What shaped our evolutionary path?

March 16, 2015
By

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind,
by Yuval Noah Harari (Harvill Secker, RRP $38):

With a PhD in history from Oxford University, Dr Yuval Noah Harari is well-qualified to examine the history of us – the human species.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind looks at the whole of human history, from the very first humans until now, and how our history has shaped us and our environment.

Going back 100,000 years or so, there were at least six human species on Earth, today just one: us. So how did that happen? How did we win the battle for dominance on our little planet?

And how is it that our ancestors ended up coming together to creates the cities and societies we have now?

The author uses biology, anthropology, paleontology and economics to explore how the currents of history shaped our societies and our environments, from animals to plants, and even our personalities. How did we come to have governments, religion and our concept of family?

Breakthroughs made in thinking, agriculture and science have all contributed to what we have now, and it’s interesting to wonder what out continuing evolution will bring in the future.

This book is a fascinating read that is both challenging and enlightening, and is sure to get you thinking about where we have come from and where we might be going.

Jillian Allison-Aitken

I come from the other land down under, where men are men, and sheep are nervous. I'm a sub-editor and in the past have been a proof-reader, news editor and web editor. I am also an ex-columnist, and book and software reviewer for the local daily newspaper.I still read. A lot. And surf the web. Also a lot.You'll find a little about both of those pastimes here, and on By George.

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