Rutger Bregman

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER. “The Sapiens of 2020.”—The Guardian

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Utopia for Realists comes “the riveting pick-me-up we all need right now” (People), the #1 Dutch bestseller Humankind, which offers a “bold” (Daniel H. Pink), “extraordinary” (Susan Cain) argument that humans thrive in a crisis and that our innate kindness and cooperation have been the greatest factors in our long-term success on the planet.

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

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.

Humandkind - Reviews

“Bregman argues convincingly that what we teach and report about ourselves, we become … Bold, entertaining and uplifting.”


“Humankind displays [Bregman’s] gift for synthesising libraries full of academic research into spellbinding reads.”

The Financial Times

“This is the book we need right now … Entertaining, uplifting … If Bregman is right, this book might just make the world a kinder place”

The Telegraph

“An optimistic historian sifts through the past in his mission to prove that mankind might not be so bad … A superb read – brisk, accessible and full of great stories.”

The Sunday Times

“Listen out for Rutger Bregman. He has a big future shaping the future.”

The Observer

“Bregman’s argument is simple but radical: Most people are good, and we do ourselves a disservice by thinking the worst of others. Bregman argues that believing in human kindness is a f...

USA Today

“Bregman puts together a compelling argument that society has been built on a false premise… He has a Gladwellian gift for sifting through academic reports and finding anecdotal jewels&...

The Guardian

“A lively social history… Bregman offers a compelling case for reshaping institutions and policies along genuinely humane lines.”

The New Yorker

“I greatly enjoyed reading Humankind. It made me see humanity from a fresh perspective and challenged me to rethink many long-held beliefs. I warmly recommend it to others, and I trust it wil...

Yuval Noah Harari