September 11, 2018

Six Videos: A Preview of ‘21 Lessons for the 21st Century’


Yuval Noah Harari is the author of the non-fiction bestsellers Sapiens and Homo Deus. His most recent book is ‘21 Lessons for the 21st Century‘ — and it’s got a whole lot to say about our e-nvironment. This is a video preview; a full review is in the works. 

Like most great authors, Yuval Noah Harari helps us to imagine the new and reimagine the obvious. But unlike most greats, he does this using the more mundane technique: non-fiction books. There’s not a novel in sight in 21 Lessons for the 21st Century; well, not until you get to his chapter on religion.

I initially planned to write a comprehensive review of Harari’s book as quickly as possible. That idea was quickly abandoned. To do the 21 lessons contained in this book the justice they all deserve, this review can’t be rushed. Besides — and as I’m slowly learning — any intellectual smorgasbord is likely to appear all the more clearer if it’s given a bit of extra time to settle.

But for those of you who like to whet your appetites early, or for those who prefer their intellectual information provided to them by way of video, you’re in luck. In the year when 90% of Facebook’s content will be multimedia-based, book publishers have been swallowing their pride and relying on video to penetrate our attention. Here are six videos (and six related quotes) that demand our attention.

What is ’21 Lessons for the 21st Century’ all about?

“In a world deluged by irrelevant information, clarity is power… So, what should we be paying attention to?”

Are politicians doing enough?

“We now have a global ecology, a global economy and a global science — but we are stuck with only national politics.”

What would Harari’s advice be for today’s children?

“Don’t rely on the adults too much. Most of them mean well, but they just don’t understand the world.”

What is the most important question we face today?

“If liberalism, nationalism, Islam or some novel creed wishes to shape the world of the year 2050, it will need not only to make sense of AI, Big Data algorithms and bioengineering — it will also need to incorporate them in a new meaningful narrative.

Why is data so important?

“Many people might share the fate not of nineteenth-century wagon drivers — who switched to driving taxis — but of nineteenth-century horses, who were increasingly pushed out of the job market altogether.”

Is liberal democracy doomed?

“A bit like the soviet elite in the 1980s, liberals don’t understand how history deviated from its preordained course, and they lack an alternative prism to interpret reality.”

If you want a copy of 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, you can buy it here.

For more information on the man and the book, head over to Harari’s website.