Books Non-Fiction

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari | Book Report


  • You’d like to learn (or relearn) how everything began
  • You’re interested in learning about history, science and technology
  • Gusto mong magalit (?) sa sarili nating species

Reading about how humans and animals came about and how numerous species are now extinct because of humans, naisip ko sana hindi na lang naging super evolved ang humans. Para hindi tayo nag-cause ng major damage sa nature. Sana tulad na lang noong primitive times na nag co-exist na lang lahat ng creatures. Eh kasi nga since nagkaron tayo ng unique ability to be reasonable and logical, naging ang thinking ng humans noon ay “It’s us or them.” Kaso diba normal naman yung may predator and prey. So kung nagiging prey ang humans minsan, eh wala, yun talaga yung cycle of life eh. Natural naman na ipagtanggol ng humans ang mga sarili nila pero sana nagkaron ng control. Hindi sana naging greedy. Para hindi nagkaganito.

Everytime na nababanggit dun sa book na sobrang daming species ang na-extinct, naaapektohan ako. Sana naging content na lang yung mga tao noon. Pero since naging matalino nga sila at nagkaron sila ng capacity to do a lot of things, hindi nila napigilan. Pero okay din naman na nag-explore sila and na-reach nila yung potential nila. Kaso sa sobrang naging advanced na ang pagiisip nila at patalino sila ng patalino, naging unstoppable na sila without thinking that these animals consider Earth as their home too. Ughh sobrang naaawa ako sa kanila. Wala silang kamalay-malay.

Sobrang daming topics and diniscuss sa book na ‘to. At times when I’m reading the book, mapapatigil na lang talaga ko kasi information overload talaga. Pero thank you sa highlights, madali kong mababalikan yung mga information na naging interesado ako.

Ang daming kong natutunan at nadiscover while reading the book:


  • The meaning of Homo sapiens. Homo means man. Sapiens, wise.
  • Homo erectus survived for about 2 million years before they went extinct. They’re the “most durable human species ever” as the author states. Us, Homo sapiens are only 200,000 years old. The author thinks that we will become extinct after a thousand years, so he thinks that 2 million years is “out of our league.” Mapapaisip ka and maybe mapapa-agree sa pagka-pessimistic nung author.
  • This unique species called Homo floresiensis were dwarves (max height of 1 meter, max weight 25kg). They were able to survive kahit na-trap sila dun sa island kasi since maliit sila, they don’t need much to survive.
  • Humans focused their energy to make use of their brains and think instead of developing muscles. Kaya daw tumalino ang humans.

A chimpanzee can’t win an argument with a Homo sapiens, but the ape can rip the man apart like a rag doll.

  • Humans are born premature. Kaya daw ang babies sobrang helpless compared to other mammals (like kittens) na ilang weeks lang after ipanganak, kaya na nilang mag-survive on their own. Kaya daw naging premature kasi since patalino ng patalino ang humans, palaki ng palaki ang utak nila, therefore palaki ng palaki yung ulo nila. To the point na nahirapan na ang mothers na ilabas sila.

Death in childbirth became a major hazard for human females. Women who gave birth earlier, when the infants brain and head were still relatively small and supple, fared better and lived to have more children. Natural selection consequently favoured earlier births. And, indeed, compared to other animals, humans are born prematurely, when many of their vital systems are still under-developed. A kitten leaves its mother to forage on its own when it is just a few weeks old. Human babies are helpless, dependent for many years on their elders for sustenance, protection and education.

  • Why men became social animals. At dahil nga helpless ang mga babies, kelangan nakatutok ang mga nanay sa pagaalaga. So yung mga mamshies na naiwan habang nagha-hunt yung mga kalalakihan, they are left with themselves at wala silang choice kundi chumika.

This fact has contributed greatly both to humankind’s extraordinary social abilities and to its unique social problems. Lone mothers could hardly forage enough food for their offspring and themselves with needy children in tow. Raising children required constant help from other family members and neighbours. It takes a tribe to raise a human. Evolution thus favoured those capable of forming strong social ties.

  • Humans destroyed the ecosystem. Noon nasa middle lang tayo ng food chain. Pero dahil ulit sa katalinuhan ng humans, ang bilis nating umangat sa top, unlike other animals daw na it took millions of years for them to evolve para mapunta sa taas, kaya nakaka-adapt pa somehow yung ibang animals kasi they’re given enough time. Pero nung tayo na ang napunta sa top ng ganun lang kabilis, hindi makahabol yung ibang animals kaya naging masama ang dulot nya sa ecosystem 😢

That spectacular leap from the middle to the top had enormous consequences. Other animals at the top of the pyramid, such as lions and sharks, evolved into that position very gradually, over millions of years. This enabled the ecosystem to develop checks and balances that prevent lions and sharks from wreaking too much havoc. As lions became deadlier, so gazelles evolved to run faster, hyenas to cooperate better, and rhinoceroses to be more bad-tempered. In contrast, humankind ascended to the top so quickly that the ecosystem was not given time to adjust.

