21 Lessons For The 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari21 Lessons For The 21st Century by Yuval Noah Hararisticker-burst

21 Lessons For The 21st Century

byYuval Noah Harari

Hardcover | September 4, 2018

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With Sapiens and Homo Deus, Yuval Noah Harari first explored the past, then the future of humankind, garnering the praise of no less than Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg, to name a few, and selling millions of copies in the over 30 countries it was published. In 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, he devotes himself to the present.

21 Lessons For the 21st Century provides a kind of instruction manual for the present day to help readers find their way around the 21st century, to understand it, and to focus on the really important questions of life. Once again, Harari presents this in the distinctive, informal, and entertaining style that already characterized his previous books. The topics Harari examines in this way include major challenges such as international terrorism, fake news, and migration, as well as turning to more personal, individual concerns, such as our time for leisure or how much pressure and stress we can take. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century answers the overarching question: What is happening in the world today, what is the deeper meaning of these events, and how can we individually steer our way through them? The questions include what the rise of Trump signifies, whether or not God is back, and whether nationalism can help solve problems like global warming. Few writers of non-fiction have captured the imagination of millions of people in quite the astonishing way Yuval Noah Harari has managed, and in such a short space of time. His unique ability to look at where we have come from and where we are going has gained him fans from every corner of the globe. There is an immediacy to this new book which makes it essential reading for anyone interested in the world today and how to navigate its turbulent waters.
Born in Haifa, Israel, in 1976, YUVAL NOAH HARARI received his PhD from the University of Oxford in 2002, and is currently a lecturer at the Department of History, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Published in 2014, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind has become an international hit and is published in nearly 40 languages worldwid...
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Title:21 Lessons For The 21st CenturyFormat:HardcoverDimensions:400 pages, 9.3 × 6.3 × 1 inPublished:September 4, 2018Publisher:McClelland & StewartLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0771048858

ISBN - 13:9780771048852

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible! I absolutely love this book! Incredibly thought provoking and extremely relevant and important for toady's world. Highly recommend you read this book if you are interested in a rich exploration of today's issues.
Date published: 2018-11-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Book Yet Of the three books this is his best one of the series. Down to earth suggestions and great insight on the challenges humans and our planet now face.
Date published: 2018-10-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Should be great Promises to be very good, like the previous 2 books.
Date published: 2018-08-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from anticipating! i'm always interested in what this man is thinking. i've seen his ted talks and read his other two books so i'll definitely be reading this one as well!!
Date published: 2018-07-29

