21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

I have mixed feelings about this book and sometimes about Harari too. On the one hand, Harari does offer some interesting and thought provoking ideas about history, the current world order, and philosophy. On the other hand, I also find his style of writing a bit meandering.

The first part of the book has a lot of what if scenarios for the 21st century. This bored me early on and I put the book on hold for weeks. There are definitely moments where I agreed with Harari including views on religion, fake news, and how ignorant human beings are.

I find more issue with his style of presentation. This book was done in response to questions he is asked and it feels like a haphazard mix of random topics. I do not think there is an actual premise of the book. It feels more like a patchwork of ideas and discussions the author has.

I learned a couple of things and appreciated his philosophy on some things. I would give this about 2.5-3 stars. It was very boring in parts but I also found myself agreeing with some of it or seeing things in a different way. It also made me think that more people should read these kind of books but they are not likely to for the same reason I struggled with it. His short chapter and recommendations on how to not be brainwashed was interesting and I’d have more about that.

The author notes how complex the world is and now this book review is more complex than usual. Overall, I am glad I finished it and don’t regret it. I would be wary about recommending it to anyone though.

Read Dec 15, 2020 to Jan 24, 2021.

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