© Yuval Noah Harari
Every day you have the chance to win a book, €40 vouchers for the Christmas market and an iPad!
I'm a busy person and by the time my head eventually hits the pillow, after I've done the highly inadvisable thing of scrolling on my phone (all that blue light n stuff), I don't really have much energy to read a book.
Thankfully, alongside my daily BBC Radio 4 dosage and enormous podcast habit, I've subscribed to Audible for the last couple of years. Brilliant. I've now 'read' loads of books. Car journeys with my children, to and from the conservatoire for instance, have been transformed as we listen to all sorts of beautifully read books.
Of all the books I've come across this year, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari, was one of the most mind-awakening ones. Here's my brief take on it...
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari
Sapiens was first released in 2011 in Hebrew, and in 2014 in English. It opened my mind in a similar way to Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. The type of book where one marvels at the holistic approach to thinking about the really big picture; the amount of research and deep thought which would have been required to join the dots together in the picture that Harari paints.
Harari manages to plough fields of thought from our evolutionary beginnings through to capitalism, money, agriculture, meditation and his take on the future. Not all scholars agree with all aspects of the book, but even so, Harari manages to hew a story of sapien evolution to what we seem to have become today, in some regards.
Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow followed, which recaps some of the ideas from Sapiens. For me, it was not as rewarding a body of work due to the overlap. However, from both, I was left with renewed vigour to want to become more vegetarian, with a hint of veganism where I can manage it. I've also tried to add a touch of meditation to my daily waking and sleeping. I don't feel able to take a 30 day silent retreat yet, but Harari says that these books would not have come to pass without his time away to 'be'.
21 Lessons for the 21st Century came out this year, and it follows the same pattern. Big ideas for what we might want to focus our collective thoughts on before we die. Ideas to pass on to those around us.
If you're looking for a Christmas book offering, you can't go far wrong with Sapiens.
Lisa Burke, RTL Today creator