Read from the Book

IntroductionIn a world deluged by irrelevant information, clarity is power. In theory, anybody can join the debate about the future of humanity, but it is so hard to maintain a clear vision. We might not even notice that debate is going on, or what the key questions are. Most of us can't afford the luxury of investigating, because we have more pressing things to do: we have to go to work, take care of the kids, or look after elderly parents. Unfortunately, history does not give discounts. If the future of humanity is decided in your absence, because you are too busy feeding and clothing your kids, you and they will not be exempt from the consequences. This is unfair; but who said history was fair?     As a historian, I cannot give people food or clothes—but I can try to offer some clarity, thereby helping to level the global playing field. If this empowers even a handful of additional people to join the debate about the future of our species, I have done my job.      My first book, Sapiens, surveyed the human past, examining how an insignificant ape became the ruler of planet Earth.      Homo Deus, my second book, explored the long-term future of life, contemplating how humans might eventually become gods, and what the ultimate destiny of intelligence and consciousness might be.      In this book I want to zoom in on the here and now. My focus is on current affairs and on the immediate future of human societies. What is happening right now? What are today's greatest challenges and most important choices? What should we pay attention to? What should we teach our kids?     Of course, seven billion people have seven billion agendas, and as already noted, thinking about the big picture is a relatively rare luxury. A single mother struggling to raise two children in a Mumbai slum is focused on where she will find their next meal; refugees in a boat in the middle of the Mediterranean scan the horizon for any sign of land; refugees in a boat in the middle of the Mediterranean scan the horizon for any sign of land; a dying man in an overcrowded London hospital gathers all his remaining strength to take in one more breath. They all have far more urgent problems than global warming or the crisis of liberal democracy. No book can do justice to all of that, and I don’t have lessons to teach people in such situations. I can only hope to learn from them.My agenda here is global. I look at the major forces that shape societies all over the world and that are likely to influence the future of our planet as a whole. Climate change may be far beyond the concerns of people in the midst of a life-and-death emergency, but it might eventually make the Mumbai slums uninhabitable, send enormous new waves of refugees across the Mediterranean, and lead to a worldwide crisis in healthcare.Reality is composed of many threads, and this book tries to cover different aspects of our global predicament without claiming to be exhaustive. Unlike Sapiens and Homo Deus, this book is intended not as a historical narrative but rather as a selection of lessons. These lessons do not conclude with simple answers. They aim to stimulate further thinking and help readers participate in some of the major conversations of our time.The book was written in conversation with the public. Many of the chapters were composed in response to questions I was asked by readers, journalists, and colleagues. Earlier versions of some sections have already been published in different form, which gave me the opportunity to receive feedback and hone my arguments. Some sections focus on technology, some on politics, some on religion, and some on art. There are chapters that celebrate human wisdom, and others that highlight the crucial role of human stupidity. But the overarching question remains the same: what is happening in the world today, and what is the deep meaning of these events?     What does the rise of Donald Trump signify? What can we do about the epidemic of fake news? Why is liberal democracy in crisis? Is God back? Is a new world war coming? Which civilization dominates the world—the West, China, Islam? Should Europe keep its doors open to immigrants? Can nationalism solve the problems of inequality and climate change? What should we do about terrorism?     Though this book takes a global perspective, I do not neglect the personal level. On the contrary, I want to emphasize the connections between the great revolutions of our era and the internal lives of individuals. For example, terrorism is both a global political problem and an internal psychological mechanism. Terrorism works by pressing the fear button deep in our minds and hijacking the private imaginations of millions of individuals. Similarly, the crisis of liberal democracy is played out not just in parliaments and polling stations but also in neurons and synapses. It is a cliché to note that the personal is the political, but in an era when scientists, corporations, and governments are learning to hack the human brain, this truism is more sinister than ever. Accordingly, this book offers observations about the conduct of individuals as well as entire societies.     A global world puts unprecedented pressure on our personal conduct and morality. Each of us is ensnared within numerous all-encompassing spiderwebs, which on the one hand restrict our movements but on the other transmit our tiniest jiggle to faraway destinations. Our daily routines influence the lives of people and animals halfway across the world, and some personal gestures can unexpectedly set the entire world ablaze, as happened with the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi in Tunisia, which ignited the Arab Spring, and with the women who shared their stories of sexual harassment and sparked the #MeToo movement.     This global dimension of our personal lives means that it is more important than ever to uncover our religious and political biases, our racial and gender privileges, and our unwitting complicity in institutional oppression. But is that a realistic enterprise? How can I find a firm ethical ground in a world that extends far beyond my horizons, that spins completely out of human control, and that holds all gods and ideologies suspect?This book begins by surveying our current political and technological predicament. At the close of the twentieth century it appeared that the great ideological battles between fascism, communism, and liberalism had resulted in the overwhelming victory of liberalism. Democratic politics, human rights, and free-market capitalism seemed destined to conquer the entire world. But as usual, history took an unexpected turn, and after fascism and communism collapsed, now liberalism is in trouble. So where are we heading?     This question is particularly poignant because liberalism is losing credibility exactly when the twin revolutions in information technology and biotechnology confront us with the biggest challenges our species has ever encountered. The merger of infotech and biotech might soon push billions of humans out of the job market and undermine both liberty and equality. Big Data algorithms might create digital dictatorships in which all power is concentrated in the hands of a tiny elite while most people suffer not from exploitation but from something far worse—irrelevance.     I discussed the merger of infotech and biotech at length in my previous book Homo Deus. But whereas that book focused on the long-term prospects—taking the perspective of centuries and even millennia—this book concentrates on the more immediate social, economic, and political crises. My interest here is less in the eventual creation of inorganic life and more in the threat to the welfare state and to particular institutions such as the European Union.     The book does not attempt to cover all the impacts of the new technologies. In particular, though technology holds many wonderful promises, my intention here is to highlight mainly its threats and dangers. Since the corporations and entrepreneurs who lead the technological revolution naturally tend to sing the praises of their creations, it falls to sociologists, philosophers, and historians such as myself to sound the alarm and explain all the ways things can go terribly wrong.     After sketching out the challenges we face, in the second part of the book we examine a wide range of potential responses. Could Facebook engineers use AI to create a global community that will safeguard human liberty and equality? Perhaps the answer is to reverse the process of globalization and reempower the nation-state? Maybe we need to go back even further and draw hope and wisdom from the wellsprings of ancient religious traditions?     In the third part of the book we see that though the technological challenges are unprecedented and the political disagreements intense, humankind can rise to the occasion if we keep our fears under control and be a bit more humble about our views. This part investigates what can be done about the menace of terrorism, about the danger of global war, and about the biases and hatreds that spark such conflicts.     The fourth part engages with the notion of post-truth and asks to what extent we can still understand global developments and distinguish wrongdoing from justice. Is Homo sapiens capable of making sense of the world it has created? Is there still a clear border separating reality from fiction?     In the fifth and final part I gather together the different threads and take a more general look at life in an age of bewilderment, when the old stories have collapsed and no new story has emerged so far to replace them. Who are we? What should we do in life? What kinds of skills do we need? Given everything we know and don’t know about science, about God, about politics, and about religion, what can we say about the meaning of life today?     This may sound overambitious, but Homo sapiens cannot wait. Philosophy, religion, and science are all running out of time. People have debated the meaning of life for thousands of years. We cannot continue this debate indefinitely. The looming ecological crisis, the growing threat of weapons of mass destruction, and the rise of new disruptive technologies will not allow it. Perhaps most important, artificial intelligence and biotechnology are giving humanity the power to reshape and reengineer life. Very soon somebody will have to decide how to use this power—based on some implicit or explicit story about the meaning of life. Philosophers are very patient people, but engineers are far less so, and investors are the least patient of all. If you don’t know what to do with the power to engineer life, market forces will not wait a thousand years for you to come up with an answer. The invisible hand of the market will force upon you its own blind reply. Unless you are happy to entrust the future of life to the mercy of quarterly revenue reports, you need a clear idea what life is all about.     In the final chapter I indulge in a few personal remarks, talking as one Homo sapiens to another, just before the curtain goes down on our species and a completely different drama begins.

