Yuval Noah Harari Quotes

Who is Yuval Noah Harari?

Yuval Noah Harari is an Israeli historian and professor at the University of Jerusalem who focuses on the influence of technology, religion and education on mankind.

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'.

Born February 24, 1976

Books by Yuval Noah Harari


Best 65 Quotes by Yuval Noah Harari | Page 1 of 3

“Animals are the main victims of history, and the treatment of domesticated animals in industrial farms is perhaps the worst crime in history.”

Yuval Noah Harari

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

Yuval Noah Harari

“Today more than ninety per cent of all large animals are domesticated. Consider the chicken, for example. Ten thousand years ago it was a rare bird confined to small niches of South Asia. Today billions of chickens live on almost every continent and island, bar Antarctica. The domesticated chicken is probably the most widespread bird in the annals of planet Earth. If you measure success in terms of numbers, chickens, cows and pigs are the most successful animals ever. Alas, domesticated species paid for their unparalleled collective success with unprecedented individual suffering.”

Yuval Noah Harari

21 Lessons for the 21st Century Quotes

“At present, people are happy to give away their most valuable asset — their personal data — in exchange for free email services and funny cat videos. It’s a bit like African and Native American tribes who unwittingly sold entire countries to European imperialists in exchange for colorful beads and cheap trinkets.”

Yuval Noah Harari
21 Lessons for the 21st Century

“Drinking lots of Coca-Cola will not make you young, will not make you healthy, and will not make you athletic – rather, it increases your chances of suffering from obesity and diabetes. Yet for decades Coca-Cola has invested billions of dollars in linking itself to youth, health and sports – and billions of humans subconsciously believe in this linkage.”

Yuval Noah Harari
21 Lessons for the 21st Century

“For years I lived under the impression that I was the master of my life, and the CEO of my own personal brand. But a few hours of meditation were enough to show me that I hardly had any control of myself. I was not the CEO – I was barely the gatekeeper. I was asked to stand at the gateway of my body – the nostrils – and just observe whatever comes in or goes out. Yet after a few moments I lost my focus and abandoned my post.”

Yuval Noah Harari
21 Lessons for the 21st Century

“Homo sapiens is just not built for satisfaction. Human happiness depends less on objective condition and more on our own expectations. Expectations, however, tend to adapt to conditions, including to the condition of other people. When things improve, expectations balloon, and consequently even dramatic improvement in conditions might leave us as dissatisfied as before.”

Yuval Noah Harari
21 Lessons for the 21st Century

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“Humans think in stories rather than in facts, numbers, or equations, and the simpler the story, the better.”

Yuval Noah Harari
21 Lessons for the 21st Century

“Humans were always far better at inventing tools than using them wisely.”

Yuval Noah Harari
21 Lessons for the 21st Century

“If you are really in love with someone, you never worry about the meaning of life.”

Yuval Noah Harari
21 Lessons for the 21st Century

“If you cannot afford to waste time, you will never find the truth.”

Yuval Noah Harari
21 Lessons for the 21st Century

“If you really want to understand yourself, you should not identify with your Facebook account or with the inner story of the self. Instead, you should observe the actual flow of body and mind. You will see thoughts, emotions and desires appear and disappear without much reason and without any command from you, just as different winds blow from this or that direction and mess up your hair. And just as you are not the winds, so also you are not the jumble of thoughts, emotions and desires you experience, and you are certainly not the sanitised story you tell about them with hindsight.

You experience all of them, but you don’t control them, you don’t own them, and you are not them. People ask ‘Who am I?’ and expect to be told a story. The first thing you need to know about yourself, is that you are not a story.”

Yuval Noah Harari
21 Lessons for the 21st Century

“If you want reliable information, pay good money for it. If you get your news for free, you might well be the product.”

Yuval Noah Harari
21 Lessons for the 21st Century

“If you want to know the truth about the universe, about the meaning of life, and about your own identity, the best place to start is by observing suffering and exploring what it is.”

Yuval Noah Harari
21 Lessons for the 21st Century

Products by Yuval Noah Harari

“In a world deluged by irrelevant information, clarity is power.”

Yuval Noah Harari
21 Lessons for the 21st Century

“In the age of Facebook and Instagram you can observe this myth-making process more clearly than ever before, because some of it has been outsourced from the mind to the computer. It is fascinating and terrifying to behold people who spend countless hours constructing and embellishing a perfect self online, becoming attached to their own creation, and mistaking it for the truth about themselves. That’s how a family holiday fraught with traffic jams, petty squabbles and tense silences becomes a collection of beautiful panoramas, perfect dinners and smiling faces; 99 per cent of what we experience never becomes part of the story of the self.”

Yuval Noah Harari
21 Lessons for the 21st Century

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“A male on the other hand can never get enough copulations with as many different females as possible: the word excess has no meaning for a male.”

The Selfish Gene


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“In the early twenty-first century, perhaps the most important artistic genre is science fiction. Very few people read the latest articles in the fields of machine learning or genetic engineering. Instead, movies such as The Matrix and Her and TV series such as Westworld and Black Mirror shape how people understand the most important technological, social and economic developments of our time.”

