Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind


Explain no fewer than three things that you believe have most importantly shaped our modern world.


Here the “things” can be events (Scientific Revolution, Industrial Revolution, population growth), ideas (progress, liberalism, consumerism, capitalism, modern time), factors (empire, money, religion, peace, energy), and/or institutions (free market, modern state, global empire, family, community). You can choose to write the things in the same category or to mix things up. Whatever you write on, you need to explain the rationale of each of the things that led to the formation of our modern world.

For instance the author says, “Why should Chinese, Indians, Muslims and Spaniards—who belonged to very different cultures that failied to agree about much of anything—neverthelss share the belief in gold?” (p. 185) If you choose to write gold as a “factor,” you need to discuss the nature of gold, explain why the different peoples shared their belief in it, and how their actions upon the belief helped to bring about the modern world. Of course the word “gold” can be substituted by “money,” “empire,” “peace,” “free market,” “modern state” and so on.