Who on Earth is Yuval Noah Harari?

Yuval Noah Harari is an Israeli historian and professor at the University of Jerusalem. Harari is known for the bestselling books Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century.

Books by Yuval Noah Harari

Quotes by Yuval Noah Harari

“Biology enables, Culture forbids.”

Yuval Noah Harari Sapiens

“Consistency is the playground of dull minds.”

Yuval Noah Harari Sapiens

“Culture tends to argue that it forbids only that which is unnatural. But from a biological perspective, nothing is unnatural. Whatever is possible is by definition also natural. A truly unnatural behaviour, one that goes against the laws of nature, simply cannot exist, so it would need no prohibition.”

Yuval Noah Harari Sapiens

“Domesticated chickens and cattle may well be an evolutionary success story, but they are also among the most miserable creatures that ever lived. ”

Yuval Noah Harari Sapiens

“Each year the US population spends more money on diets than the amount needed to feed all the hungry people in the rest of the world.”

Yuval Noah Harari Sapiens

“Ever since the Cognitive Revolution, Sapiens have thus been living in a dual reality. On the one hand, the objective reality of rivers, trees and lions; and on the other hand, the imagined reality of gods, nations and corporations. As time went by, the imagined reality became ever more powerful, so that today the very survival of rivers, trees and lions depends on the grace of imagined entities such as the United States and Google.”

Yuval Noah Harari Sapiens

“Happiness does not really depend on objective conditions of either wealth, health or even community. Rather, it depends on the correlation between objective conditions and subjective expectations.”

Yuval Noah Harari Sapiens

“How do you cause people to believe in an imagined order such as Christianity, democracy or capitalism? First, you never admit that the order is imagined.”

Yuval Noah Harari Sapiens

“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.”

Yuval Noah Harari Sapiens

“In the past, censorship worked by blocking the flow of information. In the twenty-first century, censorship works by flooding people with irrelevant information. In ancient times having power meant having access to data. Today having power means knowing what to ignore.”

Yuval Noah Harari Homo Deus

“Money is the most universal and most efficient system of mutual trust ever devised.”

Yuval Noah Harari Sapiens

“One of history’s few iron laws is that luxuries tend to become necessities and to spawn new obligations.”

Yuval Noah Harari Sapiens

“Our language evolved as a way of gossiping.”

Yuval Noah Harari Sapiens

“People are usually afraid of change because they fear the unknown. But the single greatest constant of history is that everything changes.”

Yuval Noah Harari Homo Deus

“Religion is a deal, whereas spirituality is a journey.”

Yuval Noah Harari

“Sapiens can cooperate in extremely flexible ways with countless numbers of strangers. That’s why Sapiens rule the world, whereas ants eat our leftovers and chimps are locked up in zoos and research laboratories.”

Yuval Noah Harari Sapiens

“Sugar is now more dangerous than gunpowder.”

Yuval Noah Harari Homo Deus

“The greatest scientific discovery was the discovery of ignorance. Once humans realized how little they knew about the world, they suddenly had a very good reason to seek new knowledge, which opened up the scientific road to progress.”

Yuval Noah Harari Homo Deus

“This is the best reason to learn history: not in order to predict the future, but to free yourself of the past and imagine alternative destinies. Of course this is not total freedom – we cannot avoid being shaped by the past. But some freedom is better than none.”

Yuval Noah Harari Homo Deus

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

Yuval Noah Harari Sapiens

“We did not domesticate wheat. It domesticated us.”

Yuval Noah Harari Sapiens

“We do not become satisfied by leading a peaceful and prosperous existence. Rather, we become satisfied when reality matches our expectations. The bad news is that as conditions improve, expectations balloon.”

Yuval Noah Harari Homo Deus

“You could never convince a monkey to give you a banana by promising him limitless bananas after death in monkey heaven.”

Yuval Noah Harari Sapiens

“You want to know how super-intelligent cyborgs might treat ordinary flesh-and-blood humans? Better start by investigating how humans treat their less intelligent animal cousins. It’s not a perfect analogy, of course, but it is the best archetype we can actually observe rather than just imagine.”

Yuval Noah Harari Homo Deus