I have heard about Sapiens – A brief history of humankind book from one of the 100 relatives groups in WhatsApp. One of the topics was the evolution of Indian Hinduism. I was like with handcuffs at the corner yearning to par with the relatives on this difficult subject. The discussion became very interesting with a couple of critical points. No sooner, I spotted a colleague with the same book and learned the good reviews. I decided to wait no more.
Everyone has learned different myths about the evolution of the humankind. This book had a very strong start that makes you grasp faster with verve. It is possible that you could read the 400 pages in one full sweep.
It is unbelievable to read how the agricultural revolution is considered as history’s biggest fraud.
Agriculture investment is supposed to be the best weapon against hunger and poverty for billions. The author had the strong nerve to explain how small wild grass of wheat manipulated Homo Sapiens to its advantages and how agricultural revolution played a divide and rule for ten thousand years.
This line has stuck in my mind –
“Follow your heart is a double agent that usually takes its instructions from the dominant myths of the day”.
It looks similar to the old Hindu saying how we live in the dreams of Lord Vishnu. Everything happening here is all in the dream of the Lord Almighty. The book explains how much natural instinct gut we have lost in the last thousand years unlike the animals trusting their natural instinct gut.
The author has surprised the readers with other startling insight that cooperation is based on shared fictions.
That is not yet worst and bewitching topic of the cognitive revolution. The author has come up with a theory about how gossip played an important role in the development as the dominant species on earth.
Gossip theory should be one of the oldest theories evolving the language and staying alive.
The author must have smitten the readers to enjoy the Gossip theory. It looks like a joke but I must say I have started to believe how gossip helps us to stay alive.
I would not recommend the book to strong religious believers. The book is very provoking to change the mindset of science and religion ideologies. The book is for those who are looking for answers.
If you already know the answer from your viewpoint or from the ancestors, then there is no point to waste your time to read this book.
This review is written by Arun Ramakrishnan who is an avid reader. Arun is in IT profession and is a rationalist by nature. He has a very different insight about the worldly world. Occupied by his two daughters ( Pet and a Human) Arun loves to read and write reviews. He also writes blogs on Project Management, Quality Assurance and fundamental tenets of Agile. Here is the link.
P.S. I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter.
Stuck in traffic morning and evening, reaching home only at the wee hours only to sleep. Making food and eating all alone, sleeping through the weekend waiting for Monday, I see so many Eleanor Oliphants around me. Slowly the world is getting a very strange place full of people who have an isolated world of their own.
“If someone asks you how you are, you are meant to say FINE. You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night because you hadn’t spoken to another person for two consecutive days. FINE is what you say.”
Eleanor Oliphant is a story of an ordinary woman. She is isolated, not by her choice but by her circumstances. She is very productive, a creature of habit and most importantly is a survivor. In the flock of new books which glorifies supermen and superwomen, Eleanor’s story is more about an ordinary person ( regardless of gender).
Eleanor’s inner voice is of a strong lady who is a survivor. But as she grows up with the government aid and foster parenting, her inner voice is muted to a level that she goes into complete isolation. The story is usual, but the narrative makes it unique. Eleanor would have been a boring character, minus the narration. She is mundane but hilarious at times. Her blunt take on the world amused me throughout the read.
“I was in a fast-food restaurant for the first time in my adult life, an enormous and garish place just around the corner from the music venue. It was mystifyingly, inexplicably busy. I wondered why humans would willingly queue at a counter to request processed food, then carry it to a table which was not even set, and then eat it from the paper? Afterward, despite having paid for it, the customer is responsible for clearing away the detritus. Very strange.”
Her deep insight on loneliness was profound:
“These days, loneliness is new cancer – a shameful, embarrassing thing, brought upon yourself in some obscure way. A fearful, incurable thing, so horrifying that you dare not mention it; other people don’t want to hear the word spoken aloud for fear that they might too be afflicted, or that it might tempt fate into visiting a similar horror upon them.”
After reading Eleanor, I felt a kind of restlessness in my heart for all those who are going through depression. Mental illness is a real thing, and though it is very common for us to guess it in case of Eleanor who is living an isolated life, it is tough to identify a person with depression having a huge social circle. Maybe most of them are good in pretending that they are very happy and doing great but they are lonely inside.
What mattered in the story of Eleanor is that She survived and was completely fine, but that is not how the story would end in many cases.
“Sometimes you simply needed someone kind to sit with you while you dealt with things.”
Eleanor Oliphant is a good read, especially if you are a kind of person who likes a slow story which takes its course midway through the book. Worth a read.