What is human nature and from where is it derived? Do you belive that human beings are inherently good or evil? Why does it seem as though we only hear about the negative with regards to human actions? Dutch philosopher and historian Rutger Bregman challenges conventional wisdom that human beings are inherently bad, and makes a compelling argument that we are by nature kind, helpful, and generally care deeply for the well-being of humanity.

I have to admit that when I started reading I was skeptical of his claims, but I have rarely been accused of being an optimist (just ask my wife). I had formed many strong opinions based upon how I saw the world that convinced me that most people care only for their own interests. I had become conditioned to see the negative that exists all around.

And I have to say that it took close to the entire book to change my willingness to see things differently. But ultimately Bregman succeeded and I’m grateful for his insight. Growing up I was judgmental of myself and others. Unfortunately in that judgement, I’m sure that others have viewed me as unkind. But over the past year, I have tried to focus more on kindness (though I know I have not succeeded in every situation). We speak of kindness all the time in our home, and if there is one thing I want for my kids to be in this life – it is to be kind.

So maybe that is why he finally wore me down and I caved to his point of view. In a world that appears to be overrun with negativity, Bregman makes a compelling argument that the solution to the world’s problems exists within our nature already, and that solution is kindness. I hope you find this book as compelling as I did.