Why you should read Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

Lesley Barber, a composer for films like Manchester by the Sea, explains why Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari is a must-read.
Lesley Barber's film credits include Manchester by the Sea, You Can Count on Me and Mansfield Park. (Twitter.com)

 Lesley Barber is composer of music for film and theatre. She most recently wrote the music for the Academy Award-nominated film Manchester by the Sea. Other notable films she's worked on include You Can Count On Me and Mansfield Park. Lesley is currently reading Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari.

What I'm finding interesting is the way it's written — the information is compelling and expansive, but there's a way in. One moving part was how humans change from hunters and gatherers into farmers, and in doing so they short-changed their livestyle in many ways.

Harari makes the argument that, in some ways, we live a less happy and satisfying life than our early ancestors. That agriculture was a bargain between humans and grain, it took us away from the value of nature. What's fascinating about it was there was a thread of love, art and happiness — this was the first time people could be valued, nurtured and supported.

Lesley Barber's comments have been edited and condensed.