We have the tools to redesign life to fulfil our wildest dreams. But do we know ourselves any more, asks Yuval Noah Harari in his latest book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century.
Big ethical questions are facing us. How do we live in an age of bewilderment where no new stories have emerged to replace the old stories. The book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century has been described as a self-help for bewildered people. But social innovators can find plenty of ideas to explore in this book.
Yuval takes us on a journey through today’s most urgent issues. He starts by emphasising the importance of identifying the key questions. This book is brimming with questions that stimulate thinking and may help the readers to participate in fruitful discussions about our choices.
Question asking is an important skill and Yuval is a bit of an expert on identifying important and beautiful questions. There are no simple answers provided in the book to the 21 lessons, something that might annoy some readers. However, to be fair no one has come up with any satisfying answers to these issues yet and maybe Yuval will return to them in a later book.
Personally, I love the ambition to identify global issues and books that spark ideas and challenge you to think are just what you need sometimes. Yuval explore questions such as: “What are today’s greatest challenges and most important changes? What should we pay attention to? What should we teach our kids?”
There are chapters on work, war, education, and immigration. Yuval is trying to define the terms of the discussion and gives you historical and philosophical perspectives on the issues. After reading the book, you can discuss and start exploring solutions to the problems of the 21st century.
The book is brimming with provocations like “Why climate change might benefit the Russian economy?” Statements are not always explored in the book, but the book provides perfect inspiration to further thinking.
What should we pay attention to?
We have discussed the meaning of life for millions of years. Yuval says that philosophy, religion and science are running out of time and we need to make decisions. And we need a clear vision of what we really want. If we ignore the debate, market forces will make the decisions for us. Also, the issues we are facing, nuclear war, climate change, and technological disruption, cannot be solved on a national level, they require global solutions.
Get ready to tackle global issues. We do not want to become irrelevant. So start inventing exciting ways for people to solve issues together.