The Kindness of Strangers

How a Selfish Ape Invented a New Moral Code


About The Book

Why do we give a damn about strangers?

Altruism is unique to the human species. It is also one of the great evolutionary puzzles, and we may be on the brink of solving it.

It turns out that, over the last 12,000 years, we have become more and more altruistic. This is despite the fact that, the majority of the time, our minds are still breathtakingly indifferent to the welfare of others.

In solving the enigma of generosity in a world of strangers, McCullough takes us on a sweeping history of society and science to warn that, if we are not careful, our instincts and sympathies have as much potential for harm as for good. The bad news is that we are not designed to be kind. The good news is that we can push ourselves to be kind anyway, together.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (June 4, 2020)
  • Length: 320 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781786078193

Raves and Reviews

‘It is not easy to want to forgive, rather than avenge, a wrong. In this fascinating book, Mike McCullough has delved into the evolution of the mind and discovered the means by which we can do it.’

– Matt Ridley on Beyond Revenge

‘Our species’ aggressiveness draws so much attention that we sometimes forget our preference for peace. Having studied human forgiveness, Michael McCullough is in a perfect position to explain its evolution. This book opens our eyes to a much-neglected topic.’

– Frans de Waal on Beyond Revenge