Sapiens; A Brief History of Humankind in Summary English | By Yuval Noah Harari | Free PDF Download |

Sapiens ; A Brief History Of Humankind

                 In Yuval Noah Harari’s Book Sapiens today we will learn how Humans, after evolving from apes, have become the dominant species in the world. 2.5 million years ago somewhere in East Africa.


                 Homosapiens evolved from Australopithecus  (apes) Homo sapiens were not only species. Many other species of Humans evolved at different places on Earth. Like Homo Neanderthals evolved in Colder Regions of Europe. Homo Erectus evolved in the tropical region of Asia. Homo Soloensis evolved in Indonesia and Java Islands and many other species evolved at many different places across the globe but today Homo Sapiens (we humans) are the only species available on earth. Our dominance started with the advent of the Cognitive Revolution.

Cognitive Revolution

 i.e Development of our Brains.

                 Homo Sapiens who lived in East Africa. I Used to wander from place to place for food and shelter. Initially Homo Sapiens were only a small part of the food chain. They used to hunt weaker animals Lion , Tiger and Sharks were on top of the food chain. But the discovery of fire changed this position before the discovery of fire. Homo Sapiens used to eat Raw after hunting, chewing and digestion of raw food took more time. That is why they had big teeth and large intestines to survive but relatively brain size was small.

             After the discovery of fire homo sapiens started cooking. Cooked food required less chewing and was easy to digest. This led to evolutionary changes in homo sapiens. Their teeth and intestines both became smaller but their brain started growing due to growth of their brain. Their thinking capabilities also started improving with the use of their brain. Started cooperating better using sign language. They also developed tools which can be used to kill stronger animals using their social abilities, improved brain and sign language. Sapiens started cooperating and killing stronger animals. Cognitive revolution brought homo Sapiens on top of the food chain when Homo Sapiens came in contact with other species on Earth. According to scientists there are only two possibilities. First interbreeding theory. Homo Sapiens interbreed with other species and built relations with them or second extinction theory. Sapiens like any other animal killed them too, whatever may be  the truth. Today only one species of humans exists on earth that is Homo Sapiens.

 i.e we humans increase population pressure and search for food and with help of fire homo sapiens started migrating to colder regions. They started to migrate towards Europe and Russia. Mammoth elephants living in colder regions became extinct after some years after the arrival of homo sapiens. Reason for extinction of bigger animals was that they take a long time to give birth and grow if sapiens killed one animal per week. This may have led to the extinction of those animals. Sapiens migrated from Siberia to Alaska in the summer season. They migrated from Alaska to the Northern plains of America then from North America to South America. Wherever Sapiens went many animals started becoming extinct after cognitive revolution next big transformation is,

Agricultural Revolution

           Agriculture started around the same time in different parts of the world. Wheat, Rice and Millet were grown near Turkey, Corn and beans in North America, Potatoes in South America, Millets in Africa, Rice and Millets in China. Why did agriculture start in these regions only ? Because domestic animals required for farming were available there like Goats, Pigs , Bovines. i.e Cow and Buffalo after 2000 years of Agriculture Revolution, Homo Sapiens started agriculture everywhere and stopped hunting.

Farming requires great effort to sow the seeds and water them on time. After harvest crops have to be stored properly because of this sapiens started settling and their population also started growing. Initially when sapiens used to migrate in search of food and shelter, bearing a child was difficult but after the start of agriculture. It became easy for women to bear children and food to feed a larger population also was now available because of agriculture. But agriculture did not improve the lives of sapiens, instead made them dependent and vulnerable before the agricultural revolution.

sow the seeds and water them on right time
                            BEFORE                              AFTER
Sapiens use to eat meat, fruits and nutsAgriculture sapiens became dependent on some crops only
They use to work 30 hours per weekThey started working 60 hours per week
They were not worried about climateAgriculture made them dependent on climate

                      Also because of poor diet and contact with domestic animals unknown diseases started spreading among sapiens even though agriculture had so many disadvantages. Sapiens couldn’t go back to hunting and gathering transformation from hunting to agriculture was gradual and took many years. Sapiens became use to agriculture and forgot about hunting as a means to survive. Now sapiens started planning for crops and became tensed if crops were destroyed for some reasons. Sapiens achieved evolutionary success with increase in population but at individual level they faced mostly suffering only before agricultural revolution; sapiens had small groups and it was easy to cooperate. Among them but the population increased drastically after the agricultural revolution, to cooperate among themselves in large numbers, sapiens developed imagined reality or Myths.

i.e beveling and following such things which do not exist like Religion, God, Myth, Laws and Money. 

           Religion and God had many stories and it became natural and obvious for sapiens to believe in them and it made cooperation among sapiens easy. Homo sapiens were now living in dual reality objective reality like Nature , River , Trees or Animals imagined reality Gods, Nations and Laws. Homo Sapiens started giving more importance to imagined reality, increasing population and settlement of humans led to many changes in society. Humans started fighting for property (land) to resolve and stop such fighting, an army was developed and someone was appointed as head of army who became ruler or king and since the army was only meant for fighting. Tax collection started to feed the army and since the population was large so to manage them laws were made. Laws started increasing and administration became complex which led to development of hierarchy in society.

