These are the best quotes from the book Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari.

As the title indicates, Yuval Noah Harari’s book Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind is mostly about the history of humanity. This book will shift your viewpoint on how you look at different topics. The author embarks on a quest to learn how humans became the dominant species via evolution.

The book discusses everything about humans, from intriguing to contentious subjects. Topics covered include how humans came to believe in God, human rights, laws, money, consumerism, and much more. The author relies on biology, anthropology, paleontology, and economics for his views. And how our past has changed us people and the creatures around us, such as plants and animals.

Quotes from Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

One of history’s few iron laws is that luxuries tend to become necessities and to spawn new obligations.

Money is the most universal and most efficient system of mutual trust ever devised.


Consistency is the playground of dull minds.

You could never convince a monkey to give you a banana by promising him limitless bananas after death in monkey heaven.

A meaningful life can be extremely satisfying even in the midst of hardship, whereas a meaningless life is a terrible ordeal no matter how comfortable it is.

Two thousand years of monotheistic brainwashing have caused most Westerners to see polytheism as ignorant and childish idolatry. This is an unjust stereotype.

Large numbers of strangers can cooperate successfully by believing in common myths. 


There are no gods, no nations, no money, and no human rights, except in our collective imagination.

A meaningful life can be extremely satisfying even in the midst of hardship, whereas a meaningless life is a terrible ordeal no matter how comfortable it is.

Our language evolved as a way of gossiping.

Related: 21 Lessons for the 21st century by Yuval Noah Harari

A person who does not crave cannot suffer.

Sapiens can cooperate in extremely flexible ways with countless numbers of strangers.


Poverty, sickness, wars, famines old age, and death itself were not the inevitable fate of humankind. They were simply the fruits of our ignorance.

Gender is a race in which some of the runners compete only for the bronze medal.

It is an iron rule of history that what looks inevitable in hindsight was far from obvious at the time.

We can congratulate ourselves on the unprecedented accomplishments of modern Sapiens only if we completely ignore the fate of all other animals.

Science needs more than just research to make progress. It depends on the mutual reinforcement of science, politics, and economics.

Telling effective stories is not easy. The difficulty lies not in telling the story, but in convincing everyone else to believe it.

Cultures are mental parasites that emerge accidentally, and thereafter take advantage of all people infected by them.

Consumerism tells us that in order to be happy we must consume as many products and services as possible.

Almost all people in the twenty-first century are the offspring of one empire or another.


Social cooperation is our key to survival and reproduction.

For real peace is not the mere absence of war. Real peace is the implausibility of war. There has never been real peace in the world.

An empire that cannot sustain a blow and remain standing is not really an empire.


The real test of knowledge is not whether it is true, but whether it empowers us.