One of the most interesting and insightful thinkers of the past decade came to our attention with the publication of Sapiens in 2015. Since then, he has gone on to write Homo Deus, and most recently 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, in which he attempts to untangle science, politics, society, technology, and human existence. No biggie.
With all that big idea tackling, does Yuval Noah Harari like to unwind on the couch with a copy of Darth Vader and Son? Not likely. Scroll down to see the books that he read and enjoyed in 2018.
For more recommendations, see the Amazon Books Editors' picks for the Best Books of the Year.
Yuval Noah Harari's Favorite Reads of 2018
How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by Michael Pollan
This book really changed my mind, or at least some of the ideas held in my mind. It reminded me that the mind is the greatest mystery in the universe, that this mystery is always right here, and that we usually dedicate far too little time and energy to exploring it.
AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order by Kai-Fu Lee
This is a superb and very timely survey of the potential impact of AI on the geopolitical system, on the job market and on human society. Unlike most books of its kind, it is written from the perspective of China rather than Silicon Valley. It raises important concerns about the cataclysmic disruptions AI might cause, and avoids the naive techno-utopianism that reigns both in Silicon Valley and in some sections of the Chinese government and business community.
Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker
Pinker extols the amazing achievements of modernity, and demonstrates that humankind has never been so peaceful, healthy and prosperous. It is the most optimistic book I’ve read in a long time. There is of course much to argue about, but that’s what makes this book so interesting.
The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America by Timothy Snyder
A brilliant and disturbing analysis of the rise of authoritarianism in Russia, Europe and the USA in the second decade of the twenty-first century. Essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the political crisis currently engulfing the world.
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