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Monday, April 8, 2019

Confessions Of A Page-Numbering Book Geek

It's official - Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind - is now the book that took me the longest time to finish over the nine years of my post full time work life.

How do I know this? Because of the start and finish date noted in my book journals. Was Sapiens the longest book I've read since initiating those journals in 2010? Nope - Anna Karenina was twice as long. Was Yuval Noah Harari's 2015 masterwork the most technical? It was not - that distinction arguably belongs to the superb - and longer - The Emperor of Maladies: A Biography of Cancer (Siddhartha Mukherjee - 2011). Was Sapiens the most dense? In my view, Collapse: How Societies Choose To Fail or Succeed - Jared Diamond's equally excellent 2005 volume - owns that label. BTW, Collapse is also longer than Sapiens.

Did my attention wander while reading Sapiens? Not once. Was my life unusually busy? No. Was I reading other books at the same time, did I misplace it a few times, was the pace lumbering or the prose unsatisfying? None of the above. Have I dragged this out long enough?

In the end, it would have been wise for me to purchase Sapiens and mark it up. Instead, I took over thirty pages of notes; writing down that much took a lot of time. And, each time I re-opened the book, I re-read many of my notes; there was so much I wanted to remember. The longest break in the book warranting no notes? Twenty pages. How do I know this? I write down page numbers. I know this is geeky - note the non-ironic title of this post.

I cannot recommend this book enough, especially for fans of non-fiction. I promise you: There are startling insights as well as potential learning for almost everyone on nearly every page, all wrapped in an easy-to-understand and digest package. But do yourself a favor: Buy a copy and save some time.

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