Summary & Study Guide - Sapiens by Lee Tang

A Brief History of Humankind

The must-read summary of “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind,” by Yuval Noah Harari

Summary & study guide - sapiens

How Human Evolve from Insignificant Apes to Become the Rulers of the World

The must-read summary of “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind,” by Yuval Noah Harari.

In Sapiens, Professor Yuval Noah Harari focuses on the three great revolutions of human history: Cognitive, Agricultural, and Scientific. He presents a hypothesis how Homo sapiens transforms from an animal of no significance 70,000 years ago to become the rulers of the Earth.

Earlier human species such as Homo neanderthalensis in Europe and Homo erectus in Asia had climate and environment adaptations that sapiens did not have. The Cognitive Revolution between 70,000 and 30,000 years ago enabled the sapiens to form elaborate cultures and communicate in fictions. Myths, religions, moral codes, nations, corporations, and money are fictions that shape human societies, allowing them to speak the same language and share the same customs, beliefs, rituals, and dreams. Fictions also allowed them to cooperate in groups, giving them a military and security advantage and encouraging specialization which eventually gave them a technological advantage.

This book tells the story of how these three revolutions have affected humans since the start of the Cognitive Revolution.

This guide includes:

Value-added of this guide:

This book challenges everything we thought we knew about being human.

Genre: STUDY AIDS / Study Guides

Secondary Genre: HISTORY / Civilization

Language: English

Keywords: Humanity, Homo sapiens, hunter-gatherers, evolution, agricultural revolution, cognitive revolution, scientific revolution

Word Count: 18,500

Sample text:

We used to think of ourselves as the only humans. Yet the real meaning of the word human is ‘an animal belonging to the genus homo’. The first humans evolved in East Africa 2.5 million years ago. From 2 million years ago until 10,000 years ago, over six human species coexisted on planet Earth. Humans in Europe and western Asia evolved into Homo neanderthalensis. Homo denisova lived in Siberia, Homo erectus in eastern Asia, Homo soloensis in Java, Indonesia, and Homo floresiensis (Hobbits) on the small island of Flores, Indonesia. Humans in East Africa evolved into Homo rudolfensis, Homo ergaster, and Homo sapiens. Some of these species were massive and others were dwarves. Neanderthals were bulky and muscular, well adapted to the cold climate of Ice Age western Eurasia. The Hobbits had evolved into dwarves after trapped on the island with poor resources for generations. Some species were fearsome hunters, others gentle plant-gatherers.

One unique characteristic of humans is they have larger brains compared to other animals. Mammals weighing sixty kilograms have an average brain size of 200 cubic centimeters. The earliest human had brains of about 600 cubic centimeters. Modern Sapiens have brains averaging 1,200–1,400 cubic centimeters. Neanderthal brains were even bigger.

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