The theme for me this week has been an audiobook that I’ve been listening to since last Tuesday morning. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari explores the history of Homo Sapiens through the ages.
I was inspired to check the book out after reading this really cool article on why fire makes us human, which delves into the importance of cooking food to Humans’ development. What I loved about the article is how it applies to all of us. All human beings rely on this learned skill to survive even today.
From our early evolutionary developments up through the potential future for our powerful yet turbulent species, Harari explores our collective journey and compares it to our present experience. The writing is well-informed, and his philosophical wanderings are often compelling - though they tend to expose the author’s views and prejudices more than my own perspectives on our Human experience.
For a book that I hoped would be an inspiring and enthusiastic look at our early history and a deeper philosophical take on why we are the beings we are now, Harari leaves me with a lot to be desired. While exploring the history of our species across all our rising and falling civilizations and cultures is intriguing and informative, most of the stories I’ve heard before. He doesn’t bring much new to the table between his philisophical anecdotes throughout the book, so it begins to get repetitive each time he begins to be reflective.
If you’re looking for a book to inspire and inform, Sapiens can only deliver on the latter. However there’s a lot of good stuff in here, so if you’re looking for more of a sweeping and slightly cynical history of Homo Sapien existence here on Earth, Sapiens might be worth a read.
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
I think part of my disappointment with Sapiens can also be attributed to the other book I read this week. Over the course of a day I listened to Neil Degrasse Tyson’s voice read me inspiring lessons on astrophysics, and preach the gospel of scientific discovery in Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. The book is essentially Cosmos but boiled down to the essential astrophysics concepts.
Coming from Tyson’s loving and inspiring tone to Harari’s cynical, philosophical info dump was a bit of a shock. And I’d much rather experience the former.
Tame Impala - Currents B-Sides
I also just this week came across the B-Sides & Remixes for Tame Impala’s Currents, one of my favorite albums. I’ve been listening to it for days now, especially to the Soulwax Remix to ‘Let It Happen’, one of my favorite Tame songs ever. It’s awesome. It has that same rythmic, bumping feel of the original with multiple waves of silky crescendos and energetic drops.
Of the B-Sides I think my favorite is ‘List Of People (To Try and Forget About)’, which plays so nicely with the wistful breakup-album feel of Currents. Everything is about people slipping away and trying to understand how to move on. It would be sadder, if the music wasn’t just so immersive and energetic.
Check the album out on Spotify.