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The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr

The Lessons of History serves as both an introduction to and summary of The Story of Civilization by Will and Ariel Durant, a comprehensive ten-volume collection of nonfiction that attempts to chronicle the most pivotal periods throughout the history of mankind. It is a distillation of this massive work that identifies patterns and draws out conclusions about our existence so we can better understand human behavior and use the past as a predictor for future behaviors and events.

For someone who (regrettably) attended too few history classes in his schoolboy days, the myriad of historical references can be difficult to follow and retain. I found myself having to look up some names and events to provide a bit more context for myself while reading. Even so, the analogies and lessons derived from these historical events are powerful and thought-provoking.

This book has opened my mind to different and difficult ways of viewing humanity, some that even conflict with my current worldview. It jogs the brain and spurs some powerful daydreams. It’s a short read packed to the brim with insight—highly recommended!