Free Thought Discussion

The Group meets almost every Wednesday, at 6:30 or 7:30 p.m., at various locations in, around or near Palo Alto, Mountain View and Sunnyvale. For more information contact Please check the Humanist Community Meetup Group at for furthur information.

Strictly speaking, this is not a “book group,” since we devote one Wednesday of each month to discussion of current news events, and, on the other evenings, discussions tend to be wide-ranging, centered about, but not exclusively about, the chosen book.  The word “group” is often used but does not imply that you have to join formally in any sense. Visitors are welcome. Just show up—the more the merrier!

The Current book we are reading is: “21 Lessons for the 21st Century” – September 4, 2018 By Yuval Noah Harari, 400 pages

Book Description and Reviews

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In Sapiens, he explored our past. In Homo Deus, he looked to our future. Now, one of the most innovative thinkers on the planet turns to the present to make sense of today’s most pressing issues.

“Fascinating . . . a crucial global conversation about how to take on the problems of the twenty-first century.”—Bill Gates, The New York Times Book Review


How do computers and robots change the meaning of being human? How do we deal with the epidemic of fake news? Are nations and religions still relevant? What should we teach our children?

Yuval Noah Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is a probing and visionary investigation into today’s most urgent issues as we move into the uncharted territory of the future. As technology advances faster than our understanding of it, hacking becomes a tactic of war, and the world feels more polarized than ever, Harari addresses the challenge of navigating life in the face of constant and disorienting change and raises the important questions we need to ask ourselves in order to survive……… See Amazon Link below

About the Author – From Amazon

Prof. Yuval Noah Harari has a PhD in History from the University of Oxford and lectures at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, specializing in world history. His books have been translated into 50+ languages, with 12+ million copies sold worldwide. ‘Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind’ (2014) looked deep into our past, ‘Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow’ (2016) considered far-future scenarios, and ’21 Lessons for the 21st Century’ (2018) zoomed in on the biggest questions of the present moment.

From Amazon Reviewers:

From Amazon: It’s hard to imagine having as many deep thoughts as Yuval Noah Harari. His 2015 book, Sapiens, examined the human race through the vectors of history and biology, illuminating how each has influenced our behavior and evolution. Three years  later, Harari turns his attention to more immediate concerns. Using the same tack-sharp lens as his previous books, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century addresses urgent, shape-shifting topics that will shape our present and near future, including nationalism, religion, immigration, artificial intelligence, and even the nature of Truth—in other words, everything you’re not supposed to talk about at Thanksgiving. Harari is not always reassuring, and he’s certainly unafraid of questions challenging widely held views on both global and personal scales, i.e. yours. His quest is not to tear holes in belief systems, but to expand conversations and strip the -isms that channel us into predictably intractable stand-offs. Calling any book “urgent” or “a must-read” is almost always hyperbolic, even shrill. But especially now, 21 Lessons fits the bill.

Amazon Books – See:

Next Readings

August 7 – Freethought Discussion Night. Bring your favorite current events or ideas to discuss.

August 14 – We will read Chapter 1 (“Disillusionment”)  through Chapter 2 (“Work”) Pages 1 through 42, about 42 Pages

August 21 – 7:30 – Readings for the week are: We will read Chapter 3 (“Liberty”)  through Chapter 4 (“Equality”) Pages 56 through 102, about 46 Pages.

August 28 – 6:30 – Readings for the week are: We will read Chapter 5 (“The Political Challenge”)  through Chapter 7 (“Nationalism”) Pages 83 through 126, about 43 Pages. For location, send an email to

Sept 25 – 6:30 PM – We will read Chapter 14 (“Secularism”)  through Chapter 17 (“Post Truth”) Pages 207 through 253, about 46 Pages. Please come and join us. Location is Mitchell Park Library, Palo Alto, CA. See Meetup at

Oct 2 – 7:30PM – Bring your ideas to discuss. These can be political, philosophical, economics, etc.

Oct 9 – 7:30PM – Readings for the 2 weeks are: We will read Chapter 18 (“Science Fiction”) Chapter 19 (“Education”) and Chapter 21 (“Meditation”) Skip Chapter 20. We will read this one for Oct 16.

Some previously read books

Our customs on book nominations & voting