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Bookish Santa
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One on Biology, Other on Psychology

  • By Bookish Santa

Here I’m with two other non-fiction books, continuing the series ‘One on History, Other on Geography’ for our discussion today. We shall start right away with the introduction to the authors, the subject matter of the book,  a small discussion over its contents and the rating.

First, the book on biology i.e., Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. Now this book is basically a history of humankind. But as the rise of human being has been credited to its brain, which is its biology, we will consider the book as an evidence of our biology leading to our dominant success on the world.

Our first book on biology,


  1. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

Yuval Noah Harari (Born in Haifa, Israel, in 1976) is a historian and a philosopher. He received his PhD from the University of Oxford in 2002, and is currently a lecturer at the Department of History, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Prof. Harari originally specialized in world history, medieval history and military history.

Prof. Harari lectures around the world on the topics explored in his books and articles, and has written for publications such as The Guardian, Financial Times, The New York Times, The Times, The Economist and Nature magazine. He also offers his knowledge and time to various organizations and audiences on a voluntary basis.

In 2019, Yuval Noah Harari and Itzik Yahav co-founded Sapienship: an organization whose mission is to clarify the global conversation, focus attention on the most important challenges and support the quest for solutions.

His current research focuses on many macro-historical questions one of them is ‘What is the relationship between history and biology?’


About the book,

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind is based on the 20 lectures of an undergraduate world history class he was teaching at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2014. The book was originally published in Hebrew in 2011 and translated to English in 2014 and has since been translated into some 45 additional languages. Harari in an event also categorized the book as an infotainment.

The book talks about the Homo Sapiens (whom we know as humans today) and their advancement into a wider world. Even, during their early years of development, this species have been the death of many. It has led to the extinction of other Homo species that developed to be quiet different from us, if not for this mass extinction, we would have another Homo species, we would be sharing our world with. Sapiens also led to the mass extinction of many large mammals on the earth like dinosaurs, mammoths, etc while the sea animals lay intact in their territory unharmed by the intervention of sapiens. But of course, this conclusion is debatable and there is another possibility for the mass extinction, which is blamed on to the natural changes like climate.

The book talks about the development of human brain and how it led to our dominance on the ecosystem, while once we were hardly anything more than monkeys from our present ecosystem. Each development of human world have been explained very systematically under the four headings, namely,



While biology and archaeology considers all these revolutions in the humankind, it does not talk about the happiness achieved by our species and by other species on our taking the dominant position on the ecosystem. We have been continually degrading the living conditions of several animals around us and are not really at our best when talked about in context to happiness. So what are these revolutions for? If they don’t provide us with more happiness than we already have then what motivates us to pursue them? What was a stone-age homo sapien thinking when he moved towards agriculture and what made him stay even after the unhealthy lifestyle it provided?

This book is phenomenon of its own and has been doing rounds with the readers for as long as I remember. There is always some large group of readers reading and adoring the book. It gets a little subjective at times and sometimes speculates way more than expected but is all due to the course of better understanding. I hope you guys enjoy this infotainment book and find it in you to read the book steadily throughout.

Rating- 4.1/5


Our second book on psychology,

  1. Jung: A Very Short Introduction by Anthony Stevens

Anthony Stevens (born 27 March 1933) is a Jungian analystpsychiatrist and prolific writer of books and articles on psychotherapy, evolutionary psychiatry and the scientific implications of Jung’s theory of archetypes. He is a graduate of Oxford University and in addition to a DM has two degrees in psychology. He is a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and a senior member of the Independent Group of Analytical Psychologists.


About the book,

The book is about Carl Jung, so we shall first talk a little about him first before delving into what the book talks about Jung.

Carl Gustav Jung, (born July 26, 1875, Kesswil, Switzerland—died June 6, 1961, Küsnacht), Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist who founded analytic psychology. Jung proposed and developed the concepts of the extroverted and the introverted personalityarchetypes, and the collective unconscious. His work has been influential in psychiatry and in the study of religionliterature, and related fields.

His father was a Swiss Reformed pastor, and his mother came from a family of pastors in the region around Basel. Many of his experiences as a child would later inform the development of his theories about the psyche, including his own sense of having two distinct personalities—one a normal Swiss child, and the other a deeper, perhaps older, personality—and unusual experiences surrounding his mother and other members of the family.

In 1921 a program of research resulted in the publication of his book, Psychological Types, which still stands as one of the first systematic attempts at a theory of personality, and the inspiration for one of the most widely used personality tests, the Meyer-Briggs Type Index.  In addition to the development of the typology and the method of active imagination, this period saw the development of the central elements of Jung’s understanding of the unconscious, the theory of the collective unconscious, and its contents, the archetypes.

Jung devoted later years of his life developing his ideas, especially those on the relation between psychology and religion. In his view, obscure and often neglected texts of writers in the past shed unexpected light not only on Jung’s own dreams and fantasies but also on those of his patients; he thought it necessary for the successful practice of their art that psychotherapists become familiar with writings of the old masters and spend more time on themselves for only his own experience can help him understand his patients.

The book contains Jung’s childhood experiences, his relationship with his friends, the friends he made, the women he loved, the theories he developed, the controversies his character provoked, his nature, his approach to his work and his spiritual world.

Jung had been a very misunderstood man because of his introvert nature and faced hatred of many. His life was as misunderstood as his works were. The later because of his complex ideas and the new theories, which however, were accepted by the world eventually but not in his lifetime and not under his name.

However original the thinker he may be, his works needed interpretation and summarizing because of the lack of practical argumenting skill on his part. Anthony Stevens, the author of the book tried to bridge the gap between the readers and Jung by employing the most influential and practical examples for each of his theories so the reader can better understand the Jungian theories. The author also tries very heartily to clear some of the shadows of his personal life by clearing the misconception people, in general, held about him.

There are many articles and books written on Jung and his theories and although I don’t claim this one to be the best out their but as a way of introduction it is quite good. It is simple and easy to understand and includes most of what must be known and builds a pillar of understanding in the minds of the reader.

Rating- 4/5


Today, we have talked about the two very deep books and nothing needs to be said more other than, ‘Delve into the deep, you shall come out shining’.

Just a quote from yours lovingly,



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