Synopses & Reviews
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
The "lively" (The New Yorker), "convincing" (Forbes), and "riveting pick-me-up we all need right now" (People) that proves humanity thrives in a crisis and that our innate kindness and cooperation have been the greatest factors in our long-term success as a species.
If there is one belief that has united the left and the right, psychologists and philosophers, ancient thinkers and modern ones, it is the tacit assumption that humans are bad. It's a notion that drives newspaper headlines and guides the laws that shape our lives. From Machiavelli to Hobbes, Freud to Pinker, the roots of this belief have sunk deep into Western thought. Human beings, we're taught, are by nature selfish and governed primarily by self-interest.
But what if it isn't true? International bestseller Rutger Bregman provides new perspective on the past 200,000 years of human history, setting out to prove that we are hardwired for kindness, geared toward cooperation rather than competition, and more inclined to trust rather than distrust one another. In fact this instinct has a firm evolutionary basis going back to the beginning of Homo sapiens.
From the real-life Lord of the Flies to the solidarity in the aftermath of the Blitz, the hidden flaws in the Stanford prison experiment to the true story of twin brothers on opposite sides who helped Mandela end apartheid, Bregman shows us that believing in human generosity and collaboration isn't merely optimistic — it's realistic. Moreover, it has huge implications for how society functions. When we think the worst of people, it brings out the worst in our politics and economics. But if we believe in the reality of humanity's kindness and altruism, it will form the foundation for achieving true change in society, a case that Bregman makes convincingly with his signature wit, refreshing frankness, and memorable storytelling.
Longlisted for the 2021 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction
One of the Washington Post's 50 Notable Nonfiction Works in 2020
"A lively social history... Bregman offers a compelling case for reshaping institutions and policies along genuinely humane lines." The New Yorker
"Humankind made me see humanity from a fresh perspective." Yuval Noah Harari, author of the #1 bestseller Sapiens
"The Sapiens of 2020." The Guardian
About the Author
Rutger Bregman, a historian and writer at The Correspondent, is one of Europe's most prominent young thinkers. His last book, Utopia for Realists, which was translated into thirty-two languages, is a New York Times bestseller. He lives in Holland.