Group reading and discussion of Chapter 11 - "Imperial Visions"

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Here's a scanned copy of the chapter we'll be reading: (it'll be taken offline after we meet)

Discussion begins at 7pm, with some drinks and snacks. We'll be there to set up from around 6pm in case you want to read the chapter right before. If you read the chapter at home, take notes of your thoughts and questions. DO NOT POST THEM ON THIS GROUP. Bring the list with you. While you're reading, try to think about:

- What are the facts and arguments made by the author?

- What was your reaction to those arguments?

- What are the broader questions that arise from these reactions?

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Do you ask questions about the world around you? Would you like to understand how it got to where it is? Each question has a context. That context, in turn, has a broader context, and so on. Thus the investigation should start with a clear understanding of the backbone of history. That is what the book "From Animals into Gods: A Brief History of Humankind" aims to present. The book is not an objective view of history - no such thing exists. But it provides a framework from which questions can be asked and effective discussions arise. If the bible claims to have all the answers, this book is a seed for all of the conversations. Please join us and share your perspective. We only ask that you come open-minded and willing to challenge your views.

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Stan: "Great meetup, wonderful group of participants, outstanding book choice, stimulating sharing of ideas and personal experiences. Thanks, Avi, Mark, and everyone for creating this. I found 'True, Good and Beauty' at the meeting!"

John: "I just LOVE it when people can have a lively discussion and everyone tolerates differences: tres cool!"

Forrest: "Interesting, fun, friendly, provoking. Would prefer to stay on topic more though."

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Written by Yuval Noah Harari, a young Oxford-educated Israeli historian, originally in Hebrew. This book was the #1 best-selling book in Israel for 50 weeks straight, topping fiction and non-fiction books alike. During that time the author translated it to English, which is the copy we use (it's currently unavailable pending the official translation that will be published by Harper-Collins in 2014.) The author has also started a class on Coursera that mirrors this book. Here are some book reviews on Amazon or Goodreads.

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This event is not affiliated with the author or Coursera in any way. We're just fans.

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Join or login to comment.

  • Laura M.

    Thanks, Avi, for organizing this. I enjoyed last night's discussion.

    I appreciate your thoughts on trying to rebalance speakers. I am often one of the people who needs 3-4 seconds of quiet before I will start speaking. It's not because I'm shy. It's just a reflection of how I discuss things. Maybe just stopping the conversation for 10-20 seconds and letting anyone speak who hasn't spoken yet would be great. I almost said this last night. I may very well suggest it next time. We all can help in this regard.

    One thing I can imagine possibly helping for if/when things get a bit heated - we could have a practice 2-minute session in between the smaller and larger groups where we each take turns making false or outrageous statements and no one responds :) We wait 5 seconds and the next person makes the next one, etc.

    Looking forward to the next meetup ~

    1 · October 8, 2013

    • Solana F.

      That's a great idea. Because these are such terribly complex topics, the one liners, the ridiculous things that we (I) say actually need time and thought and consideration before they are attacked for being ridiculous. They need to be explored in a calm and understanding way. I continue to feel that if people come thinking they already know all the answers, it creates a very counter-productive environment. Listening is extremely important in these discussions. And indeed, very personal issues will come up.\

      1 · October 18, 2013

  • Avital

    Thanks for last night, I had a great time!

    Some feedback for myself: When we join into a large group, notice who is speaking more and who is speaking less. Actively try to rebalance it.

    What feedback do you have?

    1 · October 8, 2013

  • Angelo

    Just joined. I'd love to attend but it seems the meetings are usually on Monday evenings. Any chance there will be meetings on other weekday evenings? Or weekends? BTW, where can the book be currently found? (It's not currently available on amazon). Thank you for organizing this.

    October 6, 2013

    • Avital

      Hi Angelo! Mark and I both have hard constraints on some days and after trying different days Monday seemed to work best for both of us and some of the other core participants. Maybe you'd like to start a parallel group on another day?

      Unfortunately the book is out-of-print until the official translation will be released, sometime during 2014 (the copy we use is the author's self-translated version that had to be made unavailable at the request of the publisher.) Some of us have physical copies but it's somewhat of a scarce resource :)

      1 · October 7, 2013

    • Angelo

      I'm starting classes tonight, Monday evenings, until late December. But I'm very interested, so I'm gonna think about the possibility of starting a parallel group on another day. Thank you and have a great meeting / discussion tonight :)

      October 7, 2013

  • John H.

    It'll be great to again plow into this great book.

    October 1, 2013

  • John H.

    Hi, everyone. When is the next meeting?

    September 23, 2013

    • Avital

      Oct 7, as described on this event page. (I think you had also RSVPed for an event I accidentally created also on this date. That event was deleted but this one remains)

      September 24, 2013

  • Sasha


    September 7, 2013

  • Tony C.

    I'm greedy: looking for a copy of the book, "From Animals into Gods: A Brief History of Humankind." In the meantime I'm too busy to join a group physically but I'm taking the course.

    September 14, 2013

  • Robert

    I'm in the coursera course. Still possible to join?

    September 11, 2013

    • Avital

      Of course! All are always welcome!! :)

      September 12, 2013

  • John H.

    It'll be great to again plow into this great book.

    September 4, 2013

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