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[Book review] 21 lessons for 21st century – Yuval Noah Harrari

21 lessons for the 21st-century, unsurprisingly, caught my interest because it goes exactly into the topics discussed in this blog. So many of the lessons touch upon challenges we face in this age and Yuval Noah Harari tries to set a frame or define, how we should approach these topics. From religion, to fake news, to technology, no stone has been left unturned. It is precisely this aspect that it should be worth your time to explore its 372 pages to see if any of the lessons: 1. Resonate with what you think is important & 2. Explore in what direction one must look for an answer. Overall a book I would recommend, but it would not be an honest review if I do not highlight some of its pitfalls.

I would not recommend this book if you don't want to go through 75 pages about the great fiction called religion. This topic came forward on numerous occasions and did not exclude any parts of the world. Harari seemed to be repeating himself an awful lot in those 75 pages, and it rather seemed he wanted to convince himself more so than the reader. For myself, religion has never been the source of wisdom and I felt I was skimming over the pages that pointed to religion and its weakness to provide answers. Did this make the book unreadable? Certainly not. I was curious throughout, and kept reading to see what other secrets Yuval could provide.

The book for me has already in its foundation a predicament. How can you, in one book, expect to provide lessons for all 21 topics of discussion in our age? Some lessons are merely brought forward or skimmed over without the answer or solution properly described. But we will have to take granted that with a title such as this. While I am a little disappointed that the search for meaning should be found through meditation, I did feel refreshed and stimulated enough to make this book my first book review in this blog. If you want to know what lessons the curriculum of life should be teaching, you are at the right address. 21 Lessons for the 21st-century is in my opinion good for your consciousness, which coincidentally (or not) Yuval Noah Harari states we should invest a little more in for a brighter future.

Some of my highlights in this book:

“Humans think in stories rather than in facts, numbers, or equations, and the simpler the story, the better.”

“Questions you cannot answer are usually far better for you than answers you cannot question.”

“Not only rationality, but individuality too is a myth. Humans rarely think for themselves. Rather, we think in groups. Just as it takes a tribe to raise a child, it also takes a tribe to invent a tool, solve a conflict, or cure a disease. No individual knows everything it takes to build a cathedral, an atom bomb, or an aircraft. What gave Homo sapiens an edge over all other animals and turned us into the masters of the planet was not our individual rationality but our unparalleled ability to think together in large groups.”