top of page
Yuval Noah Harari SAPIENS RH cover 1.jpg

SAPIENS: A Brief History of Humankind

Yuval Noah Harari

Nonfiction, 2011

Until about 100,000 years ago, Homo sapiens was still an insignificant animal minding its own business in a corner of Africa. Our ancestors shared the planet with at least five other human species, and their role in the ecosystem was no greater than that of gorillas, fireflies, or jellyfish. Then, about 70,000 years ago, the mind of Homo sapiens changed in a way that transformed it into the master of the planet -- and the terror of the ecosystem. We have acquired almost divine abilities to create and destroy. How did Homo sapiens conquer the world? What befell the other human species? When and why did money, states and religion appear? How did science and capitalism become the dominant creeds of the modern era? Does history have a direction? Is there justice in history? Have people become happier as history has unfolded? And what are the chances that Homo sapiens will still be around in a hundred years?

SAPIENS: A BRIEF HISTORY OF HUMANKIND is more than a huge international bestseller. It is also a publishing phenomenon. With authority, clarity and wit, Yuval Harari has written a profoundly important and consequential book that is accessible, informative, provocative and immensely entertaining.

SAPIENS does not just tell what happened in the past.  It also finds the deep meaning and moral and existential implications of events. Drawing on insights from paleontology, anthropology and sociology, SAPIENS looks not only at the macro-processes of history but also at how these developments have influenced daily life. It considers not just “what happened?” and “why it happened?” but also “how did it feel?” and “did it make individuals happier or more miserable?” The book argues that without engaging these questions, we miss the most important and most interesting parts of history.

Trailer for SAPIENS

Rights Sold:

Arabic: Manjul; Azerbaijan: Qanun Publishing House; Albania: Botart; Brazil: L± Bulgaria: Iztok-Zapad; Canada: Signal/McClelland & Stewart; China: China Citic; Croatia: Fokus; Czech Republic: Leda; Denmark: Lindhardt & Ringhof; Estonia: Aripaev; Finland: Bazar; Estonia: Aripaev; France: Albin Michel; Germany: DVA Verlag; Greece: Alexandria Publications; Hungary: Animus; Holland: Bezige Bij (Thomas Rap); Hungary: Animus; India (Marathi): Diamond Publications; India (Tamil): Sandhya Publications; India (Hindi, Teluga, Malayalam): Manjul; India (Bengali): University Press Ltd.; Indonesia: Kepustakaan Populer Gramadia; Israel: Kinneret; Italy: Bompiani; Japan: Kawade; Korea: Gimm-Young; Latvia: VZ Publishing House; Lithuania: Kitos Knygos; Myanmar (Burmese): Waterfall Publishing; Mongolia: Monsudar Publishing; Norway: Bazar Forlag; Poland: PWN; Portugal: Editora 2020; Romania: Editura Polirom; Russia: Sindbad; Serbia: Biblioner; Slovenia: Mladinska Knjiga Zaloba; Spain: Debate/Penguin Random House; Spain (Catalan): Ediciones 62; Spain (Basque): Elkar; Sweden: Natur & Kultur; Taiwan: Commonwealth; Thailand: Gypsy Group; Turkey: Kolektif; UK: Harvill Secker/Penguin Random House; Ukraine: Hemiro; U.S.A: Harpercollins; Vietnam: Alpha Books


“Here is a simple reason why SAPIENS has risen explosively to the ranks of an international best-seller. It tackles the biggest questions of history and of the modern world, and it is written in unforgettably vivid language. You will love it!” – Jared Diamond, Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel, Collapse, and The World until Yesterday.

