While it is mostly believed that human beings are by nature selfish and governed primarily by self-interest and the roots of this belief have sunk deep into Western thought, the international bestseller Rutger Bregman provides a 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.
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 of 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.
Published in 2020, the book became New York Times Bestseller and has longlisted for the 2021 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction.
It was also one of the Washington Post’s 50 Notable Nonfiction Works in 2020.