Yuval Noah Harari
21 Lessons for the 21st Century

“Individual humans know embarrassingly little about the world, and as history has progressed, they have come to know less and less. A hunter-gatherer in the Stone Age knew how to make her own clothes, how to start a fire, how to hunt rabbits, and how to escape lions. We think we know far more today, but as individuals, we actually know far less. We rely on the expertise of others for almost all our needs.”

Yuval Noah Harari
21 Lessons for the 21st Century

“Intelligence is the ability to solve problems. Consciousness is the ability to feel things such as pain, joy, love, and anger. We tend to confuse the two because in humans and other mammals intelligence goes hand in hand with consciousness. Mammals solve most problems by feeling things. Computers, however, solve problems in a very different way.”

Yuval Noah Harari
21 Lessons for the 21st Century

“It is particularly noteworthy that our fantasy self tends to be very visual, whereas our actual experiences are corporeal. In the fantasy, you observe a scene in your mind’s eye or on the computer screen. You see yourself standing on a tropical beach, the blue sea behind you, a big smile on your face, one hand holding a cocktail, the other arm around your lover’s waist. Paradise. What the picture does not show is the annoying fly that bites your leg, the cramped feeling in your stomach from eating that rotten fish soup, the tension in your jaw as you fake a big smile, and the ugly fight the happy couple had five minutes ago. If we could only feel what the people in the photos felt while taking them!”

Yuval Noah Harari
21 Lessons for the 21st Century

“It takes a lot of courage to fight biases and oppressive regimes, but it takes even greater courage to admit ignorance and venture into the unknown.”

Yuval Noah Harari
21 Lessons for the 21st Century

“Many movies about artificial intelligence are so divorced from scientific reality that one suspects they are just allegories of completely different concerns. Thus the 2015 movie Ex Machina seems to be about an AI expert who falls in love with a female robot only to be duped and manipulated by her. But in reality, this is not a movie about the human fear of intelligent robots. It is a movie about the male fear of intelligent women, and in particular the fear that female liberation might lead to female domination. Whenever you see a movie about an AI in which the AI is female and the scientist is male, it’s probably a movie about feminism rather than cybernetics. For why on earth would an AI have a sexual or a gender identity? Sex is a characteristic of organic multicellular beings. What can it possibly mean for a non-organic cybernetic being?”

Yuval Noah Harari
21 Lessons for the 21st Century

“Many pedagogical experts argue that schools should switch to teaching ‘the four Cs’ – critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. More broadly, schools should downplay technical skills and emphasise general-purpose life skills. Most important of all will be the ability to deal with change, to learn new things, and to preserve your mental balance in unfamiliar situations.”

Yuval Noah Harari
21 Lessons for the 21st Century

“Many people are afraid of the unknown, and want clear-cut answers for every question. Fear of the unknown can paralyse us more than any tyrant. People throughout history worried that unless we put all our faith in some set of absolute answers, human society will crumble. In fact, modern history has demonstrated that a society of courageous people willing to admit ignorance and raise difficult questions is usually not just more prosperous but also more peaceful than societies in which everyone must unquestioningly accept a single answer. People afraid of losing their truth tend to be more violent than people who are used to looking at the world from several different viewpoints.”

Yuval Noah Harari
21 Lessons for the 21st Century

“Morality doesn’t mean ‘following divine commands’. It means ‘reducing suffering’. Hence in order to act morally, you don’t need to believe in any myth or story. You just need to develop a deep appreciation of suffering.”

Yuval Noah Harari
21 Lessons for the 21st Century

“National, religious and cultural tensions are made worse by the grandiose feeling that my nation, my religion and my culture are the most important in the world – hence my interests should come before the interests of anyone else, or of humankind as a whole. How can we make nations, religions and cultures a bit more realistic and modest about their true place in the world?”

Yuval Noah Harari
21 Lessons for the 21st Century

“Not only rationality, but individuality too is a myth. Humans rarely think for themselves. Rather, we think in groups. Just as it takes a tribe to raise a child, it also takes a tribe to invent a tool, solve a conflict, or cure a disease. No individual knows everything it takes to build a cathedral, an atom bomb, or an aircraft. What gave Homo sapiens an edge over all other animals and turned us into the masters of the planet was not our individual rationality but our unparalleled ability to think together in large groups.”

Yuval Noah Harari
21 Lessons for the 21st Century

“One of the greatest fictions of all is to deny the complexity of the world and think in absolute terms.”

Yuval Noah Harari
21 Lessons for the 21st Century

Products by Yuval Noah Harari

“One potential remedy for human stupidity is a dose of humility.”

Yuval Noah Harari
21 Lessons for the 21st Century

“People fear that being trapped inside a box, they will miss out on all the wonders of the world. As long as Neo is stuck inside the matrix, and Truman is stuck inside the TV studio, they will never visit Fiji, or Paris, or Machu Picchu. But in truth, everything you will ever experience in life is within your own body and your own mind. Breaking out of the matrix or travelling to Fiji won’t make any difference. It’s not that somewhere in your mind there is an iron chest with a big red warning sign ‘Open only in Fiji!’ and when you finally travel to the South Pacific you get to open the chest, and out come all kinds of special emotions and feelings that you can have only in Fiji. And if you never visit Fiji in your life, then you missed these special feelings for ever. No. Whatever you can feel in Fiji, you can feel anywhere in the world; even inside the matrix.”

Yuval Noah Harari
21 Lessons for the 21st Century