#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In Sapiens, he explored our past. In Homo Deus, he looked to our future. Now, one of the most innovative thinkers on the planet turns to the present to make sense of today’s most pressing issues.
“Fascinating . . . a crucial global conversation about how to take on the problems of the twenty-first century.”—Bill Gates, The New York Times Book Review
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY FINANCIAL TIMES AND PAMELA PAUL, KQED
How do computers and robots change the meaning of being human? How do we deal with the epidemic of fake news? Are nations and religions still relevant? What should we teach our children?
Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is a probing and visionary investigation into today’s most urgent issues as we move into the uncharted territory of the future. As technology advances faster than our understanding of it, hacking becomes a tactic of war, and the world feels more polarized than ever, Harari addresses the challenge of navigating life in the face of constant and disorienting change and raises the important questions we need to ask ourselves in order to survive.
In twenty-one accessible chapters that are both provocative and profound, Harari builds on the ideas explored in his previous books, untangling political, technological, social, and existential issues and offering advice on how to prepare for a very different future from the world we now live in: How can we retain freedom of choice when Big Data is watching us? What will the future workforce look like, and how should we ready ourselves for it? How should we deal with the threat of terrorism? Why is liberal democracy in crisis?
Harari’s unique ability to make sense of where we have come from and where we are going has captured the imaginations of millions of readers. Here he invites us to consider values, meaning, and personal engagement in a world full of noise and uncertainty. When we are deluged with irrelevant information, clarity is power. Presenting complex contemporary challenges clearly and accessibly, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is essential reading.
“If there were such a thing as a required instruction manual for politicians and thought leaders, Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century would deserve serious consideration. In this collection of provocative essays, Harari . . . tackles a daunting array of issues, endeavoring to answer a persistent question: ‘What is happening in the world today, and what is the deep meaning of these events?’”—BookPage (top pick)
Magnificently combining historical, scientific, political, and philosophical perspectives, Harari (Sapiens and Homo Deus), a Hebrew University of Jerusalem history professor, explores 21 of what he considers to be today's "greatest challenges." Despite the title's reference to "lessons," his tone is not prescriptive but exploratory, seeking to provoke debate without offering definitive solutions. An early chapter is headlined with the lesson, "When You Grow Up, You Might Not Have a Job." Not only will many jobs be lost to machines, but, Harari speculates, humans might not even be necessary to fulfill the role of consumers: "Theoretically, you can have an economy in which a mining corporation produces and sells iron to a robotics corporation, and the robotics corporation produces and sells robots to the mining corporation." A chapter beginning with the lesson "Those Who Own the Data Own the Future" discusses how the improved human understanding of mind and brain, and the ability to manipulate both, raises the threat of control by those with access to one's data, making the regulation of data ownership perhaps "the most important political question of our era." Within this broad construct, Harari discusses many pressing issues, including problems associated with liberal democracy, nationalism, immigration, and religion. This well-informed and searching book is one to be savored and widely discussed.