In an interview to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria the US President Barack Obama was asked to provide recommendations of books that he read while on vacation in Hawaii. One of the books was the international bestseller “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by Yuval Noah Harari, an Israeli professor of history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The book gives a short description of the history of the human species since man started talking some 70, 000 years ago. It’s “interesting and provocative, ” Obama hailed the book, “It’s a sweeping history of the human race, from 40, 000 feet, ” Obama said. “It talks about some core things that have allowed us to build this extraordinary civilization, that we take for granted.”.
The president said that the book is giving readers a perspective of how short our time on the planet has been, and showing them that things like science and agriculture should not be taken for granted.
“History began when humans invented gods, and will end when humans become gods.”, the author website say. The story he told in TED starts with this words:
Seventy thousand years ago, our human ancestors were insignificant animals, just minding their own business in a corner of Africa with all the other animals. But now, few would disagree that humans dominate planet Earth; we’ve spread to every continent, and our actions determine the fate of other animals (and possibly Earth itself). How did we get from there to here? Historian Yuval Noah Harari suggests a surprising reason for the rise of humanity.
The book was first published in Hebrew in 2011, and soon became a best seller. Its was translated into an English and published in the US in 2014.
Yuval Noah Harari published his second best seller in Hebrew last years: “The Future of Tomorrow.”
Besides Sapiens, Obama also recommended the book “The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead, a fiction about two slaves in the United States of the pre-Civil War era who make a bid for freedom.