HUMANKIND A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman


I needed to read this book. I really did. Bregman takes up the long running conversation around whether humanity, as a species, is good or bad at the core. Are we evil, self serving, barbaric, held barely in check by the veneer of civilization? Or are we in fact motivated by grace, community, love? Bregman posits that, in fact, we good and kind and presents a wealth of studies and examples that demonstrate why he believes, intrinsically, that this is true. He even dives into our darkest moments in history to explain how good people can do bad things. A tough subject, but this book is an easy read, conversational almost. And the author’s positive attitude is contagious.

He also writes about what is possible if we are willing to move forward with an attitude of goodness, and gives examples that show how it can, and has, worked. All in all, well worth the read.

13 comments on “HUMANKIND A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman”

  1. Thank you for putting this on my radar- the cover is delightful, thank you sharing it – I needed those colors today ❀

    Going to see if I can acquire this through the library…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, I too love the cover. It just lifts me. As to your wait, ha! You will need it badly but I am glad to see that folks are lining up to read it.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve never believed that human beings are born “evil.” A lot of bad ideas are based on the concept of “survival of the fittest.” Darwin actually said something more like “Survival of the form that will leave the most copies of itself in successive generations.” It was Herbert Spencer who perpetrated the theory of social Darwinism whereby superior physical force shapes history. Spencer coined the phrase “survival of the fittest.” This philosophy certainly has led us down a dark path. The best way to insure human survival is community and living in tune with nature not fighting to be the greatest (individually or collectively). I am so glad more and more people are studying and writing about what humanity must draw on to survive. I’m glad the book is in such high demand. My library does not own the book–I put in a “request to purchase.” I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for the review!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I just picked up Humankind from the library. I hadn’t remembered that I had suggested it for purchase until I reread my comment above–a nice surprise–they bought it! I wanted to know more about the author, and I found this short interview with Trevor Noah: Bregman is a remarkable young man. I really need some hope grounded in reality. It sounds like many of us are reeling from the weeks news. I’m anxious to dive into this book. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for this link, Barbara. I had watched Bregman’s TED talk but had not seen this one. I agree that he is a remarkable young man, willing to think outside the box and back his ideas up with evidence, often historic evidence. Wish more folks would tune in to what he is saying.


  4. I absolutely loved this author and this book. I’m so glad you reviewed it for us. Our imaginations can take us down a variety of paths, some very dark. I heard Dr. Bandy Lee, the force behind The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, interviewed recently. She’s written a new report on Trump. According to Dr. Lee, mental states like paranoia and delusions are contagious with exposure, just like COVID spreads in large unprotected crowds. I think the reverse must also be true. Exposure to people and ideas that nurture the best of what it means to be human is one of our best “vaccines” right now to keep us whole and healthy. Work like Bregman’s is an essential tool for keeping us well.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I just checked my place in the queue at the library for this book and I’m 16/19 πŸ™‚ Looking forward to taking this medicine!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on Summer 2021- Reading Bingo and commented:

    All these months later, I’ve gotten my copy from the library! πŸ™‚ I’m adding this to my ‘recommended by library staff’ which may be a stretch but hey, thems the non-rules πŸ˜‰


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