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I read Sapiens after seeing the same edge.org conversation, and while it was mostly good, I think it started off strong and then became less so as it went on. Especially towards the end it became almost a hot list of current events the author had read about in the newspaper, like browsing through a lot of TED talks, without a lot of coherence to a larger picture. My other complaint would be that some portions seemed less scholarly and heavily influenced by the author's opinions and personal worldview. Not a bad book by any means but somewhat less than the "history of humankind" I had hoped for. The first quarter focusing on prehistory through agriculture was very informative, though leaves me questioning if I'm just suffering from Gell-Mann amnesia. Rated it 4/5 on Goodreads when I was finished.

I found Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond to be perhaps a better book of similar nature overall, and would add in The 10,000 Year Explosion by Cochran and Harpending as another good one for those who liked Sapiens.




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