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Friday, December 3, 2021

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Reviewed: 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari


Yuval Noah Harari is the spectacularly successful author of “Sapiens” and “Home Deus”. “Sapiens” observes and comments on the history of mankind while his second book “Homo Deus”, looks at the future of the world and its significant challenges. In this, his third book, he explores 21 of the most complex challenges facing us in the 21st century.

He writes an introduction that starts with the following sentence:
“In a world deluged by irrelevant information clarity is power” He then goes on to say that anyone can join in the debate about humanity, but that it is hard to establish and maintain a clear vision.

In the first part of the book, he explores some of the most potent challenges facing humanity. He comments particularly on where the revolutions in infotech and biotech will eventually be taking us. Harari notes that they will push billions of people out of the job markets and that they could undermine liberty and equality. Big Data algorithms may create dictatorships where all the power is in the hands of the privileged few. The rest of humanity will be totally dominated.

In the second and third parts of the book, he offers some potential responses to the challenges. He concludes by suggesting that mankind can overcome its most significant problems, including terrorism and global war if we work together.

In the fourth and fifth parts, he addresses several philosophical issues and debates about potential solutions.

Why you should read it.

Harari is a penetrating thinker and has bravely managed to address a significant number of the earth and mankind’s overpowering concerns. Eventually, he ends his journey by describing the shortcomings of liberal democracy, the system which we have eventually embraced.He says it is the best we have, and we must allow it to work as well as possible. It’s prudent for all of us to have our beliefs challenged form time to time. It keeps the mind and the rebuttals sharp. Read this book if you’re looking for a grindstone.

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Amazon rating at time of publishing 4.4
Goodreads rating at time of publishing 4.8
Relevance to Reset
Johann is the founding partner of Reset Retirement where we focus on assisting people with planning for the non-financial aspects of their lives after full-time work. He had a long career in executive search and leadership as the founding partner and chairman of Heidrick & Struggles in South Africa where he was the head of the company’s board practice.


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