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Cover image for 21 Lessons for the 21st Century
by Yuval Noah Harari

21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

saifuddinss profile image Saifuddin Slatewala ・2 min read

Based on all the rave reviews, I thought at first maybe I had missed something until Bill Gates' 3 star review confirmed my initial opinion.

I enjoyed Part 1 about the technological challenges humans will be faced with and how we can adapt. It reminded me that I need to read Homo Deus which hopefully will satisfy that craving for me.

The rest of the book was more political, religious and philosophical than I usually go for. The title misrepresented the content of the book as there are 21 chapters, not 21 lessons.

Part I: The Technological Challenge

  1. DISILLUSIONMENT The end of history has been postponed
  2. WORK When you grow up, you might not have a job
  3. LIBERTY Big Data is watching you
  4. EQUALITY Those who own the data own the future

Part II: The Political Challenge

  1. COMMUNITY Humans have bodies
  2. CIVILISATION There is just one civilisation in the world
  3. NATIONALISM Global problems need global answers
  4. RELIGION God now serves the nation
  5. IMMIGRATION Some cultures might be better than others

Part III: Despair and Hope

  1. TERRORISM Don’t panic
  2. WAR Never underestimate human stupidity
  3. HUMILITY You are not the centre of the world
  4. GOD Don’t take the name of God in vain
  5. SECULARISM Acknowledge your shadow

Part IV: Truth

  1. IGNORANCE You know less than you think
  2. JUSTICE Our sense of justice might be out of date
  3. POST-TRUTH Some fake news lasts for ever
  4. SCIENCE FICTION The future is not what you see in the movies

Part V: Resilience

  1. EDUCATION Change is the only constant
  2. MEANING Life is not a story
  3. MEDITATION Just observe

By the end of the book, Harari has fallen into repetitive religion bashing and his main "answer" / overall summary as a solution ... meditation. Okay ... Now I'm not a fan of organized religion by a long shot, but this last portion gave me strong editorial rant vibes.

It's almost like Harari used up all his academic prowess in Sapiens, with each book moving farther afield from sound research to personal tirades and guesstimations.

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