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Book Review: 21 Lessons for the 21st Century

Where Harare's two previous best sellers covered the past (Sapiens) and the future (Homodeus), his latest book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, firmly aims at the present. More a collection of 21 essays than a book, each chapter looks at this century's biggest challenges, posing both vital questions and potential answers to what could be done.

In an increasingly complex world where there are no simple answers, can one person make a difference, let alone comprehend them? Challenges in play such as the decline of liberal democracy, the rise of big data and artificial intelligence and rapid climate change, are but a few examples of the enormous changes ahead. Experts in each field do offer solutions, but even they can fall prey to the 'herd mentality', distorting the true value of the information.

Adapting to the accelerating change can be overwhelming. Harare believes that the stresses of fast-paced living overloaded with information requires a clear headed approach to finding solutions. He draws on classical philosophy, arguing individuals would do better to know themselves first through mindfulness, before seeing how they may contribute to those who come into their lives. Harare's maxim is "pay attention and make your choice wisely, for it is a time to be alert." He provides thought provoking and compelling ideas that make a 'call to action'.

As is the fate of all who attempt to write about future global trends, critics will dissect arguments and find faults, but that is precisely Harare's intention. Encourage considered debate and motivate curiosity about the world's future, so that enlightened discourse will remain in the spotlight.

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