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.
Another 10 days and it would have taken me a whole month to read and finish this book! I actually don’t remember the last time it took me so long to read a book!
For me Humankind is too information dense to be read at the speed of a normal book. It’s a hefty 464 pages worth of research, history and facts and was totally worth the time and effort it took to read it.
Rutger Bregman brings you a book full of reason for and against people’s humanity, dragging various research and historical events to demonstrate different points. Some parts were boring but not enough to give me an indication that I should give up. In fact, it’s written with the perfect amount of humour and seriousness to make this a somewhat easy read for anyone who doesn’t usually make non fiction reading a daily occurrence. I should also point out that the boring parts were about things I have no interest in.
This was an ebook so I’m likely to buy the physical book just so I can actually tab all the sections that I found really interesting and educational (without highlighting the entire bloody book!).
Thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing, Netgalley and Rutger Bregman for giving me access to an eARC in exchange for my honest review.