‘It Makes You Think’
I finally got around to (and finally finished...) this tome. I’ve been hearing a lot about it recently (which is odd, given it was written in 2014), and I kept pushing it nearer the top of my to-read pile.
In many ways it’s fascinating. A history book, it takes a very high-level, long-term view of humanity, how we came about, the big changes we’ve made, the problems we’ve faced, and most of all what we are.
It has a certain glib-ness though. I’m fond of the phrase ‘I think you’ll find it’s a bit more complicated than that’, and the author does often go into detail about how complicated some of the things are. But at other times, he’s sweeping in his generalisations. It’s hard to see parts of it as incisive when other parts have made you go ‘Hang on a minute, you left out something important...’
That said, it did certainly make me stop, think, and question some things. That’s what I found most beneficial about the book - it’s perspective, the way it often took an entirely different viewpoint on things I’d take for granted.
It’s a nice way to challenge some assumptions.