➭ Humans: A Brief History of How We Fucked It All Up Read ➵ Author Tom Phillips – Burberry-outlets-online.co.uk
An Exhilarating Journey Through The Most Creative And Catastrophic F Ck Ups In Human History, From Our Very First Ancestor Falling Out Of That Tree, To The Most Spectacular Fails Of The Present Day In The Seventy Thousand Years That Modern Human Beings Have Walked This Earth, We Ve Come A Long Way Art, Science, Culture, Trade On The Evolutionary Food Chain, We Re Real Winners But, Frankly, It S Not Exactly Been Plain Sailing, And Sometimes Just Occasionally We Ve Managed To Really, Truly, Quite Unbelievably F Ck Things Up.From Chairman Mao S Four Pests Campaign, To The American Dustbowl From The Austrian Army Attacking Itself One Drunken Night, To The World S Leading Superpower Electing A Reality TV Mogul As President It S Pretty Safe To Say That, As A Species, We Haven T Exactly Grown Wiser With Age So, Next Time You Think You Ve Really F Cked Up, This Book Will Remind You It Could Be So Much Worse P 19 But while the human brain is remarkable, it is also extremely weird, and prone to going badly wrong at the worst possible moment We routinely make terrible decisions, believe ridiculous things, ignore evidence that s right in front of our eyes and come up with plans that make absolutely no sense Our minds are capable of imagining concertos and cities and the theory of relativity into evidence, and yet apparently incapable of deciding which type of crisps we want to buy at the shop whithout five minutes painful deliberation P 275 Everything seems to be constantly new and yet, at the same time, it s hard to escape the feeling that we re just replaying the mistakes of our past at an ever increasing rate Somehow we consistently fail to see them coming. Humans is a book you will learn lots of new information from, and not only that but what you do learn is interesting and engaging, albeit a little depressing To create a contrast between the darkness of most of what we are told, Phillips adds humour which lightens the mood somewhat The style of writing is eminently readable and flows smoothly from one point to the next without trouble This is such original non fiction, and it appears the author has carried out extensive research to find these unique stories that I have not encountered in any other books previous to this Each of the stories are varied and intriguing enough that I am still thinking about some of them, even long after I turned the final page They range from stories about the fails of our earliest ancestors right through to ones we are currently making right now Well worth picking up, especially for history buffs and those who enjoy factually correct stories that teach us valuable lessons about how fallible we really are as a species However, whether we learn from them or not is a different matter entirely and as this book illustrates, it s not always as easy or black and white as it seems.Many thanks to Wildfire for an ARC I was not required to post a review, and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. Funny and depressing The story of human progress starts with our capacity for thinking and creativity That s what sets humans apart from other animals and it s also what leads us to make complete tits of ourselves on a regular basis. Author Tom Phillips studied Archaeology, Anthropology and the History and Philosophy of Science at Cambridge University and has worked as a journalist, a humour writer, and as the editorial director of BuzzFeed UK All of these skills and influences are apparent in Humans A Brief History of How We F cked It All Up, and if you re the kind of reader who thinks you might enjoy a chronology of humanity s biggest mistakes, told with ironic humour and f bombs, then this pop history just might be a perfect fit for you As for me, the humour here didn t actually make me laugh out loud, I was familiar with many of the stories, and I d prefer of a connecting thesis than, Humans are stupid and selfish and always have been probably always will be Still, Humans is very readable an ultralight version of Jared Diamond or Yuval Noah Harari and it s always the right time to stand humble before humanity s many flaws To begin, an example of the humour Australia s rabbit problem is one of the most famous examples of something that we ve only figured out quite late in the day ecosystems are ridiculously complex things and you mess with them at your peril Animals and plants will not simply play by your rules when you casually decide to move them from one place to another Life, as a great philosopher once said, breaks free it expands to new territories and crashes through barriers painfully, maybe even dangerously But, uh, well, there it is Okay, it was Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Parkwho said that As I say, a great philosopherAnd incidentally, this scourge of rabbits and cane toads unleashed on Australia is also an example of the kind of story most people have heard before if the tone in a nonfiction work isn t academic, isn t attempting to support some new theory with long accepted facts, I think all of the information should at least be new and surprising Humans is divided into chapters on our brains going over confirmation bias, the Dunning Kruger effect, and other ways that we convince ourselves we re right when we re wrong , the mistakes of the Agricultural Revolution and the domestication resettling of animals, the rise of leaders and all the horrible ways they have taken advantage of their positions, no matter the political system , the evils of colonisation and war, mistakes of diplomacy, and the unintended consequences of technological breakthroughs Along the way, there were many stories that were new to me Scotland s attempt to build an empire in Panama, Kessler syndrome that could see us trapped on our planet by a prison we ve made from our own trash , or the avoidable decimation of the Khwarezmian Empire and I liked these bits very much the brand of humour didn t speak to me but Phillips is an excellent storyteller.If there was a theme running through this book, it would be throwing shade at Donald Trump without ever once mentioning him One chapter is titled A Dummies and or Current Presidents Guide to Diplomacy , a parenthetical note in the prologue states, at the time of writing this, there s a broad awareness that the only thing that stands between us and annihilation is the whim of one petulant man child or another , and after a passage that outlines how Hitler was actually an incompetent, lazy egomaniac and his government was an absolute clownshow , Phillips concludes Many of the worst man made events that ever occurred were not the product of evil geniuses Instead, they were the product of a parade of idiots and lunatics, incoherently flailing their way through events, helped along the way by overconfident people who thought they could control them. And if that level of subtext is too understated, Phillips concludes the bit about Scotland s doomed empire building with As a tale it lends itself to metaphor I mean, it s the story of a country turning away from a political union with its closest geographical trading partners in favor of a fantasy vision of unfettered global influence promoted by free trade zealots with dreams of empire, who wrapped their vague plans in the rhetoric of aggrieved patriotism while consistently ignoring expert warnings about the practical reality of the situation Unfortunately, I can t think of anything that could be a metaphor for right now. So, that running theme is either interesting to the reader or not I found it a little juvenile a distraction from any legitimate connections Phillips might have been trying to draw between the failures of the past and the dangers of the present Whatever our future holds, whatever baffling changes come along in the next year, the next decade and the next century, it seems likely that we ll keep on doing basically the same things We will blame other people for our woes, and construct elaborate fantasy worlds so that we don t have to think about our sins We will turn to populist leaders in the aftermath of economic crises We will scramble for money We will succumb to groupthink and manias and confirmation bias We will tell ourselves that our plans are very good plans and that nothing can possibly go wrong Ormaybe we won tAs a collection of anecdotes about human failure, Humans is trivia rich and easy to read even when describing horrible abuses or modern threats, the tone is light but respectful I understand the truism that history is repeated by those who fail to study and understand it, but also know that we humans are wired the same way today as we were the first time someone murdered, lied, or stole to advance a selfish cause who knows what the future holds for us Unlike Diamond or Harari, Phillips doesn t even hazard a guess.