WHAT I’VE BEEN READING: Humankind by Rutger Bregman

A few months ago I posted on social media that all my reading lately had been pretty depressing and negative and I asked for some recommendations for books that would cheer me up! Thanks to Dr Andrew Rixon for recommending this book to me! The premise of this book is that humans are fundamentally good and kind. The book explores some of the research and media that has painted a fairly dark picture of humans (e.g. that we are self-absorbed, that without laws and effective governance we would behave badly towards one another) and demonstrates the flaws in much of this work. For example, Bregman accessed the data and recordings of some very well known psychological experiments (some I remember being taught at university) and shows how the reporting of the outcomes was, basically, wrong. He demonstrates again and again how the media tends to skew our perceptions of one another in negative ways. He explores some of the most appalling events in our history and finds some interesting things about the people and conditions that caused them. If you are currently shaking your head at world events, and wondering whether we are all one step away from something akin to Lord of the Flies (a book Bregman discusses in detail), this book will give you some balance and some hope. The book ends with ten rules to live by that may seem a little idealistic, but that also could actually create a more peaceful future!

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