Book Review: Homo Deus – A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

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Yuval Noah Harari is a breath of fresh air. He makes history look very sexy. He is a historian off-course, how he analyses and interprets history will make you fall in love with history.

I have followed his work for a while, watched his TED talks and other lectures he gave, listened and watched is podcasts. He has a very interesting and intriguing mind.

Homo Deus is a sequel to his first bestseller book Sapiens: Brief History of Human Kind, which was an amazing book, even former President Barack Obama highly recommends it.

Homo Deus” takes off where “Sapiens” left off; it is a “brief history of tomorrow.”

In Homo Deus, Yuval takes us into his interpretation of what the future will look like. He talks about the new human agenda which is a different agenda from the past.

Humanity has solved most its challenges. We have stopped wars, the world is peaceful today than ever before.

We have contained outbreaks, today if an disease breakout in any part of the world, we are able to respond quickly to contain it in that part of the world and end it,

We have contained lethal diseases like HIV/Aids. In 1980, if you contracted the disease, you would die within 12 months, but today, you can live a long healthy life, the disease moved from being lethal to a manageable chronic disease.

Yes, there is poverty but it is not as devastating as it used to be.

Basically the world has done well so for itself so far.

So what’s next?

Yuval believes that since we have solved most our critical challenges that occupied most our times, now we have enough spare time to explore other things that will improve our lives.

Instead of being merely satisfied with our achievements, we want more.

We are now going to spend our times exploring ways of improving our lives.

Enter: the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Yuval believes that the next human agenda is to improve the quality of our lives through technology.

The new quest for humanity to increase our life expectancy to more 100.

Machines will take up jobs that humans used to do.

According to Yuval, the industrial revolution created the working class, the new 4th industrial revolution will create the lazy class.

Humanity will move from organisms not algorithms. Through technology, humans will be half-man half-machine.

Rating

9/10

This is the same rating I have his first book, Sapiens.

Yuval writes like he talks. When you listen to his talks, he has that British dry sense of humor, [no wonder he studied in Oxford], his writing carries the same sense of humor.

The book will challenge you, your beliefs, but for me, most importantly it will expand your horizon. I understood where the world is going and thinking through this book.

Do I recommend this book?

Off-course I do.

If Barack Obama recommends it, and Bill Gates recommends it too, I recommend it too.

Who should read it?

Hhhhmmm, I read it because I love history, but anyone who is interest in future trends, scenario planners, innovators and creators and people who are interested in shaping the future should read this book.

Yuval’s writing style is storytelling, uses analogies and humor, here is an example of what I mean, this is the opening paragraph of the book:

“At the dawn of the third millennium, humanity wakes up, stretching its limbs and rubbing its eyes. Remnants of some awful nightmare are still drifting across its mind. ‘There was something with barbed wire, and huge mushroom clouds. Oh well, it was just a bad dream.’ Going to the bathroom, humanity washes its face, examines its wrinkles in the mirror, makes a cup of coffee and opens the diary, ‘Let’s see what’s on the agenda today.’ ”

Quotes that stood out for me:

  • “The most common reaction of the human mind to achievement is not satisfaction, but craving for more.”
  • “In most part of the planet, even if a person has lost his job and all his possessions, he is unlikely to die from hunger.”
  • “We do not become satisfied by leading a peaceful and prosperous existence. Rather, we become satisfied when reality matches our expectations. The bad news is that as conditions improve, expectations balloon.”

  • “This is the best reason to learn history: not in order to predict the future, but to free yourself of the past and imagine alternative destinies. Of course this is not total freedom – we cannot avoid being shaped by the past. But some freedom is better than none.”
  • “They were told that there was no way for China to feed its billion people, and that they world’s most populous country was heading towards catastrophe. In fact, it was heading towards the greatest economic miracle in history. Since 1974 hundreds of millions of Chinese have been lifted out of poverty, and though hundred of millions more still suffer greatly from privation and malnutrition, for the first time in its history China is now free from famine.”
  • “Wars are disappearing. Throughout history most humans took war for granted, whereas peace was a temporary and precarious state.”
  • “For the first time in history, when governments, corporations and private individuals consider their immediate future, many of them don’t think about war as a likely event.”
  • “If you ask me today, is it possible to live to be 500, the answer is yes.”

  • “People will have much more longer careers and will have to reinvent themselves again and again even at the age of ninety.”

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