21 Lessons for the 21st Century

by Yuval Noah Harari · read December 22, 2022


You know those perfume sampler sets, where you get half a dozen tiny perfume bottles, and you can try them out and then swap one in for the full size? This felt like the book version of that, but someone needs to design the swapping in part, where you can get another book that explores in depth what its 'sampler' chapter introduced.

Brilliant idea aside — this book was a lot like Sapiens: readable and very broad. A few of the chapters really piqued my interest, and it was a good way to spend a commute day. I wish that he had offered more opinion in the ‘meaning of life’ chapter, but I guess I'll just keep looking.

You can help somebody, and that somebody will subsequently help somebody else, and you thereby contribute to the overall improvement of the world, and constitute a small link in the great chain of kindness. … Though it has its merits, the great chain of kindness is a bit like the great chain of turtles—it is far from clear where its meaning comes from. A wise old man was asked what he learned about the meaning of life. ‘Well,’ he answered, ‘I have learned that I am here on earth in order to help other people. What I still haven’t figured out is why the other people are here.’

Julia Cooke © 2023