INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER. "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.
"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
"Some books challenge our ideas. But Humankind challenges the very premises on which those ideas are based. Its bold, sweeping argument will make you rethink what you believe about society, democracy, and human nature itself. In a sea of cynicism, this book is the sturdy, unsinkable lifeboat the world needs."
—Daniel H. Pink, #1 New York Times bestselling author of When and A Whole New Mind
"I greatly enjoyed reading Humankind. It made me see humanity from a fresh perspective and challenged me to rethink many long-held beliefs. 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
“A lively social history... Bregman offers a compelling case for reshaping institutions and policies along genuinely humane lines.”
—The New Yorker
"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
"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
"This stunning book will change how you see the world and your fellow humans. Humankind is mind-expanding and, more important, heart-expanding. We have never needed its message more than now."
—Johann Hari, New York Times bestselling author of Lost Connections and Chasing the Scream
"Rutger Bregman's new book, Humankind, has made me feel optimism in a time of pessimism. It's an exceptional read. Humans are good."
—Matt Haig, author of the international bestseller Reasons to Stay Alive
"An extraordinarily powerful declaration of faith in the innate goodness and natural decency of human beings. 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, author of Mythos and The Ode Less Travelled
"Invigorating... The book is crammed full of fascinating examples... a much needed reminder of the traditional virtues of modesty and the like, of sharing, and of co-operation rather than vicious competition... If books require the right zeitgeist to have a major impact, then Bregman's timing may prove brilliant... Bregman's book is something of a beacon at the moment, when many are looking for values to profess in our traumatised and altered society... [it] stands a very good chance of having a real impact on the feelings of the general public."
—Alexander McCall Smith, The Scotsman
"I know of no more powerful or carefully documented rejoinder to Machiavelli's observation that 'men never do anything good except out of necessity' than Rutger Bregman's book. His reassessment of human nature is as faithful to the actual evidence as it is uplifting."
—Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, one of Discover Magazine's 50 Most Important Women in Science and author of Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding
"Rutger Bregman has written another great book. He looks at some off the famous sociological experiments of the twentieth century-those that claimed to show humans as self-interested, cowardly, and morally fickle-and discovers that they were engineered to produce exactly those results. There was a lot of prejudice and ideological manipulation going on to get us to think so badly of ourselves. Every revolution in human affairs---and we're in one right now!---comes in tandem with a new understanding of what we mean by the word 'human.' Bregman has succeeded in reawakening that conversation by articulating a kinder view of humanity (with better science behind it). This book gives us some real hope for the future."
"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
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, was a New York Times bestseller. He lives in The Netherlands.