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5 Facts From The Book Sapiens You Need To Know

Yuval Noah Harari dives into the history of humankind, including how exactly life as we know it came to be. Here’s what you need to know from his book, Sapiens.
by Vanessa Gibbs | Jul 21 2022
The Book SapiensYuval Noah Harari is a historian, philosopher, and professor, but he’s best-known for his smash hit Sapiens. The book tells the story of how Homo Sapiens started out as one of the many species of humans and went on to develop tools, language, and agriculture, eventually dominating the entire planet. 

The book was an international bestseller, and it sold 23 million copies worldwide. It’s even been recommended by the likes of Bill Gates to Mark Zuckerberg

Want to learn about the history of humankind fast? The Blinkist app can help. Blinkist shares powerful ideas from nonfiction books in bite-sized explainers you can read or listen to in about 15 minutes. Along with Sapiens, there are 5,500 books to choose from across 27 categories including psychology, history, and personal development. 

“Blinkist caters to readers with more curiosity than time.”
– TechCrunch

Blinkist is offering its explainer of Sapiens for free on the phone and web app. Want a sneak peek at what the explainers are like? Here are five surprising facts you can learn from the book.

Key Message 1: Homo Sapiens Existed Alongside At Least Six Other Species of Human

Homo sapiens may be the only species of human walking the planet today, but that wasn’t always the case. 

We existed alongside at least six other human species at some point. These include species like the Homo floresiensis, who grew to about 3 feet tall, and the Homo denisova, who roamed Siberia and were only discovered in 2010, and the more well-known Homo neanderthalensis, who lived in Eurasia. 

Key Message 2: We Are The Last Human Species, and No One Really Knows How

The jury’s out on how we came to be the last species standing. The Interbreeding Theory suggests Homo sapiens began mating with other species, especially the Neanderthals, eventually merging into one species.

On the other hand, the Replacement Theory suggests we drove other human species to extinction either by taking away their food sources or by killing them off. 

Key Message 3: Our Evolution Was Accelerated during the “Cognitive Revolution”

Our brains used to be similar to Neanderthals, then an accidental genetic mutation rewired our brains, giving our species an evolutionary leap in thinking, learning, and memory. At least, that’s what the most commonly believed theory says. 

This mutation gave us an edge over the other human species. Suddenly, Homo sapiens were building boats, oil lamps, and arrows. We traveled out of East Africa, established trade routes, and formed larger communities. We also developed complex language.  

Key Message 4: Then Came Our Population Boom as a Result of the “Agricultural Revolution”

Homo sapiens used to be nomadic foragers and hunters, moving around to wherever food sources could be found. But about 12,000 years ago, we started growing crops and domesticating animals. This was the start of the Agricultural Revolution that saw us turn to farming for our food. 

Farming was more time and labor-intensive and the quality of food was lower compared to hunting and gathering. But it increased the food supply, meaning population numbers exploded and Homo sapiens began spreading around the globe.  

Key Message 5: Next Came Money and Writing to Facilitate Trade

While early civilizations swapped goods for food, it soon became too complicated. The chances of someone needing what you had at the exact same time you needed what they had were low. And that’s how money and writing were born.

In about 3,000 BC, the Sumerians of Mesopotamia began etching symbols into clay tablets to keep track of people’s transactions and barley money was developed as a form of payment. 

Learn more interesting facts about humankind in the full Blinkist explainer of Sapiens, which is now available for free. Here’s how the app works. 

Fact 1: Homo Sapiens Existed Alongside At Least Six Other Species of Human

Homo sapiens may be the only species of human walking the planet today, but that wasn’t always the case. 

We existed alongside at least six other human species at some point. These include species like the Homo floresiensis, who grew to about 3 feet tall, and the Homo denisova, who roamed Siberia and were only discovered in 2010, and the more well-known Homo neanderthalensis, who lived in Eurasia. 

Fact 2: We Are The Last Human Species, and No One Really Knows How

The jury’s out on how we came to be the last species standing. The Interbreeding Theory suggests Homo sapiens began mating with other species, especially the Neanderthals, eventually merging into one species.

On the other hand, the Replacement Theory suggests we drove other human species to extinction either by taking away their food sources or by killing them off. 

Fact 3: Our Evolution Was Accelerated during the “Cognitive Revolution”

Our brains used to be similar to Neanderthals, then an accidental genetic mutation rewired our brains, giving our species an evolutionary leap in thinking, learning, and memory. At least, that’s what the most commonly believed theory says. 

This mutation gave us an edge over the other human species. Suddenly, Homo sapiens were building boats, oil lamps, and arrows. We traveled out of East Africa, established trade routes, and formed larger communities. We also developed complex language.  

Fact 4: Then Came Our Population Boom as a Result of the “Agricultural Revolution”

Homo sapiens used to be nomadic foragers and hunters, moving around to wherever food sources could be found. But about 12,000 years ago, we started growing crops and domesticating animals. This was the start of the Agricultural Revolution that saw us turn to farming for our food. 

Farming was more time and labor-intensive and the quality of food was lower compared to hunting and gathering. But it increased the food supply, meaning population numbers exploded and Homo sapiens began spreading around the globe.  

Fact 5: Next Came Money and Writing to Facilitate Trade

While early civilizations swapped goods for food, it soon became too complicated. The chances of someone needing what you had at the exact same time you needed what they had were low. And that’s how money and writing were born.

In about 3,000 BC, the Sumerians of Mesopotamia began etching symbols into clay tablets to keep track of people’s transactions and barley money was developed as a form of payment. 

Learn more interesting facts about humankind in the full Blinkist explainer of Sapiens, which is now available for free. Here’s how the app works. 

A Book Explained in 15 Minutes

Nonfiction books are packed with powerful ideas and helpful takeaways, but it takes time to read them all. And that’s time most of us simply don’t have. 

The Blinkist team pulls out the most important parts of a book and shares them in a bite-sized explainer. You can get entertaining anecdotes, actionable advice, and interesting facts like those above, all in about 15 minutes.

“What it does is it reads all those humongous educational books for people like me who haven’t got time to read them, like Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. I wanted to read it, but I knew it would take me two years.”
– Francesca Hayward, Ballerina and Actress

Apple Calls Blinkist One of the World’s Best Apps

Blinkist is helping millions of users around the world, and Apple has taken notice. The tech giant named Blinkist one of the world’s best apps and one of the top 20 apps for lifelong learning. 

Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, even visited the Blinkist offices in Berlin to find out more about the team and the company. 

22 Million Users Love Blinkist

Beyond Apple, Blinkist has also been praised by The New York Times, Forbes, and TechCrunch, and it’s won awards from Google and the United Nations

Blinkist is loved by users around the world — 22 million of them to be exact! They’ve given the app 94,000 5-star ratings, and it gets 10,000 daily downloads in app stores. 

Check out Blinkist for yourself. To get the explainer of Sapiens for free, visit the web app or download the Blinkist app on your phone and search for the book. 

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