Book Review | 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

Updated: Jun 29, 2020

Birth: February 24, 1976, Kiryat Ata, Israel

21 Lessons for the 21st Century
21 Lessons for the 21st Century - 2018

Yuval Noah Harari, an Israeli historian, philosopher and writer, was born in 1976. He completed his doctorate in history at Oxford University in 2002. He is currently teaching world history at the Faculty of Humanities at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at the Department of History.

And he is the author of worldwide bestseller books such as "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind", "Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow" and "21 Lessons for the 21st Century".

In 2019, Itzik Yahav and Yuval Noah Harari founded "Sapienship", whose mission is to clarify global conversation, focus attention on the most important challenges and support the search for solutions.


When I saw Yuval Noah Harari‘s third book, I had some concerns. Because it is not easy to write in such a short time another great book after amazing Sapiens and Homo Deus.

It's not as refreshing as Homo Deus was, but still as good as the others. It seems that if you've read one book of Harari's cycle you'll see repetition in other parts of the cycle due to the themes and author's style - even if they are not really there. And since I agree with most of Hariri's views about religion, I can say that I found what I was looking for in the book, but this will not apply to everyone, because Harari regards religious sources as completely human products. It's 21 monologues about current and not so current problem's we're facing or will face in XXI century. If you are tired a bit from business books and want to switch gears without keeping it too light, it might be a good fit. But if you haven't read Harari before, you should read the books chronologically (Sapiens, Homo Deus and this book)


“In a world deluged by irrelevant information, clarity is power.” /Yuval Noah Harari
“At present, people are happy to give away their most valuable asset—their personal data—in exchange for free email services and funny cat videos. It’s a bit like African and Native American tribes who unwittingly sold entire countries to European imperialists in exchange for colorful beads and cheap trinkets.” /Yuval Noah Harari
“We should never underestimate human stupidity. Both on the personal and on the collective level, humans are prone to engage in self-destructive activities.” /Yuval Noah Harari
“Philosophers are very patient people, but engineers are far less patient, and investors are the least patient of all.” /Yuval Noah Harari
“Homo sapiens is just not built for satisfaction. Human happiness depends less on objective condition and more on our own expectations. Expectations, however, tend to adapt to conditions, including to the condition of other people. When things improve, expectations balloon, and consequently even dramatic improvement in conditions might leave us as dissatisfied as before.” /Yuval Noah Harari

Yuval Noah Harari Quotes
“Humans think in stories rather than in facts, numbers, or equations, and the simpler the story, the better.”

“One potential remedy for human stupidity is a dose of humility. National, religious and cultural tensions are made worse by the grandiose feeling that my nation, my religion and my culture are the most important in the world – hence my interests should come before the interests of anyone else, or of humankind as a whole. How can we make nations, religions and cultures a bit more realistic and modest about their true place in the world?” /Yuval Noah Harari
“Questions you cannot answer are usually far better for you than answers you cannot question.” /Yuval Noah Harari
“Morality doesn’t mean ‘following divine commands’. It means ‘reducing suffering’. Hence in order to act morally, you don’t need to believe in any myth or story. You just need to develop a deep appreciation of suffering.” /Yuval Noah Harari
“Silence isn’t neutrality; it is supporting the status-quo.” /Yuval Noah Harari
“Humans were always far better at inventing tools than using them wisely.” /Yuval Noah Harari

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