HUMANKIND by Rutger Bregman
(Bloomsbury, 2020)
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HUMANKIND

by Rutger Bregman

A declaration of faith in the innate goodness and natural decency of human beings’ (Stephen Fry), at a time when this message could not be more necessary.

Humankind challenged me and made me see humanity from a fresh perspective’ Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens

Wonderfully unexpected, and very persuasive’ Philip Pullman

It’s a belief that unites the left and right, psychologists and philosophers, writers and historians. It drives the headlines that surround us and the laws that touch our lives. From Machiavelli to Hobbes, Freud to Dawkins, the roots of this belief have sunk deep into Western thought. Human beings, we’re taught, are by nature selfish and governed by self-interest.

Humankind makes a new argument: that it is realistic, as well as revolutionary, to assume that people are good. The instinct to cooperate rather than compete, trust rather than distrust, has an evolutionary basis going right back to the beginning of Homo sapiens. By thinking the worst of others, we bring out the worst in our politics and economics too.

In this major book, international-bestselling author Rutger Bregman takes some of the world’s most famous studies and events and reframes them, providing a new perspective on the last 200,000 years of human history. From the real-life Lord of the Flies to the cooperation seen in the aftermath of the Blitz, the hidden flaws in the Stanford Prison Experiment to the true story of the Kitty Genovese murder, Bregman shows how believing in human kindness and altruism can be a new way to think – and act as the foundation for achieving true change in our society.

It is time for a new view of human nature.

Reviews

'The topic is vital, the sweep immense, and the storytelling is spellbinding. This is a fabulous book' ”
- Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist
'Bregman's understanding of history leads to a new view of human nature. Humankind changes the conversation and lights the path to a brighter future. We need it now more than ever'”
- Susan Cain, author of Quiet
'Make a note of Humankind. It's an exceptional read' ”
- Matt Haig
“Never dewy-eyed, wistful or naive, Rutger Bregman makes a wholly robust and convincing case for believing - despite so much apparent evidence to the contrary - that we are not the savage, irredeemably greedy, violent and rapacious species we can be led into thinking ourselves to be. Hugely, highly and happily recommended” ”
- Stephen Fry
“Rutger Bregman's extraordinary new book is a revelation . . . Humankind is masterful in its grasp of history, both ancient and modern””
- Susan Cain, author of 'Quiet'
“Cynicism is a theory of everything, but, as Rutger Bregman brilliantly shows, an elective one. This necessary book widens the aperture of possibility for a better future, and radically””
- David Wallace-Wells, author of 'The Uninhabitable Earth'