VIlma Reynoso

Inspiring authentic transformation in people for a kinder, more compassionate world.


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November Book Review: Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind by Yuval Noah Harari

Truly fascinating and unique, Sapiens: A brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari, is a detailed, engaging summary of the history of human beings.

Harari demonstrates how humans are the only species willing and able to believe what only exists in the imagination such as money, human rights, religion, and states. He brilliantly weaves the history of humans as far back as the Stone Age to modern day with the goal of discovering who we are and why we do what we do.

What fascinated me the most about Sapiens was the author’s viewpoint on the processes throughout history that shaped and influenced human thought: the cognitive revolution, the agricultural revolution, the creation of money, philosophical inquiry, the birth of science and the scientific revolution, capitalism and the industrial revolution, the creation of boundaries and states, the information age, genetic engineering, and more recently, artificial intelligence. Yuval also mentions how modern animal agriculture is one of the worst atrocities humans commit. His book bridges the gaps between biology, economics, history, and philosophy. It is a stunning read.

The culmination of Harari’s, Sapiens, is the conclusion regarding the upcoming artificial intelligence age. Harari argues that humans have not evolved and concludes that robots (or AI) will eventually eliminate most jobs, and that the rich will eventually be able to re-engineer bodies and minds. His book shows that humans pride themselves on their high intelligence, however most of us are not happier for it. I hate to state the obvious, but this reading provokes deep thought and emotions, and book clubs should definitely add this book to their reading list. Sapiens was received well by the general public but some scholars have criticized Harari’s assertions and conclusions.

I highly recommend Sapiens: A brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari to those interested in a deeper examination of who we are as human beings. The book covers the relationship we have with science, religion, ecology, money, politics, our happiness, and our future. For students of world history, Sapiens is a must read!

A bit about the author, Yuval Noah Harari:download harariProfessor Yuval Noah Harari is a historian, philosopher, and bestselling author. Born in Haifa, Israel, in 1976, Harari received his Ph.D. from the University of Oxford in 2002 and currently lectures at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Department of History. He has written another book, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, after writing Sapiens, and also authored 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. His books have sold millions of copies worldwide.

To learn more about Yuval Harari or to purchase Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, visit ynharari.com. 


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September Book Review: The Four Elements of Change by Heather Ash

“When we bring our attention back to discovering who we are in the inside – not who we wish we were or who we think we should be – we begin a sacred path of transformation toward our innate, authentic, embodied power.” – Heather Ash

As a Western spiritual teacher and seeker using Toltec wisdom, Heather Ash in The Four Elements of Change brilliantly teaches us how to improve or rebuild ourselves holistically. She explains how the four elements of nature – air, fire, water, and earth – are metaphors for the mind, spirit, emotions, and body. Understanding how these elements are absolutely essential for our survival (we cannot live without air, fire, water, or the earth) and learning how to integrate them help us to transition from one way of being to another, to release old beliefs that do not serve us, or are the catalyst in showing us how to create new thoughts or habits. The four elements as metaphors are a way to assimilate information effectively as we make life transitions.

Most of us struggle when we are attempting to change something about our lives. Whether by force or by volition, when we are moving to a new city, leaving a job, going back to school, ending a relationship, or establishing a new habit, for example, we struggle. We become discouraged, perceive difficulties, are struck with fear, and easily want to give up. Heather Ash explains why this happens and how the four elements play a part in helping us deal effectively with these thoughts and emotions.  Ash further uses metaphors to explain the elements – my favorite is the cycles of the seasons: air is spring, summer is fire, fall is water, and earth is winter. Lastly, the author explains how the elements are guides to help us live in alignment with nature and our own essence. Each element is a tool for becoming more present, for internal healing, and for learning about ourselves.

I highly recommend Heather Ash’s The Four Elements of Change to anyone seeking spiritual wisdom during difficult life changes, or to anyone who is interested in Toltec wisdom. As someone who just recently changed careers and is in the process of starting a few new ventures, this book was very pertinent and was a pleasure to read. It is a short book but rich beyond measure with wisdom.

A bit about the author, Heather Ash:

HeatherAsh-Amara

Heather Ash brings a rich blend of Toltec wisdom, European shamanism, Buddhism, and Native American ceremony to her teachings and writings to support each individual in the manifestation of his or her highest potential. She is the founder of the Toltec Center of Creative Intent in Berkeley, CA, and is the author of the Warrior Goddess book series in addition to The Four Elements of Change. Heather studied and taught extensively with don Miguel Ruiz, the author of The Four Agreements. Inspiring people to liberate their full voice and power, Heather offers retreats, online certifications, online events, workshops, and online resources.

To learn more about Heather Ash and what she offers, visit: HeatherAsh.com. To purchase The Four Elements of Change, visit Amazon.

© 2017, Vilma Reynoso, vilmareynoso.com