21 Lessons for the 21st Century

21 Lessons for the 21st Century

by Yuval Noah Harari


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#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


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)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525512196
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/20/2019
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 14,103
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Yuval Noah Harari has a Ph.D. in history from the University of Oxford and now lectures at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, specializing in world history. His two previous books, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind and Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, have become global bestsellers, with more than fifteen million copies sold and translations in more than fifty languages.

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Table of Contents

Introduction xiii

Part I The Technological Challenge

1 Disillusionment: The End of History Has Been Postponed 3

2 Work: When You Grow Up, You Might Not Have a Job 19

3 Liberty: Big Data Is Watching You 44

4 Equality: Those Who Own the Data Own the Future 73

Part II The Political Challenge

5 Community: Humans Have Bodies 85

6 Civilization: There Is Just One Civilization in the World 93

7 Nationalism: Global Problems Need Global Answers 110

8 Religion: God Now Serves the Nation 127

9 Immigration: Some Cultures Might Be Better than Others 140

Part III Despair And Hope

10 Terrorism: Don't Panic 161

11 War: Never Underestimate Human Stupidity 173

12 Humility: You Are Not the Center of the World 184

13 God: Don't Take the Name of God in Vain 200

14 Secularism: Acknowledge Your Shadow 207

Part IV Truth

15 Ignorance: You Know Less than You Think 221

16 Justice: Our Sense ofJustice Might Be Out of Date 228

17 Post-Truth: Some Fake News Lasts Forever 236

18 Science Fiction: The Future Is Not What You See in the Movies 250

Part V Resilience

19 Education: Change Is the Only Constant 263

20 Meaning: Life Is Not a Story 273

21 Meditation: Just Observe 314

Acknowledgments 325

Notes 329

Index 357

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21 Lessons for the 21st Century 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
diane92345 More than 1 year ago
The 21 Lessons for the 21st Century cover five broad areas: technology, politics, despair and hope, truth and resilience. In the 1990s, it appeared that liberalism had won its war with communism and facism. Even Russia had become, nominally at least, democratic. During the Trump and Brexit era, liberalism is once again on the ropes. Trump has an agenda of liberty only for Americans with a wall forcing foreigners to stay out. England, with Brexit, is attempting to limit liberty to only their own citizens too. What is replacing liberalism? Nationalism and nostalgia for each country’s most prosperous time in history is being felt by both the US, England and even Russia with Putin and his tsarist fantasies. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century attempts to give some suggestions for where we should go idealogically from here. Per the book, in the shadow of the coming biotech and infotech revolutions with the threat of ecological collapse looming, zenophobia will not be easy or effective. During the industrial revolution, machines replaced mankind’s physical abilities by moving heavy objects and speeding up processes beyond what man could do. With the recent breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI), machines may soon be able to replace mankind’s thinking abilities too. When that happens, what advantage will man have over machine? Worse, what jobs will be available? Once AI advances to replace soldiers, what will prevent rich megalomaniacs from taking over the world? Once biotechnology allows the DNA manipulation of humans into superhumans, how will the rest of us survive? This and other ominous questions are asked throughout this book. Only the last few chapters have anything positive to say about mankind’s near future. While this is an important book to read, its unfailingly grim view is tough to take on. Even though the future may not contain conscious robots like in the Terminator, it still seems pretty scary. While it seems credulous to say so, current times may be looked back on as the good ol’ days by our grandchildren. If you lean toward depression or always see the glass as half empty, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century may not be a good reading choice. If you are staunchly religious, this book pushes secularism rather heavily. It goes so far as to call religion the most long lasting fake news. Also, if you are a Trump or Putin fan, be aware that both are demonized within this book. Because this book reflects more of the author’s views than any scholarly appraisal of trends or even actual events, I can only give it 2 stars. I think it will anger or scare most readers more than inform them. Such a shame and disappointment from the highly acclaimed author of Sapiens and Homo Deus. Thanks to the publisher, Random House, and NetGalley for an advance copy.
rdgit More than 1 year ago
Sapiens, also by written Harari, had been on my “to read” list for quite some time. When I finally read it I realized I should have read it sooner. I think Sapiens is a must read book for everyone on the planet. So, of course I was thrilled to have an opportunity to read 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. I was not disappointed. Harari has incredible talent for being able to analyse the world as it is today and project into the future. Touching on many subjects such as artificial intelligence, religion, fascism, meditation and more, the reader must decide whether or not to agree with Harari’s assessments. Personally I think his vision of the future is truly credible and for those who agree, this read may be frightening. Although Harari doesn't offer much upside, at least if mankind can see our possible future, maybe we can be vigilant and try to take steps to avoid what may be in store. These are the lessons. There is no real roadmap to a better tomorrow, rather warning signs along the way. Mankind owes Harari gratitude for a chance to take a better way. This is a must read.
Anonymous 23 days ago
Outstanding overview of topical areas to think about. Another amazing, thought-provoking collection of wisdom from Harari. I recommend reading his books in order - Sapiens, Homo Deus, and 21 Lessons - to have a better understanding of the references he makes in his writing. I had read all of them within 2 months and all was very fresh in my mind. In this book, his design is to give insight and advice about tools, skills, and wherewithal of current-day affairs. He addresses each of 21 separate topics and in his usual, objective, narrative gives gravity to how these 21 topics have had and will have an incredible impact in our lives if harnessed effectively. You may not agree with all of his assertions, but his thinking is so objective and based upon a perspective predicated upon eons, not just the recent past (last 200 years), the now, or the future (next 100 years). His understanding of the evolution of the Earth, we as a species, and the ecological balance between man and all other species, lends a perspective most other writers (maybe none) possess. Now, all that being said, much of his assertions are conjecture that he has built upon his many suppositions. But, they are among the freshest viewpoints discussed, until perhaps now. I highly recommend his writings and will certainly re-read all three books again, and again.
Anonymous 10 months ago