“We usually think that we are an outcome of our personal history, where we grew up, the way our parents educated us, etc. In Sapiens, Harari delves deep into our history as a species to help us understand who we are and what made us this way. An engrossing read.” – Dan Ariely, New York Times Bestselling author of Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality, and The Honest Truth About Dishonesty

"[B]rilliant. Most likely the best - and I have read very many - on the history of humankind. I have never read anything better. I think it is sad to think of all the people that will not get to read it." – Henning Mankell

“There is enormous gratification in reading books of this nature, an encyclopedic approach from a well-versed scholar who is concise but eloquent, both skeptical and opinionated, and open enough to entertain competing points of view.” – Kirkus starred review

”Sapiens is packed with heretical thinking and surprising facts. This riveting, myth-busting books cannot be summarised in any detail; you will simply have to read it.”—Financial Times

”full of shocking and wondrous stories” & an ”exciting Israeli historian” – Sunday Times

”Harari delivers a boldly synthesized account of Homo sapiens’ rise through the hominin ranks...A view of our ascent as nasty, brutish, long - and endlessly fascinating.” – Nature (5 stars)

 “A scamper through the whole of human history from the Big Bang to the internet age, was probably the most ambitious history book of the year.  Certainly is was the most thought-provoking” – Dan Jones, The Evening Standard

“For its sheer originality and intellectual stimulation, I was captivated by Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens, as was Damien Hirst” – Matthew D’Ancona, The Evening Standard

”Few omni-histories, however, are written with the panache of Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens which emits illuminating observations in the manner of a bouncing cigarette showering sparks on a road at night...Sapiens is a starburst of a book, as enjoyable as it is stimulating” – Sunday Express (5 stars)

“Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens… offers a bravura retelling of the human story seasoned with more personal reflections on man’s tenancy of the planet.

“Harari is a brilliant populariser: a ruthless synthesiser; a master storyteller …and an entertainer constantly enlivening his tale with chatty asides and modern parallels.

“Sapiens is one of those rare books that lives up to the publisher’s blurb. It really is thrilling and breath-taking; it actually does question our basic narrative of the world.” – Ben Shephard, The Guardian

”...Harari can write. Not in the sense that most authors can - ie put words on a page and go on till the book comes to its natural end...but really really write with wit, clarity, elegance, and a wonderful eye for metaphor. Words sing for him.” – Catherine Nixey, The Times

”Harari is an intellectual acrobat whose logical leaps have you gasping with admiration.”- John Carey, The Sunday Times

”eloquent and humane...[and] wonderfully, mordantly funny” – Peter Forbes, The Independent

“engaging and informative” – Galen Strawson, The Guardian

“[Harari] has pulled off something spectacular: an erudite yet eminently readable history of our species in fewer than 500 pages…Sapiens is unique, not only for its scope and accessibility, but for connecting the macro, the development of a whole species, with the micro, the playing out of ordinary, daily, human lives throughout history” – Caroline Sanderson, Bookseller

“We didn’t want to stop reading! Yuval Harari writes with precision and intelligence – this book increases the size of our brains. “ – Die Zeit Wissen

“Funny, smart and enlightening” – Hannoversche Allgemeine

“Sparklingly written! The book convinces through its colorful language and its unusual point of view. “ –Deutschlandradio Kultur

”Harari links the great historical events with the power of ideas in a downright masterful way.” – NZZ

”Excellent non-fiction. Entertaining, erudite, informative, occasionally provocative but never boring.” –Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung

”Told with knowledge and wit.” – Focus

”Unbelievable how both entertaining and serious a title beginning with the Neanderthals up to Capitalism can be. Very valuable!” – Wiener Kurier

“..a monumental work in which the Israeli historian Yuval N. Harari explores the keys to the evolutionary success of our species….a publishing phenomenon … (a) provocative and brilliant history of humanity…”– El Mundo, Spain

“The most interesting, unsettling and important book to come out in this past year…Harari’s book is not only remarkably fascinating, it also profoundly affects the reader’s consciousness for a long time, it and puts many significant human phenomena within a simple and accurate framework… SAPIENS is not only a bag of goodies filled with surprising information and wide-scope insights, but also a true guide to examination of human values, collective as well as individual.” – Masha Zur-Glozman, Ha’aretz         

bottom of page