Brady F. Anderson

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

My Notes

Many other species have ways of communicating. Only humans communicate with fictions.

Myths enable collective imagination which in turn enables collective cooperation.

Chimps have a surprisingly similar political structure as we do. Alpha males are not leaders because they are the strongest, but rather because they lead a large and loyal coalition.

Large scale cooperative enterprises like religion of even LLCs are founded upon fictions.

Trade is unique to humans. It’s difficult to trust strangers, but we still trust the banks, currencies, and businesses that enable global trade.

The agricultural revolution was a bad bet for humans. Reliance on select crops yielded malnutrition and starvation in the years of drought and disease. We often think the agricultural revolution was a good thing because it is the source of our affluence today. In reality it only kept more people alive under worse conditions for thousands of years.

People did not become more intelligent before the agricultural revolution. Foragers had successfully dominated their environments across the world before sedentary lifestyles developed.

Agricultural revolutions started independently all over the world.

Early religions were agreements between humans and gods promising devotion in return for mastery over plants and animals.

Religion attempts to interpret the world through certain fundamental, superhuman principles. This implies ideologies like Communism, capitalism, Nazism, etc. as religions.

When your personal narrative is similar to the people you are surrounded by it is easy to find meaning in your life, and happiness through that conviction.

The true trajectory of science is to defy death.