Unifications of Humans

          As society progressed their imagined myth became complex and small cultures became mega cultures. Empires developed to sustain mega cultures. In order to make an empire to build empires, mediums are required to unite humans who follow different cultures. There are three such mediums which still unite humans following different cultures. Humans follow money irrespective of their religion or culture. Initially the barter system was used as a medium of exchange that means if someone has apples other people have bread. They both can exchange apples and bread but if society is large and the number of goods is more, the barter system becomes more complex.


        Money was developed to solve this problem. Money became a universal medium of exchange. Initially metal pieces were used as money. Then came gold and silver coins then coins with authority of the king over it. Today the authority of government in pieces of paper is used as money rulers of the empire and his/her army ruled over humans following different cultures and forced them to follow common law.


         empires destroyed small cultures and developed mega cultures and many generations thereafter nobody remembered their original culture and they kept on following same mega culture even after empires disintegrated before arab Muslim empire. Egypt , Syria and Iran had different local cultures 17 th century arab muslim rule started all local population started following arab muslim culture after disintegration of empire people continued to follow same till today. Second example, India was ruled by Britishers for a long time. They forced their laws and systems on Indians even after their rule ended in 1947. Indians use English language and follow administration set up by Britishers.

third religion

             After the agricultural revolution when humans settled they became dependent on climate for survival. That is why if any disaster or disease came. Humans started praying to imagined gods. Initially these gods were local and related to nature like rain god , fertility god as society progressed number of gods increased which led to development of polytheism in society monotheism.

 i.e believe in one god developed from polytheism.

         Christianity and Islam both are monotheistic religion both are missionary in nature.

 i.e their followers like to spread and propagate their religion earlier developed religions around 5th century BC based on natural laws rather than gods like Buddhism and Jainism question arises if religion is an imagined entity why people believe.

        In it there are two main reasons: First religion derives authority from super human powers and Second humans. Find it easy to believe in cooperating together. Today’s global world ideologies are formed instead of religion which helps humans cooperate together like capitalism, communism and nationalism if you go to watch cricket or football matches. You don’t know everybody there but when a goal is scored you celebrate along with them because you all belong to the same nation. 

Scientific Revolution and Rise of Europe

               Columbus, who was a small-time sailor, demanded support to search for a new continent. Finally the rulers of Spain decided to sponsor his expeditions. Columbus found American continent in his expedition and Spain became rich using the raw materials of America. Thereafter expedition and sailing ideas became a hit along with kings even common man started sponsoring such expeditions through joint stock exchanges. These expeditions made Europeans rulers of the world. It was not that rulers of Asia or China did not have technology for expeditions but Asian rulers were not interested in learning about other areas they did not have quest for knowledge like Europeans that is why they were left behind in exploring and ruling the world.

               For many years humans thought whatever is their religion is right and they don’t need anything more to learn but this changed after the 16/17th century. Europe became the center of the scientific revolution, that is because of two main reasons. Europeans accepted their ignorance and they need to explore more. Capitalists started sponsoring their quest for knowledge. Simple methodology was adopted for research first to observe then use observations to form conclusions and equations. Newton used this method to derive Laws of Motion. The thing which cannot be calculated exactly was expressed in terms of probability actuarial science used in insurance industry is based on statistics and probability. Europe’s quest for unknown was so strong that sailors started looking for sponsors for expeditions

Industrial Revolution

                  Before the Industrial Revolution humans used wood for energy and heat. After some time coal was being used as fuel, a major change came after the discovery of steam engines. When heat energy could be converted into motion, mechanized production of goods started using this technology Today’s society in which we are living its time table was set by the Industrial Revolution. Many factories were set up when IR lakhs of people started working in those factories. The concept of 9 to 5 job was created during Industrial Revolution. Public transport was developed to transport people daily to jobs for unity in production and trade. National time was established due to the increase in the number of goods. A new problem came up: who would buy so many goods ? a large number of the population were workers having low salary humans developed yet another imagined order to solve this problem. That was concept of credit that means even if you don’t have money today you can pay in future to convince people to buy product in credit philosophy of consumerism was developed innovative marketing campaigns were run people’s psychology was influenced in name of fashion.  Joint family structure was against the philosophy of  consumerism. Things are shared in joint families. Also people used to take opinions from family members before buying anything. Role of the joint family was taken over by the state. Earlier, the local community used to take care of the health, security and education of humans. State developed public schools developed hospitals for their health and police for their protection. As a result people can survive anywhere leaving their joint family. Emotional campaigns like such campaigns started influencing humans which broke down family structure to nuclear family.

Happiness, Past and Present

                   After achieving so much progress, are humans happy ? Today we have advanced communication tools but we are emotionally alone. Humans basic nature is of wanderer. We are bound to system against our basic nature till today our evolution was natural but technologies in future like all such technologies can change our evolution process can turn humans into super humans but yet again humans have to think will such technologies give humans happiness.

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