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Humankind

Humankind

A Hopeful History

From the “folk hero of Davos” (Vox), Fox News antagonist, and author of the New York Times bestseller Utopia for Realists, a revolutionary argument that our innate goodness and cooperation have been the greatest factors in humanity’s success

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? By providing a new historical perspective on the last 200,000 years of human history, internationally bestselling author Rutger Bregman sets out to prove that we are in fact hard-wired 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.

This understanding, Bregman suggests, 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.
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Genre: Nonfiction / History / World

On Sale: June 2nd 2020

Price: $14.99 / $18.99 (CAD)

Page Count: 480

ISBN-13: 9780316418553

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews

Praise

"I greatly enjoyed reading Humankind, a challenging book which made me see humanity from a fresh perspective. I warmly recommend it to others, and I trust it will stir a lot of fruitful discussions."—Yuval Noah Harari, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Sapiens and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century
"Rutger Bregman is out on his own, thinking for himself, using history to give the rest of us a chance to build a much better future than we can presently imagine."—Timothy Snyder, #1 New York Times bestselling author of On Tyranny and Bloodlands
"Humankind is an in-depth overview of what is wrong with the idea is that we humans are by nature bad and unreliable. In vivid descriptions and stories, Rutger Bregman takes us back to the questionable experiments that fed this idea and offers us a more optimistic view of mankind."—Frans de Waal, New York Times bestselling author of Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? and Mama's Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us About Ourselves
"Compelling... Humankind is an amazing book--thoughtful, engaging, optimistic, and true... It shows us how much where we start our thinking about human nature influences where we finish, even when where we start is dead wrong. Put aside your newspaper for a little while and read this book."—Barry Schwartz, author of the national bestseller The Paradox of Choice
"Beautifully written, well documented, myth-busting... Bregman brings psychological research and history together to present a remarkably positive, realistic view of the human animal. We are much better, much kinder, than most of us think we are, and when we realize that we become better yet... [It's] now number one on my list of what everyone should read. Read it and buy copies for all of your most cynical friends."—Peter Gray, author of Free to Learn: Why Releasing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life
"A more politically radical Malcolm Gladwell...To the extent that bookish economic historians can rampage, Bregman is on one...He combines a detailed approach to economic policy with a utopian vision of a better future...Bregman argues that it is only by dreaming about what seems to be unachievable that society can make good things possible."—Patrick Kingsley, The New York Times
"Both a fun read and a breath of fresh air to anyone who lived through the ghastly experience of last year's presidential election season . . . Utopia for Realists argues, with humor and sympathy, that we've all suffered from forgetting how to dream of a better world....What's so interesting about modern America is our hostility to the mere idea of trying to create an easier and happier life. We're a country that was once rich with social experimentation . . . Now we don't really even try, and mostly just scream at each other on the Internet. That doesn't seem like it will get us there. Maybe free money and a three-hour workday won't, either, but it sure seems like it would be more fun to try."—Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone
"Convincing...Entertaining and reasoned...Bregman's book makes for enjoyable reading, and it is packed with colorful factual asides...Utopia for Realists should make for good conversation at the next dinner party."—Benjamin Cunningham, Los Angeles Review of Books
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