David Mytton

Book Review (4/5) – 21 Lessons for the 21st Century (Yuval Noah Harari)

Published (updated: ) in Book Reviews. Tags: .

Originally published on Goodreads.

The first and last few chapters really make this book worth reading, but you have to get through some less compelling chapters in the middle. Perhaps this is because the beginning and end deal more with subject areas I have a particular connection to, but I felt that the discussion of war, god, terrorism and secularism to be somewhat of a digression outside Harari’s area of expertise and knowledge. In contrast, the sections on technological and political challenges really get into asking some crucial questions.

Indeed, this is a book of questions more than answers. I’m not sure what the “lessons” are, but it is certainly an important work for beginning the discussion about how we should solve many of the problems that we will be facing in coming years. Not enough people are thinking about the long term and my main takeaway was that humans tend to solve for past problems, but the challenges of the future are usually novel enough that those solutions don’t help much. 

It will be interesting to see what inspiration other derive from Harari and where he takes his work next.