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About the book
  • Published: 4 September 2014
  • ISBN: 9781448190690
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 512


A Brief History of Humankind: (Patterns of Life)

What makes us brilliant? What makes us deadly? What makes us Sapiens? This bestselling history of our species challenges everything we know about being human.

**Over 2 million copies sold**
**The Sunday Times #1 bestseller**

FIRE gave us power

FARMING made us hungry for more

MONEY gave us purpose

SCIENCE made us deadly

This is the thrilling account of our extraordinary history – from insignificant apes to rulers of the world.

  • Pub date: 4 September 2014
  • ISBN: 9781448190690
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 512

About the Author

Yuval Noah Harari

Prof Yuval Noah Harari has a PhD in History from the University of Oxford and now lectures at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, specialising in World History. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind has become an international phenomenon attracting a legion of fans from Bill Gates and Barack Obama to Chris Evans and Jarvis Cocker, and is published in over forty-five languages worldwide. It was a Sunday Times Number One bestseller and was in the Top Ten for over nine months in paperback. His follow-up to Sapiens, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow was also a Top Ten Bestseller and was described by the Guardian as ‘even more readable, even more important, than his excellent Sapiens’.

Also by Yuval Noah Harari

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Praise for Sapiens

“I would recommend Sapiens to anyone who’s interested in the history and future of our species”

Bill Gates

“Interesting and provocative… It gives you a sense of how briefly we’ve been on this Earth”

Barack Obama

“Jaw-dropping from the first word to the last… It may be the best book I’ve ever read”

Chris Evans

“Tackles the biggest questions of history and the modern world… Written in unforgettably vivid language”

Jared Diamond

“Startling... It changes the way you look at the world”

Simon Mayo

“Sapiens is a starburst of a book, as enjoyable as it is stimulating”

Sunday Express

“One of the best books I’ve read recently… Gives an excellent overview of how our species has developed”

Lily Cole

“Sweeps the cobwebs out of your brain… Radiates power and clarity, making the world strange and new”

Sunday Times

“Sapiens is packed with heretical thinking and surprising facts. This riveting, myth-busting book cannot be summarised in any detail; you will simply have to read it”

John Gray, Financial Times

“Here is a simple reason why Sapiens has risen explosively to the ranks of an international best-seller. It tackles the biggest questions of history and of the modern world, and it is written in unforgettably vivid language. You will love it!”

Jared Diamond

“What’s unique about Harari’s take is that he focuses on the power of stories and myths to bring people together... I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a fun, engaging look at early human history... Harari tells our history in such an approachable way that you’ll have a hard time putting it down”

Bill Gates

“What makes it so interesting and provocative is that because it’s such a condensed sweeping history it talks about some core things that have allowed us to build this extraordinary civilisation that we take for granted, but weren’t a given, and it gives you a sense of perspective in how briefly we’ve been on this Earth”

Barack Obama, CNN

“Sapiens is the sort of book that sweeps the cobwebs out of your brain. Its author, Yuval Noah Harari, is a young Israeli academic and an intellectual acrobat whose logical leaps have you gasping with admiration...Harari's writing radiates power and clarity, making the world strange and new”

John Carey, The Sunday Times

“Unbelievably good book. Jaw dropping from the first word to the last.”

Chris Evans, BBC Radio 2

“A rare book...thrilling and breathtaking”


“Harari is able to be as refreshingly clear in his discussions of biology, of evolutionary anthropology and of economics as he is of historical trends… Stick with him and you learn a lot”

Daily Telegraph

“Reading it is like having a mental massage, cold shower and brisk workout, and all in the comfort of your own home”

Esther Rantzen, Mail on Sunday

“Full of shocking and wondrous stories”

Sunday Times

“Consistently engaging…Harari writes prose that leaps from the page. His broad sweep, collating philosophy, science, history and economics, creates moments of eyebrow-raising revelation for a reader from any background”

New Statesman

“Sapiens is a fast-paced, witty and challenging romp through 70,000 years of human history...I did love it, and if you are interested in the whole story of humankind, I'm confident that you will love it too”

Literary Review

“Provocative and fascinating and opinionated…it makes the familiar seem unfamiliar. It altered how I view our species and our world.”

Mohsin Hamid, Guardian

“Harari delivers a boldly synthesized account of Homo sapiens' rise through the hominin ranks...A view of our ascent as nasty, brutish, long - and endlessly fascinating”


“Harari can write. Not in the sense that most authors can...But really, really write, with wit, clarity, elegance and a wonderful eye for metaphor”

The Times

“Provocative, thrilling erudite… One of the year’s most talked-about books”


“Its breadth is startling... It changes the way you look at the world and few books tick that box.”

Simon Mayo, Daily Express

“Probably the most ambitious history book of the year. Certainly the most thought-provoking”

Dan Jones, Evening Standard - Books of the Year

“As a writer, Harari is superbly clear. He’s also a formidable polymath and a wonderfully elegant thinker... He is a brilliant analyst with a storyteller’s gift”

William Leith, Evening Standard

“I have just read Yuval Noah Harari's book Sapiens. It is brilliant. Most likely the best - and I have read very many - on the history of humankind. I have never read anything better”

Henning Mankell

“We usually think that we are an outcome of our personal history, where we grew up, the way our parents educated us, etc. In Sapiens, Harari delves deep into our history as a species to help us understand who we are and what made us this way. An engrossing read.”

