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Humankind : A Hopeful History - Rutger Bregman


A Hopeful History

By: Rutger Bregman

Paperback | 1 June 2021

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A Guardian, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman and Daily Express Book of the Year

'Hugely, highly and happily recommended' Stephen Fry

'You should read Humankind. You'll learn a lot (I did) and you'll have good reason to feel better about the human race' Tim Harford

'Made me see humanity from a fresh perspective' Yuval Noah Harari

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. By thinking the worst of others, we bring out the worst in our politics and economics too.

In this major book, internationally 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 Blitz, a Siberian fox farm to an infamous New York murder, Stanley Milgram's Yale shock machine to the Stanford prison experiment, 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.

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, was a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller and has been translated into thirty-two languages. He lives in Holland.
Industry Reviews
“An optimistic historian sifts through the past in his mission to prove that mankind might not be so bad . . . A superb read - brisk, accessible and full of great stories”
Sunday Times

“This is the book we need right now . . . Entertaining, uplifting . . . If Bregman is right, this book might just make the world a kinder place”

“Here, we visit the blitz, Lord of the Flies – both the novel and a very different real-life version – a Siberian fox farm, an infamous New York murder and a host of discredited psychological studies . . . There's a great deal of reassuring human decency to be taken from this bold and thought-provoking book . . . It makes a welcome change to read such a sustained and enjoyable tribute to our better natures”

“Filled with compelling tales of human goodness . . . Bregman's book is a thrilling read and it represents a necessary correction”
The Times

“Humankind displays [Bregman's] gift for synthesising libraries full of academic research into spellbinding reads. I whizzed through Humankind's 480 pages, engrossed”
Financial Times

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