Lessons for our world
21 Lessons for the 21st Century By Yuval Noah Harari, Penguin Random House, $38 ..
We live in difficult times.
Yes, we appear to have conquered some big issues like plenty of killer diseases, technology is leaping ahead and we can fly around the world in no time (even if it’s exhausting).
But now what? There’s still the constant threat of nuclear war, environmental issues may prove our undoing, and technology may be racing away faster than we can comprehend it.
Harari has an interesting view, and it’s not a difficult read. An Israeli academic, he has written a couple of bestsellers about human history much praised by people like Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg. Now he takes a look at our present. He analyses technology — what it will mean for jobs, how Big Data is watching us. He discusses politics, religion and secularism. He urges us not to panic about terrorism, and puts it into perspective. Traffic accidents have a higher death toll, he says.
There’s fake news, immigration and how to stay sane in a constantly changing world. There’s meditation and education and science fiction.
It might sound weighty, but it’s not. Harari writes in an easy flowing readable style. Dip in and out of this provocative book and contemplate.