Yuval Noah Harari — 21 Lessons for the 21st century

Yuval Noah Harari

Historian Yuval Noah Harari has been getting a lot of coverage recently for his new book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century.

In it, he talks about the disruptions that are coming from technology, politics, religion, immigration, terrorism, and war. So much change is coming, he says, that almost the only thing we can be certain of is uncertainty.

He also talks about what we can do to prepare for the coming changes.

In this interview with GQ magazine, and elsewhere, he says:

“I think the most important thing is to invest in emotional intelligence and mental balance, because the hardest challenges will be psychological. Even if there is a new job, and even if you get support from the government to kind of retrain yourself, you need a lot of mental flexibility to manage these transitions.

The most important investment that people can make is not to learn a particular skill—’I’ll learn how to code computers,’ or ‘I will learn Chinese,’ or something like that. No, the most important investment is really in building this more flexible mind or personality.”

Then he mentions three ways to do this: meditation, exercise, and connection with nature.

The Churning agrees these things are important. They are part of step one of Inner Leadership.

And after you have learned them, we think there are also six more skills you will need if you are to turn that more balanced mind into surviving and then thriving in the 21st century. This makes a total of seven key skills:

  1. Learn to remain centred and grounded even in the middle of massive change: use meditation, exercise, and nature, as Harari recommends, plus other tools. Then also:
  2. Learn to spot when you are making assumptions that no longer hold true — as well as how to spot emerging trends
  3. Learn how to find more opportunities in a changing world (there are ten different types)
  4. Learn to choose between them — not always easy when you can’t predict how things are going to turn out
  5. Learn to get clear on your Purpose and Values, because in a world of change they will bring you stability and direction, bringing back a degree of control
  6. Learn to inspire yourself and the people around you to get out of bed and do what needs to be done
  7. Learn to understand and manage the emotional transitions that are inevitably coming

When you become skilled at these steps then you will give yourself the best chance of not only surviving but also thriving in the changes that are coming. This is Inner Leadership.

If you now want to understand more about the changes that might be coming (even Yuval says he can’t predict them) read Yuval Noah Harari’s book.

If you want to start preparing now, no matter what happens, read Inner Leadership, use the workbook, and start practicing the exercises.


Inner Leadership is a framework and tools for building inspiration during times of change.

You can sign up to daily posts here.


Photo source: GQ magazine article

Leave a Reply