Our fourth bookup took place in Singapore and, once again, got to discuss Harari’s “Sapiens. A Brief History of Humankind”. One of the advantages of using the same book in different events is that we can notice the differences in the discussion (e.g.: ideas, approaches, opinions, depth of debate etc). And boy, was this bookup different from what we’ve had so far in Bucharest 🤔 In a good way, of course!
As a first impression, the Singapore bookup was very much focused on the book itself and a structured talk on the ideas therein, and not very centred on socialising and open discussion. Which is the opposite of what we have seen so far. 🤷🏽♀️
What interesting things did we talk about?
Here are some topics touched upon, just to give you a clue:
Why did Harari write this book and what were his intentions? What is Harari trying to achieve through this book, especially taking into account that he is a scientist & a historian who approached an extremely vast topic while lacking the support of a big team and experience in other domains;
The idea of Homo Deus, even though not discussed in this particular book, was a hot topic: the general perception was that Homo Deus is the new powerful type of human, just like Homo Sapiens was to Homo Neanderthalensis. Even though Homo Deus is not clearly defined through its best traits, the opinion was that Harari’s view of the world tends to be somewhat Marxist. Homo Deus already exists — it is the people who have access to resources such as money, medical treatment, genetic enhancement etc;
Two of Harari’s views come into contradiction, forcing the readers’ logic: while he claims that, as mere algorithms, we would be unable to determine our own actions, he also finds humankind guilty of destroying the Planet (extinction of species, pollution of habitat etc).
Any lessons learnt?
Quite a few, actually.
The Singapore participants read a lot, and were motivated to join the bookup by the possibility of having an in-depth discussion round the book’s ideas;
Participants felt the need for follow-up to the bookup, either as short summary or further discussion;
The presence of a moderator is not seen as a necessity, but rather as an advantage;
All of the participants would have liked to keep in touch with each other, or at least have the option of doing so. We can, therefore, claim to have partly achieved our goal to Follow the book. Discover the people. 👏🏼;
On the downside, only one out of three participants would pay to attend a bookup…
We definitely enjoyed the experience, and look forward to many more bookups being organized in Singapore.
Now we will be off to Phuket, for our next event…