I finally read 'Sapiens,' the book that Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg both recommend to everyone - and I get why Silicon Valley loves it so much
- Go to any Silicon Valley party, and chance are pretty good you'll hear someone talking about "Sapiens," a book about the past and future of humanity by Yuval Noah Harari.
- Harari's "Sapiens" was first released in English in 2014, and not long after found itself on recommended reading lists of industry giants like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. It was even recently poked fun at as a total cliche among Silicon Valley venture capitalists.
- After finally managing to make my way through it, the tech industry's fascination with the book made a whole lot more sense.
- Below are my biggest takeaways from "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind."
It's basically a Silicon Valley cliche at this point: Talk to anyone who works in tech, and chances are pretty good they'll recommend you a copy of "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind," by Israeli author Yuval Noah Harari."Sapiens" was first released in English in 2014 - and has since then found itself on the recommended reading lists of tech titans like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. In fact, in 2016, Bill Gates wrote that he went so far as to ask his wife, Melinda Gates, to pack a copy of the book on vacation.Advertisement
"It's so provocative and raises so many questions about human history that I knew it would spark great conversations around the dinner table," Gates wrote. "It didn't disappoint."In the years since, it's only become more ubiquitous, to the point where it's become a punchline. VC Starter Kit, a satirical website, sells a $500 package that includes a Patagonia vest, Allbirds sneakers - and copies of Peter Thiel's "Zero to One" and, of course, "Sapiens."
Over the years, I've heard about "Sapiens" so much that I often find myself in disbelief.Really?Every single person in Silicon Valley loves the same 400+ page anthropological deep-dive into the history of humankind? It was hard to wrap my head around. Advertisement
I know, I know. I'm years late to the party. But still, I was curious.
And after finally slogging through it, the tech industry's fascination with the book made a whole lot more sense.Here's are my biggest takeaways from "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind." Advertisement
The book posits that humans are powerful because we can tell stories.
We may have been better off before the Industrial Revolution, Harari writes.Advertisement
Human happiness may just be a matter of expectations, the book suggests.
Overall, Sapiens was a nice break from reading about the tech world, and perhaps that's why everyone in Silicon Valley is so obsessed.Advertisement
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