Written By: Rutger Bregman

Narrated By: Thomas Judd, Rutger Bregman

Date: June 2020

Duration: 11 hours 37 minutes



The “lively” (The New Yorker), “convincing” (Forbes), and “riveting pick-me-up we all need right now” (People) that proves humanity thrives in a crisis and that our innate kindness and cooperation have been the greatest factors in our long-term success as a species.

If there is one belief that has united the left and the right, psychologists and philosophers, ancient thinkers and modern ones, it is the tacit assumption that humans are bad. It's a notion that drives newspaper headlines and guides the laws that shape our lives. From Machiavelli to Hobbes, Freud to Pinker, the roots of this belief have sunk deep into Western thought. Human beings, we're taught, are by nature selfish and governed primarily by self-interest.

But what if it isn't true? International bestseller Rutger Bregman provides 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. 

From the real-life Lord of the Flies to the solidarity in the aftermath of the Blitz, the hidden flaws in the Stanford prison experiment to the true story of twin brothers on opposite sides who helped Mandela end apartheid, 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 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.

"The Sapiens of 2020." —The Guardian

"Humankind made me see humanity from a fresh perspective." —Yuval Noah Harari, author of the #1 bestseller Sapiens

Longlisted for the 2021 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction

One of the Washington Post's 50 Notable Nonfiction Works in 2020


  • Regina F.

    A wonderful book. It is so we'll thought out and explained.

  • Laurie S.

    My favorite book of 2020!!! Tha author really did his research. He has reminded and convinced me of humans goodness.

  • Anonymous

    awesome book. I've been waiting for this view of human nature to be articulated for 40 years.

  • Karen A.

    This was a science packed book covering many topics relevant to the humanity. I especially loved the topic of power and how it changes the behavior even precived power. I also really enjoyed the part on intrinsic motivation. As a newly minted homeschool teacher I enjoyed thinking about getting my kids personally invested. My quibble is the author takes you into detail about what he first thought to be true without saying it was not true up front. The result is, I think I'm learning and trying to remember the study outcomes then suddenly he reveals all that was wrong. He the presents why and what is actually true to the best of our current understanding but it's a tad confusing.

Humankind: A Hopeful History

by Rutger Bregman

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Humankind: A Hopeful History, Rutger Bregman
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