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Humankind

A Hopeful History
Narrated by: Thomas Judd, Rutger Bregman
Length: 11 hrs and 36 mins
Categories: Money & Finance, Economics
4.8 out of 5 stars (213 ratings)

Non-member price: $30.38

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Publisher's Summary

Bloomsbury presents Humankind by Rutger Bregman, read by Rutger Bregman and Thomas Judd.

The Sunday Times best seller.

A Guardian, Times, Daily Telegraph and Financial Times summer listen.

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, internationally best-selling 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.

©2020 Rutger Bregman (P)2020 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Critic Reviews

 

"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)

 

"Rutger Bregman’s extraordinary new book is a revelation.... Humankind is masterful in its grasp of history, both ancient and modern." (Susan Cain, author of Quiet

 

"Cynicism is a theory of everything, but, as Rutger Bregman brilliantly shows, an elective one. This necessary book widens the aperture of possibility for a better future, and radically." (David Wallace-Wells, author of The Uninhabitable Earth)

What listeners say about Humankind

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Kindness is Proven and Affirmed

This book provided an evidence based explanation that we are ‘wired’ to be kind, friendly, helpful, caring and nice. All my life I’ve been labeled innocent and naive because of the trust I have for human goodness, this book affirms that my love and faith in all mankind actually puts me and all others like me at the top of the evolutionary tree. Here’s to a kind and hopeful future!

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A. Must Read

This is a highly readable (and listenable) book. It rings true to me and I urge anyone and everyone to read...or listen t it.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mr
  • 20-09-2020

All the world should read this!

Another revealing book by Rutger. Our world does not have to be the way it is. I hope this will inspire others to change. I know it has already changed me.

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Loved this! Feel good, inspiring, evidence based

I loved the experience of this book. He doesn't just analyse the results of research, he analyses the research itself and the results are thought provoking. A book everyone should read.

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Refreshing view of humanity that feels right

I absolutely loved this book. Everything just made sense and I leave it with a more positive outlook on my life and the world around me. Thank goodness for this book, its what the world needs.

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Perspective Changing

This book was phenomenal in counteracting the harsh cynicism so rampant today. Bergman has such a refreshing way of reframing and unearthing areas of history. You will undoubtedly leave this book with a new sense of perspective.

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Excellent

A wonderful hopeful history that is both thoughtful and practical. A must read for anyone who cares about the world and our place in it.

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Wise, insightful & uplifting

A book that will leave you feeling a bit better about the world we live in.

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The Entire World Should Reador Hear this Book!!

This book gave me hope in a time when this world really needed it!! I learnt so much I am about to listen again!

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Refreshingly honest look at human nature

I really enjoyed this book. It was an inspirational look at our deepest nature that contradicts everything we are constantly being told by the media, politicians and society. Anyone in a position of power should read this book.

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  • Ghost BB
  • 21-09-2020

Excellent- a must read

Excellent book and was narrated wonderfully. The book covered a broad range of topics, it was the next step or setting after the book call Sapians: A Brief History of Humankind. Highly recommend this book

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  • samer
  • 14-08-2020

Highly recommended.

It is the book will help you to understand the post-capitalism era ahead ! Highly recommended.

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  • Quan Young
  • 22-07-2020

Wonderful experience driven by facts and science

I find this book wonderful to read. I feel very positive in how I see the world today, even in the midst of Covid19 and other true problems we face today. I recommend this book to those who still believe the good in this world is worth fighting for. There is a lot more goodness out there, and we only need to reframe how we see the world to see and even taking our part to shape it. Forget the demagogues and doomsday sayers. We have the answers right here on earth and it is each other. The author leads the reader through history, research and scientific studies to show all of these points above and more. I wish the rest of the world could read this book as part of their school curriculum so we can avoid the demagogues and narcissists manipulating our human tendencies to fear people who are different. This book is the light at the end of the tunnel.. the positive energy one needs to deal with every day now for almost four years. ;)

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  • Anonymous User
  • 27-06-2020

Recommended 100%

This book changed a lot of views I used to have and a lot of things we assume are common sense. Really recommend it.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-06-2020

Hard to put down

It's got everything I want in a book. All the subjects I'm interested in combined. I'm six hours in and it keeps grabbing me in every chapter. I have to stop writing now to continue. Awesome.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-06-2020

Really enjoyable read...

