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Historian Yuval Noah Harari has adroitly avoided the misfortune of his profession, that of being fobbed off as irrelevant. He did this, first, by becoming a futurist: his book Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (2015), charted a future in which elite people transform into god-like superhumans. His latest book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, focuses on the present; embracing pop psychology and self-help in exploring the seismic shifts occurring in our relationships with each other, our planet, and technology. A historian, possessing an understanding of revolutions, is precisely the person qualified to explain the state of the world today, and how to adapt to it. Harari’s objective with this book is to navigate a hopeful course against darker days and provide ammunition to face bewildering challenges from new directions. His explanations are underpinned by the power of stories and the grip of storytellers. Therein lies a danger: people have always been captivated, guided and mis...

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