Tamim Ansary – The Invention of Yesterday


From language to culture to cultural collision: the story of how humans invented history, from the Stone Age to the Virtual Age

Traveling across millennia, weaving the experiences and world views of cultures both extinct and extant, The Invention of Yesterday shows that the engine of history is not so much heroic (battles won), geographic (farmers thrive), or anthropogenic (humans change the planet) as it is narrative.

Many thousands of years ago, when we existed only as countless small autonomous bands of hunter-gatherers widely distributed through the wilderness, we began inventing stories – to organize for survival, to find purpose and meaning, to explain the unfathomable. Ultimately these became the basis for empires, civilizations, and cultures. And when various narratives began to collide and overlap, the encounters produced everything from confusion, chaos, and war to cultural efflorescence, religious awakenings, and intellectual breakthroughs.

Through vivid stories studded with insights, Tamim Ansary illuminates the world-historical consequences of the unique human capacity to invent and communicate abstract ideas. In doing so, he also explains our ever-more-intertwined present: the narratives now shaping us, the reasons we still battle one another, and the future we may yet create.

Author: Tamim Ansary
Narrator: Tamim Ansary
Duration: 17 hours 4 minutes
Released: 19 Jan 2010
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Language: English

User Review:

hock clenched

Tamim Ansary has outdone himself – but I say that every time I listen to one of his books. His depth of understanding and ability to weave together history and concepts into a comprehensible story that you never want to end is astonishing. I hang on every word and recommend all of his books to everyone I can. He never disappoints. This book was jaw dropping in it’s breadth of knowledge. I recommend it to anyone who wants a deeper understanding of our world, past to present. And listening to it is like sitting in your living room by a fire with your grandfather who has a great sense of humor and irony, telling you stories. Do not miss this one.