21 Lessons for the 21st Century, by Yuval Noah Harari: #BookReview.

416 pages

Political History and Theory/Evolutionary Psychology

This is an unusually truthful book, written in rational prose with a degree of honesty that will startle most readers. Presented in five parts, entitled, The Technological Challenge, The Political Challenge, Despair and Hope, Truth, and Resilience, with each section further divided, it does what it states in the title. Harari is a historian, but he’s also a man with a unique and comprehensive view of life. His previous books have all been bestsellers and this one is no different in that sense.

He writes with the confidence and modesty of someone who has examined the evidence and found it often in need of explanation. I would read a part and question his apparent assumptions, wonder at his attitude, only to discover in the very next pages that my doubts and concerns were all answered, my uncertainties clarified and addressed.

I write this review as someone who has read, and written, a reasonable amount of Science Fiction, and I found his piece on this topic accurate and fair.

He understands the drives, fears, ambitions, hopes, and concerns of humanity and feels, with the rest of us, the utter confusion that currently rules our world.

In an environment where information is fed to us constantly, from multiple sources, he separates the insubstantial from the vital and presents his findings in terms we can all understand.

He presents his 21 lessons with honesty, passion, erudition and compassion. These are the headings he examines: Disillusionment, Work, Liberty, Equality, Community, Civilisation, Nationalism, Religion, Immigration, Terrorism, War, Humility, God, Secularism, Ignorance, Justice, Post-Truth, Science Fiction, Education, Meaning, and Meditation. Under each heading he gives us facts, explanations, possible outcomes and benefits/dangers, and seeds our minds with ideas to make us think.

This is not a book to be tackled at a single reading. Rather, it is a piece of work to be taken slowly, understood, digested at each stage and fully comprehended before moving to the next part. But it is a book full of wisdom, practical advice, and suggestions that might, just might, allow us to continue leading our lives in a more fulfilling and productive manner than most of us manage at present, even though our near future is under significant threat from many sources.

[Any review is a personal opinion. No reviewer can represent the view of anyone else. The best we can manage is an honest reaction to any given book.]

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