21 lessons for the 21st century – Book review


Yuval Noah Harari is a modern ascetic hermit and a Guru of our times. I wonder how different my world view would have been, had I not read his brilliant books. If you haven’t heard of this guy then now is the time to go grab one of his books.

Sapiens and Homo Deus are two other gems written by him. Sapiens is a powerful book. Extremely engaging and thought provoking, making sense of questions like “where did we come from”? Homo Deus has a future peering reference telling us what we are headed into.

21 lessons for the 21st century is a book about today & the problems that our very own millennials are facing along with the rest of us older (but young nevertheless) lot. Harari looks at some basic questions and gives amazingly analytical answers to them.

Why do we fear sugar more than terrorism? Why are people dying more of over eating than hunger? Why are algorithms changing our lives while data becomes power? When was the last time an ad for something you’ve been eyeing for a long time, pop up on one of your social media pages? Didn’t you just squeal with joy when your favourite online shopping portal sent you a discount coupon for the apparels of your liking? When did you last wonder how your phone knew of the restaurant you mentioned to your friend during a video call? Is my phone the new psychic on the block?

The book tackles issues about technology replacing humans and the effects that will have on the economy and employment. Only places where human interaction is unavoidable will have people working, in future. You remember at mall or parking lot entrances, there used to be a person issuing the tickets but they have been replaced by shiny machines thanking you once you collect the ticket. Gone is the usher!

Will doctors like me still be needed in a few years? I wouldn’t be surprised if I had to counsel the patient via a video call without having to be present. Or watch a robot do the surgery while I just supervise the procedure. The 4th gen DaVinci robot has been acquired by a large number of hospitals. Unfortunately though, this very technology will probably make us feel even more sick with watches taking ECGs and phones telling us about our lack of sleep. Harari says people will visit hospitals even more thanks the constant monitoring and pointing out of the smallest of deviations.

All of us today are so concerned about the future but the fact remains that it is impossible to predict the future. So lets live today and as Scar says in The Lion king- Be prepared. Well, without giving away too much I urge you to head into reading this book and tell me which was the best lesson for you?

Happy Reading!


Manoj Mone
May 1, 2019 at 9:33 pm

Well written Doc! I loved the blog as much as I read the book!

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