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Unstoppable Us

Before we get to our hearty endorsement of Unstoppable Us—How Humans Took Over The World, we have a question: do you know the author, Yuval Noah Harari?

He’s everywhere—and we love trying to keep up with him.

He’s on The Late Late Show With James Corden.

He’s got his own YouTube channel.

He’s also the author of Sapiens: A Brief History of HumanKind (68,000 ratings and reviews on Amazon, 4.6 stars) and many other books.

And the aforementioned Unstoppable Us is the first in a planned four-volume series—all written for children. If that’s not enough, Sapiens: A Graphic History is billed as a “radical adaptation” of Sapiens into a four-part graphic novel series, created and co-written with top-notch writers and comics artists.

Professor Harari is a force in the effort to urge students of all ages to understand and appreciate the world in which we live and to appreciate who they are as, well, human beings. He has a PhD in History from the University of Oxford. He lectures at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, specializing in world history.

In Unstoppable Us, Professor Harari underscores one of his big themes. And that is that our human ancestors were as insignificant as jellyfish.

“We humans aren’t strong like lions, we don’t swim as well as dolphins, and we definitely don’t have wings! So how did we end up ruling the planet? The answer to that is one of the strangest tales you’ll ever hear. AND it’s a true story.”

In Unstoppable Us, Professor Harari keeps it real, breaking down the simple steps that early man used to fashion tools and learn to start and control fire. And Harari underscores one of our essential themes, too, that we’re all the same animal.

“Of course, there are differences in things like hair color and skin color between—for example—Chinese, Italians, Greenlanders, and South Africans, but underneath the skin we all have similar bodies, similar brains, and similar abilities,” he writes. “Chinese people can learn Italian, Greenlanders can play football with South Africans, and everybody can build a spaceship together,” he writes.

Given that there are many different types of ants, snakes, and bears, Harari asks, why is there only one type of human? And that leads Harari into a clear, matter-of-fact explanation of evolution that any eight-year-old could grasp.

But why did Sapiens end up ruling the planet? And here Professor Harari puts forth an idea that will find in his Ted Talks and throughout his works.

The reason is that Sapiens were good cooperating in very large numbers. As an example, how we work together to make sure we have all access to fresh bananas. Or how we worked together to put a man on the moon. As he points out in one of his videos, if you put 10,000 chimpanzees together in Wembley Stadium, you would have chaos. If you put 10,000 human beings together in a stadium, you would have some sense of order and cooperation.

In all, Unstoppable Us (which includes terrific illustrations on every page), encourages young students to stop and ponder how the world looks like it does today and, as Professor Harari notes, to realize that “we can decide what the world will become.”

As the Anatomy in Clay® Learning System founder Jon Zahourek has long noted, human anatomy should be a “fundamental subject for everyone … The most knowable and the most knowing part of yourself is the ancient culture of life-forms and functions we think of as our anatomy.”

Unstoppable Us, and all of Harari’s efforts to keep anatomy and evolution at the forefront of our understanding of who we are today, are brilliant contributions to the conversation and deeply appreciated.






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