Editorial Reviews

ADVANCE PRAISE FOR YUVAL NOAH HARARI and 21 LESSONS FOR THE 21st CENTURY“Truly mind-expanding . . .  Ultra-topical . . .  Harari’s big selling point [is] the ambition and breadth of his work, smashing together unexpected ideas into dazzling observations.” —The Guardian “Erudite, illuminating, vivid. [Harari’s] lessons suggest new ways of thinking about current problems. . . .  a splendid, sobering, stirring call to arms.” —Sunday Times“This well-informed and searching book is one to be savoured and widely discussed.” —Publishers Weekly (starred) “More comprehensible [than Sapiens and Homo Deus] . . . showing you things you thought you knew about in a completely new way . . .  I find Harari’s writing exhilarating.” —The Radio Times “Harari thrills his readers because he addresses the biggest possible topics with confidence and brio. Compared with the subjects he tackles, anything else we might read looks piffling and parochial.” —Evening Standard “Harari’s genius at weaving together insights from different disciplines, ranging from ancient history to neuroscience to philosophy to artificial intelligence, has enabled him to respond to the clamour to understand where we have come from and where we might be heading . . .  21 Lessons is lit up by flashes of intellectual adventure and literary verve.” —Financial Times “21 Lessons for the 21st Century will complete a Harari hat-trick of classics . . .  The clarity of Harari’s vision is astonishing... thanks to him, the world makes better sense to many more of us.” —The Bookseller “Modern life can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, Yuval Noah Harari’s new book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is on hand to guide us through it . . . poolside reading with purpose.” —Elle