• Unbound

  • How Eight Technologies Made Us Human, Transformed Society, and Brought Our World to the Brink
  • By: Richard L. Currier
  • Narrated by: Noah Michael Levine
  • Length: 10 hrs and 36 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (201 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Although we usually think of technology as something unique to modern times, our ancestors began to create the first technologies millions of years ago in the form of prehistoric tools and weapons. Over time, eight key technologies gradually freed us from the limitations of our animal origins.

The fabrication of weapons, the mastery of fire, and the technologies of clothing and shelter radically restructured the human body, enabling us to walk upright, shed our body hair, and migrate out of tropical Africa. Symbolic communication transformed human evolution from a slow biological process into a fast cultural process. The invention of agriculture revolutionized the relationship between humanity and the environment, and the technologies of interaction led to the birth of civilization. Precision machinery spawned the industrial revolution and the rise of nation-states; and in the next metamorphosis, digital technologies may well unite all of humanity for the benefit of future generations.

Synthesizing the findings of primatology, paleontology, archeology, history, and anthropology, Richard Currier reinterprets and retells the modern narrative of human evolution that began with the discovery of Lucy and other Australopithecus fossils. But the same forces that allowed us to integrate technology into every aspect of our daily lives have also brought us to the brink of planetary catastrophe. Unbound explains both how we got here and how human society must be transformed again to achieve a sustainable future.

Technology: "The deliberate modification of any natural object or substance with forethought to achieve a specific end or to serve a specific purpose."

©2015 Richard L. Currier (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Unbound

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    2 out of 5 stars

Good facts, not much else

This is the book Jared Diamond would have written, had Jared Diamond been deprived of vision or originality. It covers the cultural and, to a significant degree, the physical evolution of hominids from earlier life forms till the hopes and fears of the future. It is a successful compilation of good information and accepted theory, with a lot of well articulated declarations of the obvious, and, here and there, some juicy surprises. But lacking is any interesting focus or vision, other than, if we choose wisely, we can survive; if not... well, you know. It's the grandeur of human evolution in pedestrian wrap. I learned many good things, but I wish there had been more.

6 people found this helpful

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Missing an important fact

This book is very interesting and enlightening. However, he speaks of the rise of pollution and mentions the causes - plastic, fossil fuel consumption, deforestation. He does not even mention animal agriculture, that is a leading cause for environmental catastrophe.

4 people found this helpful

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Very good until the last two chapters.

The author assumes, in the last two chapters, that in the past, and in
some future "global culture", that people will have no problems maintaining their family, clan, tribal, village, and regional identities.

What fantasy history has he been reading? In the last several centuries, Eurocentric cultures have been diligently attempting to 'civilize' innumerable clans, tribes and entire nations.
It seems to be in the nature of most dominant cultures to assume that they are the best culture, and to convert others to that belief at gunpoint.

3 people found this helpful

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Start at Chapter 8

unless you are an anthropologist, the book is dry until chapter 8... then it gets relevant and interesting in a way that can be applied to our current day life. the title "Unbound" made me think the book would be a bit more entertaining. a more appropriate title may have been, "The history and evolution of mankind". Very well researched by an obvious pro.

3 people found this helpful

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Interesting but not mind blowing

I was hoping for more, it was neat but I didn't have any goosebump moments

3 people found this helpful

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Irritatingly tedious

the narrator sounds like an asperger stilted person . it's impossible to listen to. there is no flow it's way too choppy .it offends the mind.
the author is only reiterating that which we already know and offers no solutions. he's a fear monger only.

1 person found this helpful

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Should be renamed intro to anthropology

Very basic information. Nothing anyone who ever took an intro to Anthropology class covering early humans wouldn’t have learned.

1 person found this helpful

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Detailed book about human social interactions.

A detailed and concise book about the evolution of human social interactions and the technologies that have resulted due to social interactive changes. A substantial portion of the book concentrates of pre-industrial revolution, specifically focusing on stone age Technonologies. The last 1/4 of the book talks about the microprocessor. Finally, it finishes talking about the threats to humanity and society. It references the Biosphere experiment, which ended in failure. (I never knew that!)

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So much!

So much of the big picture of our reality, our species here on our one little planet at this amazing moment in our story. It’s pretty much all here.

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  • GB
  • 07-30-22

wonderful book, full of interesting insights.

I learned a lot about humanity's history. Many interesting hypothesis that make sense for the lay person.

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  • hellojoanie
  • 01-10-22

I almost didn't listen to this

There are a lot of very critical and negative reviews out there about this book, so many that I almost gave it a miss. I am very glad I decided to make up my own mind.

I enjoyed narration, and the subject captured my interest from the first page. I really found the subject, which is a massive one, to be interesting and informative.

Give it a go, you won't be disappointed.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Tom O'Rourke
  • 12-29-21

An exceptional tome.

Although the bulk of this work is easily absorbed there are far too many words i.e. ' if's, might, may, possible, estimated, assumed, mostly, agreeable ' etc that, as always, affect the psyche of the easily alarmed, that is the young and the generationaly insecure of the global population of innocent ignorance.
In my own 68 years of existence, lifelong learning, experience, observation and understanding, the alarmism of each decade has largely been of insignificance due to the usage of the 'if's, etc. Despite this perpetual repetition I remain a lifelong skeptic and optimist and anti-alarmist.
Tom O'Rourke 1953 ? love always

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-31-22

interesting

Interesting read, but I have no idea why the Author mentions Jehova God, in the last chapter.

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  • SiCon
  • 05-31-22

Bad science

An interesting history of scientific discovery, until the final chapter when the author suggests man made climate change may be a good thing, as it might stave off another ice age. Clearly he is more of a historian than a scientist.
Dangerous nonsense from someone far less informed than he first appears.

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  • david fryer
  • 01-23-22

Fascinating

A fascinating study of the effects of various technologies on human development. Starting with the evolutuon of homo sapiens from earlier hominids we are taken through the influence of such developements as tool making, developement of language, use of fire for warmth, protection and cooking and how these all interacted and influenced and facilitated brain developement in a very plausible thesis. The story proceeds through the introduction of farming, metalworking to the introduction of precision machine making, the age of fossil fuel use and on to electricity and the digital age. Very informative and thought provoking. I'll be listening to it for a second time in the near future.