Having so recently been one of the underdogs of the savannah, we are full of fears and anxieties over our position, which makes us doubly cruel and dangerous.

  • Farmers vs Foragers. Diniscuss ni author how foragers benefit more sa different types of food na nakakain nila compared nung natuto nang magtanim ang mga tao. Na-stuck ang farmers sa kung ano lang yung kaya nilang itanim (rice and potatoes lang for example).

The foragers’ secret of success, which protected them from starvation and malnutrition, was their varied diet. Farmers tend to eat a very limited and unbalanced diet.

  • Naging talamak ang diseases after Agricultural Revolution. Medyo mas guminhawa nga ang buhay nung natuto na silang magtanim at magdomesticate ng mga hayop, pero nagdulot naman ‘to ng mga sakit.

Ancient foragers also suffered less from infectious diseases. Most of the infectious diseases that have plagued agricultural and industrial societies (such as smallpox, measles and tuberculosis) originated in domesticated animals and were transferred to humans only after the Agricultural Revolution.

Moreover, most people in agricultural and industrial societies lived in dense, unhygienic permanent settlements – ideal hotbeds for disease. Foragers roamed the land in small bands that could not sustain epidemics.

  • Farming eventually caused a lot of hardships and it also resulted to increased population. Ang dami na nilang kelangan pakainin kaya kelangan nilang magtrabaho ng extra hard, andyan pa din yung mga diseases, at since iniimbak nila yung mga ani nila, naka-attract tuloy ng mga thieves so kelangan ulit nilang mag-work hard para magtayo ng walls para maprotektahan nila yung ani nila. So ang dami na nila masyadong isipin when initially, akala nila, mas dadali ang buhay nung natuto na silang magtanim.

This is the essence of the Agricultural Revolution: the ability to keep more people alive under worse conditions.

Then why didn’t humans abandon farming when the plan backfired? Partly because it took generations for the small changes to accumulate and transform society and, by then, nobody remembered that they had ever lived differently.

The pursuit of an easier life resulted in much hardship, and not for the last time. It happens to us today. How many young college graduates have taken demanding jobs in high-powered firms, vowing that they will work hard to earn money that will enable them to retire and pursue their real interests when they are thirty-five? But by the time they reach that age, they have large mortgages, children to school, houses in the suburbs that necessitate at least two cars per family, and a sense that life is not worth living without really good wine and expensive holidays abroad. What are they supposed to do, go back to digging up roots? No, they double their efforts and keep slaving away.

One of history’s few iron laws is that luxuries tend to become necessities and to spawn new obligations. Once people get used to a certain luxury, they take it for granted. Then they begin to count on it. Finally they reach a point where they can’t live without it.

  • Advancements don’t always mean a simple life. Parang sinasabi dito na masyado nating hinahabol yung convenience pero hindi natin nari-realize na sa huli, mas nakaka-cause pa sya ng inconvenience and anxiety.

Let’s take another familiar example from our own time… Nowadays I can dash off an email, send it halfway around the globe, and (if my addressee is online) receive a reply a minute later. I’ve saved all that trouble and time, but do I live a more relaxed life?

Sadly not. Back in the snail-mail era, people usually only wrote letters when they had something important to relate. Rather than writing the first thing that came into their heads, they considered carefully what they wanted to say and how to phrase it. They expected to receive a similarly considered answer. Most people wrote and received no more than a handful of letters a month and seldom felt compelled to reply immediately. Today I receive dozens of emails each day, all from people who expect a prompt reply. We thought we were saving time; instead we revved up the treadmill of life to ten times its former speed and made our days more anxious and agitated.

  • Farming gave birth to kingdoms. Since may abundance na of food and resources, dito nabuo ang villages. Villages became towns and then naging cities and so on. Kaso sa dami ng resources nila, nagkagulo naman sila sa division and distribution.

It was not food shortages that caused most of history’s wars and revolutions. The French Revolution was spearheaded by affluent lawyers, not by famished peasants.

  • Myths helped humans to be united and be more cooperative.

[Sobrang dami paaaa. To be continued.]


When Charles Darwin indicated that Homo sapiens was just another kind of animal, people were outraged. Even today many refuse to believe it. Had the Neanderthals survived, would we still imagine ourselves to be a creature apart? Perhaps this is exactly why our ancestors wiped out the Neanderthals. They were too familiar to ignore, but too different to tolerate.

Sapiens can cooperate in extremely flexible ways with countless numbers of strangers. That’s why Sapiens rule the world…

Click to view my digital book shelf.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s