Dan Ariely, New York Times Bestselling author of Predictably Irrational

“Eloquent and wonderfully funny”


“This is mega-history of the best sort: sweeping but not simplistic, contemporary but not gimmicky, provocative but not contrarian. Almost everyone will want to argue with one part of this book or another, but working out which part and why will do us all good.”

Dr Steven Gunn

“For its sheer originality and intellectual stimulation, I was captivated by Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens”

Matthew d’Ancona, Evening Standard - Books of the Year

“That fellow connected an awful lot of dots in that work. I thought the book would be a dense read, a slog, with a struggle for my brain on every page. I had a highlighter ready to mark the more pavement-thick paragraphs I’d have to go back and re-ponder. Instead, I flew through it like it was a nonfiction The Thorn Birds. Does that mean I’m getting smarter?”

Tom Hanks, New York Times

“Ambitious and invigorating”

Charlotte Heathcote, Sunday Express

“Harari’s book is important reading for serious-minded, self-reflective sapiens”

Avi Tuschman, Washington Post Sunday

“Brilliantly done and endlessly fascinating”

Reader’s Digest

“Vast and intricate... Engaging and informative”


“A thrilling account of humankind’s extraordinary history”

Jersey Evening Post

“The book is maddeningly opinionated and insanely ambitious. It is also compulsively readable and impossibly learned. It is one of the best accounts by a Homo sapiens of the unlikely story of our violent, accomplished species”

Michael Gerson, Washington Post

“An enthusiastic and confident narrative that is relentlessly interesting from the first word to the last”

UK Press Syndication

“The most exciting book I’ve read this year”

Rory MacLean, Geographical

“One of the most talked about non-fiction bestsellers of the year... Harari is one of the very few thinkers around who’s really looking at what’s happening now. Sapiens is his attempt to tell the story of the past to understand the present: the great technological advances that we are all living through now”


“Eloquent and provocative”

Mail on Sunday

“A headclutchingly provocative account of our species from the Stone Age to the present... Stunningly ambitious and compellingly written. They call it macro-history. They’re right.”

David Sexton, Evening Standard


Chris Skinner, Financial Services Club Blog

“Contains a remarkable piece of information on almost every page and reminds us that we should be grateful to be human.”

Matt Haig, Observer


Sunday Times

“I would recommend Sapiens to anyone who’s interested in the history and future of our species.”

Bill Gates

“Read with an open mind and you might look at life in a whole new way.”

How it Works

“A dark and thrilling epic.”

Rachel Hadas, Times Literary Supplement, Book of the Year

“A dark and thrilling epic.”

Rachel Hadas, Times Literary Supplement, Book of the Year

“I have continued to be driven bonkers by my current obsession: Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, an extraordinary tome that charts the plight of the planet’s most destructive species since the dawn of time: us. Every paragraph gives you pause for thought, as it catalogues how nuts human beings really are… It may be the best book I’ve ever read; it’s certainly fascinating.”

Chris Evans, Mail on Sunday

“This doesn’t make you feel clever; it makes you feel included. It’s written so brilliantly… He’s written about the human family as a family.”

Marcus Brigstocke, Shortlist

“It's one of the best books I’ve read recently and gives an excellent overview of how our species has developed and helps us understand why and who we are today.”

Lily Cole, Hello!

“A sweeping account of the history of our species, written in vivid prose.”

Matthew Syed, The Times

“It rattles along, firing glitter-coated bullets of wisdom as it goes. If Carlsberg made professors, they’d have fashioned them thus. You’ll never have quite as much fun while learning so much.”

Lynne Barrett-Lee, Western Mail

“Reading this wonderful book feels like looking at life down the bigger end of the telescope. Its scope – which incorporates the history of our species and the question of what the future may have in store – is so magisterial, one has an increasingly godlike feeling while reading it.”

Gavin Turk, Week

“An absolute trove that everyone who wants to understand everything from human evolution to diet, religions and limited liability companies should read.”

Sally Moussawi, Pool

“Opening up a controversial topic with spirit and thoroughness, Sapiens will challenge your preconceptions, provoke discussion and, most importantly, push you to think for yourself… Bold and provocative.”

Women's Running

“A brilliant, interdisciplinary account of the past and future of our species… Some of Harari’s most interesting points are the ways in which the fundamental, unchanging traits that make us human (emotions, desires) relate to the modern world. Essential reading for any liberal arts degree.”

Francesca Carington, Tatler

“In the unlikely event you haven’t already read it and…fancy learning some cool new stuff in a fun way, I wholeheartedly recommend it to you.”

Jenny Colgan, Spectator

“It’s so intense that you have to read a bit then have a rest. It has brilliant passages, such as where he argues humans became enslaved by agriculture. Vivid and invigorating.”

Bill Bailey, Daily Express

“It succeeds through its eclectic scope, its readability, and its author’s willingness to offer ethical judgements”

Martin Rees, Observer

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