“Fascinating . . . a crucial global conversation about how to take on the problems of the twenty-first century.”—Bill Gates, The New York Times Book Review
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY FINANCIAL TIMES AND PAMELA PAUL, KQED
How do computers and robots change the meaning of being human? How do we deal with the epidemic of fake news? Are nations and religions still relevant? What should we teach our children?
Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is a probing and visionary investigation into today’s most urgent issues as we move into the uncharted territory of the future. As technology advances faster than our understanding of it, hacking becomes a tactic of war, and the world feels more polarized than ever, Harari addresses the challenge of navigating life in the face of constant and disorienting change and raises the important questions we need to ask ourselves in order to survive.
In twenty-one accessible chapters that are both provocative and profound, Harari builds on the ideas explored in his previous books, untangling political, technological, social, and existential issues and offering advice on how to prepare for a very different future from the world we now live in: How can we retain freedom of choice when Big Data is watching us? What will the future workforce look like, and how should we ready ourselves for it? How should we deal with the threat of terrorism? Why is liberal democracy in crisis?
Harari’s unique ability to make sense of where we have come from and where we are going has captured the imaginations of millions of readers. Here he invites us to consider values, meaning, and personal engagement in a world full of noise and uncertainty. When we are deluged with irrelevant information, clarity is power. Presenting complex contemporary challenges clearly and accessibly, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is essential reading.
“If there were such a thing as a required instruction manual for politicians and thought leaders, Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century would deserve serious consideration. In this collection of provocative essays, Harari . . . tackles a daunting array of issues, endeavoring to answer a persistent question: ‘What is happening in the world today, and what is the deep meaning of these events?’”—BookPage (top pick)
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)|
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Excerpted from "21 Lessons for the 21st Century"
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Table of Contents
Part I The Technological Challenge
1 Disillusionment: The End of History Has Been Postponed 3
2 Work: When You Grow Up, You Might Not Have a Job 19
3 Liberty: Big Data Is Watching You 44
4 Equality: Those Who Own the Data Own the Future 73
Part II The Political Challenge
5 Community: Humans Have Bodies 85
6 Civilization: There Is Just One Civilization in the World 93
7 Nationalism: Global Problems Need Global Answers 110
8 Religion: God Now Serves the Nation 127
9 Immigration: Some Cultures Might Be Better than Others 140
Part III Despair And Hope
10 Terrorism: Don't Panic 161
11 War: Never Underestimate Human Stupidity 173
12 Humility: You Are Not the Center of the World 184
13 God: Don't Take the Name of God in Vain 200
14 Secularism: Acknowledge Your Shadow 207
Part IV Truth
15 Ignorance: You Know Less than You Think 221
16 Justice: Our Sense ofJustice Might Be Out of Date 228
17 Post-Truth: Some Fake News Lasts Forever 236
18 Science Fiction: The Future Is Not What You See in the Movies 250
Part V Resilience
19 Education: Change Is the Only Constant 263
20 Meaning: Life Is Not a Story 273
21 Meditation: Just Observe 314
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The 21 Lessons for the 21st Century cover five broad areas: technology, politics, despair and hope, truth and resilience. In the 1990s, it appeared that liberalism had won its war with communism and facism. Even Russia had become, nominally at least, democratic. During the Trump and Brexit era, liberalism is once again on the ropes. Trump has an agenda of liberty only for Americans with a wall forcing foreigners to stay out. England, with Brexit, is attempting to limit liberty to only their own citizens too. What is replacing liberalism? Nationalism and nostalgia for each country’s most prosperous time in history is being felt by both the US, England and even Russia with Putin and his tsarist fantasies. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century attempts to give some suggestions for where we should go idealogically from here. Per the book, in the shadow of the coming biotech and infotech revolutions with the threat of ecological collapse looming, zenophobia will not be easy or effective. During the industrial revolution, machines replaced mankind’s physical abilities by moving heavy objects and speeding up processes beyond what man could do. With the recent breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI), machines may soon be able to replace mankind’s thinking abilities too. When that happens, what advantage will man have over machine? Worse, what jobs will be available? Once AI advances to replace soldiers, what will prevent rich megalomaniacs from taking over the world? Once biotechnology allows the DNA manipulation of humans into superhumans, how will the rest of us survive? This and other ominous questions are asked throughout this book. Only the last few chapters have anything positive to say about mankind’s near future. While this is an important book to read, its unfailingly grim view is tough to take on. Even though the future may not contain conscious robots like in the Terminator, it still seems pretty scary. While it seems credulous to say so, current times may be looked back on as the good ol’ days by our grandchildren. If you lean toward depression or always see the glass as half empty, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century may not be a good reading choice. If you are staunchly religious, this book pushes secularism rather heavily. It goes so far as to call religion the most long lasting fake news. Also, if you are a Trump or Putin fan, be aware that both are demonized within this book. Because this book reflects more of the author’s views than any scholarly appraisal of trends or even actual events, I can only give it 2 stars. I think it will anger or scare most readers more than inform them. Such a shame and disappointment from the highly acclaimed author of Sapiens and Homo Deus. Thanks to the publisher, Random House, and NetGalley for an advance copy.
Sapiens, also by written Harari, had been on my “to read” list for quite some time. When I finally read it I realized I should have read it sooner. I think Sapiens is a must read book for everyone on the planet. So, of course I was thrilled to have an opportunity to read 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. I was not disappointed. Harari has incredible talent for being able to analyse the world as it is today and project into the future. Touching on many subjects such as artificial intelligence, religion, fascism, meditation and more, the reader must decide whether or not to agree with Harari’s assessments. Personally I think his vision of the future is truly credible and for those who agree, this read may be frightening. Although Harari doesn't offer much upside, at least if mankind can see our possible future, maybe we can be vigilant and try to take steps to avoid what may be in store. These are the lessons. There is no real roadmap to a better tomorrow, rather warning signs along the way. Mankind owes Harari gratitude for a chance to take a better way. This is a must read.