Really enjoyed the fresh perspective as well as all the examples of Human Kindness. Thank you.

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  • Jaroslav
  • 04-06-2020

Mind shifting, hopeful (hi)story of our kind

Great arguments and thoughts. I have still a little doubt about it, that it isn't all perfect knowledge. But it's clear this book tries to go a long way to find valuable information and give you the other, more common, side of "human nature" which our western culture miss so much.

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  • Myles Hocking
  • 08-09-2020

Misunderstanding the world

TL:DR; don't buy this book if you got a low score on the Gapminder test (Google it). I'm giving Rutger bregman book humankind a fairly low mark because in my estimation he tackles some big, solid giants and comes up leaving my worldview largely untouched but slightly depressed. His main adversary that he chooses is Steven Pinker whose recent tomes of "The Better Angels of our Nature" and "Evolution Now" have for hundred and hundreds of pages and dozens and dozens of well-researched the charts demonstrated that we are living in the most gilded time we are lucky beyond measure in the amount of knowledge we have our fingertips the amount of medical care and attention we can give it to ourselves and our loved ones and longevity we can enjoy. Absolutely lovely unparalleled on those. Bregman doesn't seem satisfied with this and what he wants to do is dig deep and subvert this understanding that Pinker took so long to establish: for example he delves into some of the prehistoric remains sites which Pinker uses to prove the point that, far from having some perfect Rousseau-freedom that we so thought we had, our past lives were very violent and often met with violent death. Bregman to his credit researches Pinker's research and comes up with some different explanations for example a prehistoric tribe with a violent past had the skull of a small boy who had his head caved-in. It was assumed that this was an act of violence from another hominid however further research has shown that it was probably a large bird of prey that dropped him to create the skull fracture. Another Bregman research conversion shows the tribe that rather than killing themselves and each other, they were in fact killed by local cowboys who were trying to settle and didn't like the nomads. In both of these examples Bregman sat back happy, smiling, thinking "there I've just shown that Rousseau's free man was a lovely wonderful being and it's only civilization that has ruined it". Well as I see it and think those Pinker death rates have not changed one jot and whether it's being let go at 50 feet by a giant eagle or being shot over a competition for land I'd rather neither of those things happened for my child in this day and age and I'm glad of the civilisation we have thank you very much. So what is Bergman's point? Tellingly he tells us that communism starts in the home from simple things that you might ask someone to "pass the pepper please" and they don't charge you for it... this was actually a sentence in his book I kid you not. Bregman for whatever reason isn't happy with the works of Pinker and other modern data enlightenment people and he doesn't want to think the world is largely on the right track and largely getting better by the decade (if not by the year, if not the month) but it is getting better in all manner of aspects whether that's longevity, gay rights, animal rights, violent deaths or international was. Instead Bregman seems to have a chip on his shoulder about how we got to where we are and it would rather see us form into some sort of communist kabal with each mini tribe being able to wander wherever it wants or live however it sees fit with everything working out equally and I've no idea how he thinks that kind of thing will work he doesn't bother suggesting anything himself either.. On a lighter note Bregman does seem to get it more right and the great comedian Bill Hicks is probably slightly wrong when he said "people in advertising and marketing industry were the scum of the earth and suck the devil's c**k" when actually it's your average journalist fits that role better. He goes through several instances including the Kitty Harris murder in New York and other 'bystander phenomenon' mistold and exacerbated by journalism. Control the pen and you control the people, and they need some good guys to run them out of town. Other neurological, psychological tests that were carried out at Harvard and Yale and Stanford in those crazy 60's are studied and their errors and Bregman turns them on their heads and he demonstrates that actually there were a bit forced and forged and modern man is quite chilled in most settings. Bergman thinks he's discovered a Holy Grail when he assembled analyses the facts within a war such as maybe 70 to 80% of soldiers never even fire the gun or shoot the arrow on purpose at their opponent because they're too horrified to actually kill a fellow man. Well again that great but "So what?!" that still leaves 10 to 20% with a fully loaded automatic weapon on both sides that prepared to do the bidding so what so what Bregman so what? Doesn't mean we're all kind Humans, does it?! Bregman skips around trying to prove some point on instincts when he delves into William Golding's "Lord of the flies" and says post cataclysmic World War 2's people did come up with this idea that we're all savage and we're going to tear each other apart if we left on an island together. He again to his credit, researches a small set of boys who actually were left on an island called Atta in the Pacific it's a lovely heartwarming story of six Tongan public school boarding boys who were washed up, and they did stick together, and they did manage to stay friends for 18 months, and they were rescued all fine, and they even managed to fix a broken leg and stay healthy and fish and start fires on the island. Great, but he does drop a side note mentioning that the island was once inhabited for hundreds of years but that slavers took every single person off the island 200 years ago and therefore it was uninhabited when the boys arrived. So in a chapter where he tried to prove the naked essence of our goodness he also shows that horrific things did go on a couple of hundred years ago and luckily they no longer go on, as you'd understand after reading and accepting Pinker. I could go on chapter of chapter telling in my "ok, so what's" but I listened, wincing all the way through because a chap with a heart of gold told me he found it very uplifting I'm very surprised having now read the book how this can be so. I find it a depressing attack on the current economy and good institutions of the world, the tearing down of the system seems to be what Bregman wants and and I can only hope that if you want more considered data-driven analysis of where we are and where we're going just go to the gapminder website or check out the aforementioned Pinker books. Bregmans title is humankind and I think he wants to be thinking that humans are kind and he felt he needed to prove this to himself somehow but he has not been kind himself or to those who were the giants upon whose shoulders we stand to see farther and feel better and live longer than we ever done before.

