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Humankind

Humankind

A Hopeful History

“The Sapiens of 2020.” —The Guardian

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Utopia for Realists comes “the riveting pick-me-up we all need right now” (People), the #1 Dutch bestseller Humankind, which offers a “bold” (Daniel H. Pink), “extraordinary” (Susan Cain) argument that humans thrive in a crisis and that our innate kindness and cooperation have been the greatest factors in our long-term success on the planet.

Humankind made me see humanity from a fresh perspective.” —Yuval Noah Harari, author of the #1 bestseller Sapiens

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.
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Genre: Non-classifiable

On Sale: June 2nd 2020

Price: $25.98 / $32.98 (CAD)

ISBN-13: 9781549115394

What's Inside

This is a book about a radical idea.

An idea that’s long been known to make rulers nervous. An idea denied by religions and ideologies, ignored by the news media and erased from the annals of world history.

At the same time, it’s an idea that’s legitimized by virtually every branch of science. One that’s corroborated by evolution and confirmed by everyday life. An idea so intrinsic to human nature that it goes unnoticed and gets overlooked.

If only we had the courage to take it more seriously, it’s an idea that might just start a revolution. Turn society on its head. Because once you grasp what it really means, it’s nothing less than a mind-bending drug that ensures you’ll never look at the world the same again. So what is this radical idea?

That most people, deep down, are pretty decent.

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Reader Reviews

Praise

"Rutger Bregman is one of the most provocative thinkers of our time... This book demolishes the cynical view that humans are inherently nasty and selfish, and paints a portrait of human nature that's not only more uplifting---it's also more accurate... by taking us on a guided tour of the past, he reveals how we can build a world with more givers than takers in the future."
Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take and Originals
"Rutger Bregman's extraordinary new book is a revelation. Although Humankind is masterful in its grasp of history, both ancient and modern, the real achievement is Bregman's application of history to a new understanding 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 the #1 New York Times bestseller Quiet
"Bregman's argument is simple but radical: Most people are good, and we do ourselves a disservice by thinking the worst of others. Bregman argues that believing in human kindness is a foundation for lasting social change."
Barbara VanDenburgh, USA Today
"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
"Bregman puts together a compelling argument that society has been built on a false premise... He has a Gladwellian gift for sifting through academic reports and finding anecdotal jewels... Bregman never loses sight of his central thesis, that at root humans are 'friendly, peaceful, and healthy'... There's a great deal of reassuring human decency to be taken from this bold and thought-provoking book and a wealth of evidence in support of the contention that the sense of who we are as a species has been deleteriously distorted... It makes a welcome change to read such a sustained and enjoyable tribute to our better natures."
Andrew Anthony, The Guardian
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