Review of 21 Lessons for the 21st Century

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Rating

8

Qualities

  • Controversial
  • Important
  • Well Structured

Review

Historian, philosopher and social critic Yuval Noah Harari ranks among influential global gurus thanks to his bestsellers Sapiens and Homo Deus. The first addressed humanity’s past; the second, its future. Here, Harari discusses the pressing issues of the present. His insights on climate change, artificial intelligence (AI), nuclear war and other issues are sharp and illuminating. Inevitably, though, original thoughts and inspired ideas mix with repeats from his earlier works and a few banalities. Harari calls out the dangers of dogmatism, including religious fundamentalism, and is dismissive of religion in general. Leaders in politics, business and education should know his books, especially this one. While his urgent warnings are bleak, he also suggests solutions as he provides a frightening summary of the existential threats facing humankind and a compelling call to immediate action. If you are unfamiliar with his insightful analysis, this is a great place to start.

About the Author

Yuval Noah Harari, PhD, bestselling author of Sapiens and Homo Deus, teaches world history at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and lives on a communal farm near Jerusalem. 

 

The State of the World

Yuval Noah Harari understands that you have so much to do that you probably can’t find time to learn about and act on the grave dangers threatening your future. But you, he insists, and your children can’t avoid the consequences. Harari's 21 lessons, or warnings, address problems mainly within the liberal democratic system – which he says is the best-designed system ever founded to organize society. His lessons argue for its improvement, not its replacement:

1. “Disillusionment” – Harari maintains that the 20th century saw four broad movements: imperialism, fascism, communism and liberal democracy. After horrific struggles, the latter prevailed. The 2008 financial crisis gave rise to alienation. Concern about the future led to votes for populists like US president Donald Trump and tribal movements like the anti-European Union Brexit decision. 


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