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Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger…
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Humankind: A Hopeful History (original 2019; edition 2021)

by Rutger Bregman (Author)

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8922519,839 (4.3)16
THE SUNDAY TIMES AND NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERA 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'The book we need right now' Daily Telegraph'Made me see humanity from a fresh perspective' Yuval Noah HarariIt'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, 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.… (more)
Member:davidroche
Title:Humankind: A Hopeful History
Authors:Rutger Bregman (Author)
Info:Bloomsbury Publishing (2021), Edition: 01, 496 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman (2019)

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» See also 16 mentions

English (17)  Dutch (8)  All languages (25)
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
In a world of bad news and disappointing leaders, I was delighted to be recommended Humankind (Bloomsbury) by Dutch historian Rutger Bregman. This very accessible book examines the innate goodness of the human species, particularly before civilisation got in the way. As a psychology graduate, I found his re-examination of famous and alarming studies (the Stanford Prison Experiment, Robbers Cave Experiment, and the Milgram Experiment, amongst others) really interesting and how witnesses were led and a clear, pred-determined and negative outcome was sought from the outset. Evidence from wars on how infrequently weapons were fired, particularly when soldiers engaged face to face with their enemy, with only around 15-20% of weapons being fired and bayonets hardly ever being used. It’s a fascinating book that looks at the humanity of people in a way that Factfulness did for our ever-improving world data. It’s a breath of fresh air that’s as welcome as today’s headlines. ( )
  davidroche | Jul 7, 2022 |
I liked this. It's nice to have a popular author bring the work of Nell Noddings and Carol Gilligan to the fore. It's too bad that their work has to be retold by a 40-ish white man to get heard... ( )
  danielbu | Jul 4, 2022 |
Borrowers from James - good book, lots of studies cited to support pos psych theory
  MiriamL | Dec 19, 2021 |
https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/3764640.html

the end of last year I read and largely enjoyed Bregman's Utopia for Realists. This has a grander sweep - the story of how humanity is much nicer and well-intentioned than people think. With some detail, he debunks the Stanford prison experiment, the Milgram electric shock experiment, and the Kitty Genovese case; and looks at the true story of the shipwrecked kids who failed to go Lord of the Flies and at various other statistics supporting his thesis. Fundamentally I want to agree with the book; I'd much rather that people are nice to each other. And mostly it's convincing; what is lacking is an answer to the Problem of Evil, though I guess that the point of the book is more the Invisible Prevalence of Good. ( )
  nwhyte | Sep 25, 2021 |
The thesis of Rutger Bregman's book is that the vast majority of human beings the vast majority of the time have good intentions. Not only that, but scientific research backs up this optimistic perception of human goodness. Furthermore, trusting in the goodness of others is key to the health and success of individuals and societies. It is the belief that humankind is inherently corrupt that is often manipulated to have people carry out evil. Accepting the "veneer theory" that human society is only a thin layer over the cruel and selfish human psyche is akin to the placebo effect, or in this case what Bregman calls the "nocebo" for its negative psychological effects.

Bregman breaks down what we "know" about human behavior by debunking a number of famed studies such as Stanley Milgram's obedience tests and the Stanford Prison Experiment, as well as histories of the collapse of indigenous society on Easter Island and the popular story of neighbors indifference to the murder of Kitty Genovese. After reading the truth behind these stories and how they were manipulated to make the worst possible reading, you might find yourself thinking humans are good but psychologists and journalists are evil.Bregman also contrasts the fictional Lord of the Flies with the real-life experience of Tongan boys who survived being stranded on a desert island for a year through cooperation.

After showing that many cases of humans descending to "savagery" actually had many instances of people wanting to help out, Bregman also explores experimental camps, schools and workplaces where children and adults are trusted to do the right thing with positive results. Bregman builds on existing philosophy, often contrasting the views of humanity of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Thomas Hobbes. He also draws on evolutionary biology that shows that cooperation was necessary for human survival and the desire to help is hardwired into humanity.

This is just the kind of book I needed to read right now and it's something I think everyone ought to read.

Favorite Passages:
Tine De Moor calls for"institutional diversity" - "while markets work best in some cases and state control is better in others, underpinning it all there has to be a strong communal foundation of citizens who decide to work together." ( )
1 vote Othemts | Aug 24, 2021 |
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bregman, Rutgerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jonkers, AndreasEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Manton, ElizabethTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Medendorp, HarminkeEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, EricaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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THE SUNDAY TIMES AND NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERA 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'The book we need right now' Daily Telegraph'Made me see humanity from a fresh perspective' Yuval Noah HarariIt'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, 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.

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