21 Lessons For 21st Century

21 Lessons for the 21st Century – Yuval Noah Harari

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Bestselling author of the highly accessible and entertaining science genre books, Sapiens and Homo Deus, has released his third title: 21 Lessons for the 21st Century.

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Bestselling author of the highly accessible and entertaining science genre books, Sapiens and Homo Deus, has released his third title: 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. The previous two focused on our past and our future respectively, whereas in this book, Harari aims to provide some clarity, a coherent picture, of a world that is drowning in the information explosion. One of his central points is man’s historical use of the power of ‘fictions’ such as Liberalism, Capitalism, Religion, etc to unite and self-reinforce collectives. What we face now is the potential of having our realities shaped by big data algorithms which can create new fictions about how the world works.  We use art and metaphor to understand the world. Consider the increasingly relevant and politically influential role of say, science fiction, in our society. (The recent movie ‘Black Panther’ is a case in point.) Harari discusses the impacts of globalization, looking at the increasing levels of inequality between and among societies. He also reviews education and the need to restructure how we educate our children in more general life skills. Above all, the ability to become adaptable to the constant change wrought by rapid technological advance; to learn new things, to be receptive to new information, and to any necessary re-invention of one’s own identity to match the pace. These weighty issues are dealt with in a clear, absorbing way. Rather than leave the reader feeling anxious and/or depressed,  Harari concludes his insightful book with a look at the importance of the ancient practice of meditation to circumnavigate the ‘fictions’ in our minds; to connect with ourselves and life itself on a deeper,  more fundamental level.

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