This book was recommended by Geetanjali & Manas. We decided to read a book every month. This is a massive book. It took me two months to finish this book. This is a totally different kind of book I’ve read so far and something I believe everyone should read at some point.
I’m not sure though if there is anything to learn from this though. The book gives a great perspective of what and why did all we did so far. Books like Radical Candor, Tuesdays with Morrie have something to learn. It is easy to implement the learnings from the book. Even though reading about the entire human history is interesting, but hard to learn anything. This is one book I plan to re-read (preferably from the physical book). Instead of just the top few items, I wish I could remember the whole book. Also, I thank god I didn’t have to read this book during school or college. Instead of enjoying the book, I would’ve totally hated it.
Top interesting items I remember from this book.
- It is interesting to think how everything we assume normal is based on our imagination. Makes us re-think all the assumptions and ideas we’ve had so far. For example, take the company we are building HackerRank. In reality, HackerRank exists only because of all of imagine that HackerRank truly exits. We believe it is a “legal” company only because it is registered with the US, UK and Indian government. In reality, companies like HackerRank won’t exist if we all stop believing in the concept of a private company.
- We all want to believe that we conquered wheat. But looks like wheat conquered us and made us take care of it.
- The book truly explains why the Europeans started exploring the world, even though Chinese and Japanese had the technology to explore the sea.
- How and why the Europeans could conquer the areas they explored in the name of science.
- The pyramid-like formation for the classes sound crazy to hear now, but truth be told, we follow this even today. Things like Black Lives Matter are still needed to enforce the concept of equality among us.
- How using currency came into the being and why barter trade wouldn’t have scaled well
- How and why we ended up with the assumption that men are superior than women, even though both physically and mentally women are more suited to survive the hardships
- Why capitalism helped us grow? How and why re-investing more and more is a good thing? How eating a bigger share of the pie is ok if the pie is getting bigger. I’ve never the question the whole concept of bank lending loans or getting funding from investors before reading
The final chapter even questions whether everything we that happened (agricultural, scientific and industrial revolutions) is making us happier. This is an interesting question and something I believe we all should figure out an answer soon.