y muy controvertido, ya que, sin atacar directamente pone en tela de juicio absolutamente todo el status quo actual. Después de todo el ensayo histórico, Harari habla del futuro, de la bioingeniería y de la nanotecnología, campos donde la experimentación es muy reciente y muy trascendente, y donde quizás, estemos a las puertas del poder de los dioses. Una de las frases que más me ha impactado del libro es la siguiente:

¿Hay algo más peligroso que dioses insatisfechos e irresponsables que no saben lo que quieren?

Algo importante que debes saber, es que, Sapiens es un libro que tiene 496 páginas, con aproximadamente 35 líneas por página y 10 palabras por cada línea, esto es un total de 172.550 palabras, que con la media habitual del lector promedio, que es de 200 a 250 palabras por minuto, te llevaría un total de 11 horas y media de tu tiempo poder leer el libro entero.


Bold, ambitious and provocative, this book questions everything we thought we knew about human beings: our origins, our ideas, our actions, our power... and our future.

Por ser audaz, ambicioso y provocador, este libro cuestiona todo lo que creíamos saber sobre el ser humano: nuestros orígenes, nuestras ideas, nuestras acciones, nuestro poder... y nuestro futuro.

Images taken from lascosasdejuampa1.blogspot.com published by Juan Pablo, of free use for personal or commercial purposes.
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Hey @rafabvr me alegra que hayas participado. La verdad es un libro muy interesante y me has despertado la curiosidad de leer. Existen muchas teorías de la evolución humana pero ese libro según lo que cuentas despierta esa parte crítica y ese interés de cuestionar por qué pasaron así las cosas... Excelente reseña.. abrazos!

Gracias hermanita bella, me alegra que me hayas presentado a esta gran comunidad. Ahora tengo un espacio donde publicar mis apreciaciones sobre algunos libros que he leído.
Tal como dices, existen muchas teorías sobre la evolución humana, y este libro nos lleva a criticar a muchas de ellas, te lo recomiendo.

I love the layout of your post -- simple and elegant. nice!

Thank you, I'm glad you appreciate it.

This one has been on my maybe list for awhile now. I might have to give it a go.

I encourage you to start, it really is very interesting. I guarantee you won't be disappointed

hey! this is an intresting, notable a mention book... BUT it is questionable. not the top league. I have added my opinion it here. have a pleasure to check it too? thanks in advance!

I was actually looking at this book few days ago in an online shop as I was searching for a different one. Thank you for this review. The more I search them more I want to get it :)

I hope you get it soon, it's worth having. Thanks for visiting and commenting, really getting this community has been very rewarding.

@ewkaw, I added my opinion it here. do have a time to check it please. this is an intresting, notable a mention book... BUT it is questionable. not the top league. too popular. so, it depends on your level and background - some folks will definitely find it intresting, others will consider a skin-deep.

was a pleasure for me to notice you in this thread! are you an avid book lover?..

Thanks I read it :)
Good to see some more critical opinions as well.
I suppose the book is for common reader to get to know the topic better. I do not expect a scientific paper from it. Having it written in simpler language makes it more accessible then. Maybe that was the purpose? To reach to wider audience.

I used to read a lot more. Lack of time now I guess and limited access to books in Polish ;)

I suppose the book is for common reader to get to know the topic better.

exactly. and not at all so. its definitely a 'simplification' of hard questions - but a load of fresh and unusual angles and point of views. it ruins well-established routines, and displays we (folks of XX century) live in the world of fantasies... and a lot of other generations used to it, too, they just had a different fantasies they were fighting for... that is extremely intresting reading (thats why it become a bestseller, sure thing), just... intelligent thinkful reader should be cautious and dont take all of it as 100% truth, a critical approach is needed too. I will try to suggest it to my babygirl, she dont like her history textbook (which is 200% stupid, indeed).

ruins well-established routines.

I think that is good. Makes you wonder and hopefully look further to more intellectually demanding sources I guess. Either way it shows new way of looking at things, or only cements the things you know.

does the Polish translation of the book exist? (I found two (!) Russian different translations ;)))

Yes it does :) I already looked at it online.

I'm also looking forward to read it. 😁 thanks for sharing

hey! I added my opinion on it here, too. you may check the other point of view ;=)

I only read the first few chapters of this book. I don't know why I stopped reading. Normally, when I stop reading means the book feels a bit boring to me

Normally, when I stop reading means the book feels a bit boring to me

haha! thats an indicator....
I added my opinion here, too. have a pleasure to check it? this book is, actually, questionable.

На эту книгу масса положительных рецензий (думаю, не ошибусь, предположив что 95% отзывов - хвалебные!). Что конечно само по себе - повод задуматься о уровне современного читателя, лол. Изложение ориентировано на массового читателя. Читать может простая домохозяйка. Подача мыслей удивляет своей простотой. Однако...

Книга впечатлила только до 100 страницы, пока имела место четкая хронология событий, пока перечислялись интересные исторические и биологические открытия. Затем началась каша! автор миксовал воедино несовместимое ("оригинальный угол зрения на вещи", о да!) и прыгал как мартовский заяц от одного события к другому, в одном параграфе соединяя совершенно не связанные вещи.

В некоторых вопросах автор был чересчур эмоционален. В некоторых местах автор жонглирует историческими фактами, когда некоторые из них уже давно научно опровергнуты (подтасовка фактов под "интересную историю"?) . Религиозные вопросы - сложная тема! - автор предлагает своё скоропалительное и поверхностное мнение, не углубившись в историю религий. (Упрощает для домохозяек!)

Совсем не раскрыта тема, как все же появилось расслоение людей на бедных и богатых, когда-то ходили собиратели дружно, а людям захотелось осесть, появилась аграрная революция, а с ней богатые и бедные. Очень много спорных вопросов. Книга сумбурна, в конце концов -- обо всем и ни о чем.

There exist hundreds of positive reviews for this book (I think I won't be mistaken, assuming that 95% of them are laudatory!). Which, of course, in itself is a reason to think about the level of the contemporary readers and reading, lol... This story presentation is aimed at a common reader -- even a simple housewife can read it with pleasure. The way of thinking and facts given surprise in their simplicity. But...

The book impressed me only up to first 100 pages, while there was a clear chronology of events, while interesting historical and biological discoveries were listed. Then - some "mish-mash" began! The author have mixed together the incompatible ("the original point of view on things", hell yeah!) and was jumping like a March hare from one event to another, combining completely unrelated things in one paragraph.

The author was overly emotional on some issues. In some places, the author juggles with historical facts, when some of them have long been scientifically disproved (manipulation of facts for getting the story "more interesting"?). Religious issues are a difficult topic! The author offered his hasty and superficial opinion without delving into the history of religions. ("A simplified version for housewives!")

The key topic of how the stratification of people into poor and rich appeared, once the gatherers walked together, and people wanted to settle down, the agrarian revolution appeared, and with it the rich and the poor. And there are much more controversial issues in it... The book is messy, after all - its about everything at once, and about nothing in particular.

thank you for your time and attention!