As his new book is published, the bestselling author talks fake news, meditation and appearing with Natalie Portman
Yuval Noah Harari is an Israeli historian who has written two bestsellers: Sapiens, which examined the course of early human history, and Homo Deus, which speculated on where we might be heading as a post-human species. His new book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, is an exploration of the difficulties that confront us at the present.
You are now a highly successful public intellectual. In what ways has international recognition changed you?
Well I have much less time. I find myself travelling around the world and going to conferences and giving interviews, basically repeating what I think I already know, and having less and less time to research new stuff. Just a few years ago I was an anonymous professor of history specialising in medieval history and my audience was about five people around the world who read my articles. So it’s quite shocking to be now in a position that I write something and there is a potential of millions of people will read it. Overall I’m happy with what’s happened. You don’t want to just speak up, you also want to be heard. It’s a privilege that I now have such an audience.