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  • D J VICTOR
  • 31-05-2020

The author was wrong

The opening was very enjoyable Rutger Bregman was reading his own text He said the professional performer would be better - unfortunately he was wrong - his slow, condescending style was unbearable - I gave up

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  • Markle
  • 12-09-2020

Everyone should read this.

A welcoming change in perspective on the negative views we’re faced with day to day.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Betty Chatterjee
  • 03-09-2020

Potentially life changing

Having listened to it just once, I intend to listen to it again in order to digest the contents. Hobbes rather than Rousseau has probably influenced my outlook more than I realised. IMO Studying and discussing this book with other people would be fruitful.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-08-2020

New realism, well told!

Full of great stories of human kindness and importantly to the sceptical of human unkindness. Recommended to anyone that feels the world is a scary awful place it isn't and if we turn off the news and listen to this book you'll be reminded of that

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  • judy tweddle
  • 28-06-2020

important book

Brilliant opening and premise. Well researched. Keeps getting more interesting. v uplifting . Everyone should read it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Elisabeth
  • 31-05-2020

Just amazing

Loved everything about this book! The narration is perfect, but more so the insights and how Bregman really breaks down the many sociological studies that formed our view of humans as evil and selfish, when in fact we are all «pretty decent». It’s inspiring.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 23-10-2020

Humankind

Humankind is amazing. It’s as human as we have always been, and as kind as we may aspire to be. Thanks for shining this light to live life by.

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  • Celia
  • 21-10-2020

crucial reading

this should be a textbook for year 12 and up. Brilliant and timely work

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  • Michael O'Callaghan
  • 20-10-2020

refreshing

A most inspiring view of humanity that helps to give justified hope for the future.