In an antidote to the woes of the world, this Dutch historian offers a fresh perspective on human nature. Is it possible that people are fundamentally decent and not the selfish and self-interested beings we have been led to believe? Drawing from wide-ranging disciplines including psychology, politics, philosophy and sociology, the author reassesses historical events and landmark studies in human behaviour, to make the well-referenced case that we have been woefully misinformed.
Bold and engaging, this stimulating book challenges the basic negative assumptions we have about human nature that we have inherited and proposes an optimistic alternative, and a roadmap for a better future.
Thought provoking. Relevant points and extremely well researched. Very thoughtful.
Humankind generated a lot of discussion in our group. The book was a relatively easy read, and the premise was interesting, but some found the writing a little convoluted and his conclusions rather simplistic "pop-psychology". We noted that the book's case studies and examples were quite euro-centric and male. On the other hand, the book - and particularly the "ten rules" for life at the end did lead to some really interesting discussions and exchanges about our own attitudes and approaches to modern society.
Our all-male group enjoyed this book for its well-researched information and optimistic views on humankind. Some members didn't buy the argument of essential goodness; some thought the book too selective in its case studies; and some thought it repetitive.
We all found this book fascinating and informative. Easy to read despite its length. We all felt we had learned a lot from it.
Everyone who had read the book and gave feedback scored it as a 4. Good discussion. One attendee hadnt persevered with it, but after listening to the discussion she wished she had done. Easy writing style, breakdown into short chapters was useful, excellent research documentation. Book was enlightening and also disturbing, bad news sells, facts are manipulated both in serious research and the media. Some comments relating to reading this title in the pre-election period and wishing that some of the politicians/aspiring politicians had read it and taken note.
A thought-provoking read - enjoyed by a majority of our group although we can not agree with all of his beliefs!!
Some of the group struggled to read more than half. Of those who finished it, all really enjoyed it. It led to a lively and intense discussion.
A very informative read. Would be great if more of the world could read it! Very dense though, needs to be read in pieces. Interesting discussion re the premise of inherent goodness in humans - some of our group religious, some not!
The group was impressed with the range and amount of research by the author. The book led to a positive and encouraging discussion about new ways of dealing with social problems by focusing on the inherent good in people.
This book made for an interesting discussion. The group had divided opinions on the use of positive idealism versus the more cynical view of human nature. An easy writing style encouraged us to immerse ourselves in this challenging book which answered some questions we had, but left us with much food for thought.
This book promoted a lively discussion. We found it easy to read. We were awed by the depth and breadth of the author's research both against and supporting his ideas. Several of us have bought or are buying a copy to re-read and to pass on to others. Highly recommended.
The group loved this book, and several members are planning to buy copies for themselves and others.
Stimulating read. Life changing. Would definitely recommend it to others. Our whole group enjoyed it.
Everyone found it interesting and we all learnt a lot and were challenged to think differently. Many of us started enthusiastically, but then got bogged down in all the details and examples. We felt it could have been edited more. Sometimes his opinions were too black and white, and we think life is way more nuanced than he described. He started with a premise (that people are inherently good) and then found evidence that would fit nicely into this premise. We enjoyed the stories of successful enterprises using the trusting optimistic philosophies. Generated a great discussion
Sorry the book is late - two members, on learning how good the others thought the book, admitted they hadn't read it to the end and insisted on doing so! Excellent for discussion.
We all enjoyed dynamic discussions of this "hopeful history". We noted that this book effectively addresses and demolishes myths. We appreciated the way the author challenges management styles in education, justice, and health, and describes some innovative possibilities. The book illustrates the pointlessness of bombing and highlights the power of the people who have built and ordered bombing.
We had such good discussion about this book. It was so welcome to read an optomistic book during these times. Some of the chapters, e.g. delving deeper into what happened at Easter Island, were particularly fascinating.
About half of our group didn't read this. Those who did found it very worthwhile. Several members quoted a number of things from the book, and this made others wish they had read it.
We loved the ideas, research and intent of 'Humankind', and it was engagingly written. We felt it did labour the point a bit, and perhaps was selective in the examples.
A very refreshing take on the human condition. Well liked by all.
Most people got something out of this book, but were critical of the lack of proof of the author's arguments. It did create good discussion on wide ranging topics.
This book provided our group with our liveliest and longest discussion. Excellent book, very well-written. The author draws you in to believe a certain way, then changes direction. Big themes, much to think about - great to read an optimistic book that demonstrates a different way to understand the inherent goodness of the human race. Worth a second read too!
Everyone loved this book, all scored it 9-10 out of 10. Would all recommend it. Very readable, excellent translation, full of fascinating facts and stories, a huge amount of research done to discover the experiments and stories. Very topical and insightful, and stimulated a lot of discussion. One of our highest scoring books ever.
Very thoughtful. Loved the style of argument.
An uplifting book - food for thought, and a positive look at the human condition in these difficult times for so many.
This was not literature but we liked it a lot. It was packed with information, not all of it relevant to his argument and some of it contradictory, but it was interesting. Some of his claims seemed doubtful to us and some of his research was one-sided, but overall it was enjoyed.
Although this book did not suit everyone in our group, those that read it thoroughly enjoyed it. The book produced a most enjoyable discussion.
Great book! Not a light read but we enjoyed it:-)
We all found the book very interesting and challenging our long held beliefs. Several thought it was an excellent book , well written and fitted in well with non-violence philosophy. Others felt it was too long and needed editing and one thought it developed into almost a cult like treatise trying to convince you to join his ideas. It provoked a great discussion and we all agreed many more people should read it. Was very Eurocentric even though several examples were from other cultures and ignored the role gender plays in our understanding of what it is to be human. A very clever author.