The Pursuit of Kindness

An Evolutionary History of Human Nature

Éamonn Toland

An evolutionary history of human nature makes the case for kindness as the key to survival.
Publication date:
May 2021
Publisher :
Liberties Press
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781912589210

Dimensions : 230 X 155 mm
In Stock


• Aims to tap into the market for serious non-fiction, in the style of Sapiens, Homo Deus and Guns, Germs and Steel
• Extensive media campaign in the UK and Ireland by Midas PR
• Numerous high-profile endorsements, including by Andrew Stark, Professor of Management and Political Science at the University of Toronto, and Fergus Shanahan, Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine at University College Cork and author of The Language of Illness

Richard Dawkins once wrote, "Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish."

He was wrong.

The Pursuit of Kindness is an evolutionary history of human nature which provides compelling evidence from biology, psychology and archaeology that for 95 percent of the time we have walked the earth, survival of the fittest for our species has meant survival of the kindest. Archaeological evidence from the upper Paleolithic shows that inter-group conflict was minimal, and population density was very low. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors probably had high rates of punitive homicide, but a rudimentary moral sense is hard-wired in us all, even though it is very influenced by environmental factors thereafter.

The era of Brexit and Trump has laid bare how quickly cultural norms of tolerance that persisted for hundreds of years can be rapidly overturned when disaster strikes. People blame-storm and scapegoat immigrants, religious minorities and social misfits for all of society's ills. The author argues that we need to recognise what we have in common in order to nurture the pursuit of kindness.


...gripping good read that leaves us both relieved and inspired to follow our natural instincts and work with each other for the common good.
Alan Rinzler, Editor of Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee and Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye

Entertaining, accessible and important, The Pursuit of Kindness is set to be one of the most important books of 2021. […] With this, his first book, Éamonn Toland has joined the ranks of Malcolm Gladwell and Steven Pinker.
Seán Black, best-selling author of the Lockdown series

...the case he makes is utterly convincing. The way he tells it, he is just following the science and, with echoes of cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker, encourages us to resist our negativity bias.
Irish Times

The book is fundamentally optimistic, but it's an optimism that is deeply influenced by a reality that will grow increasingly dark, unless we are prepared to take active steps to improve it. […] It's essential reading for anyone who cares about the past, but fears for the future.
Francis Pryor MBE, Time Team archaeologist and author of Britain BC intriguing book about why we care about one another. Rich with stories, and fresh in its perspective, this book will make you think more about what it means to be human. The book is for everyone because everyone needs kindness.
Fergus Shanahan, Emeritus Professor at UCC and author of The Language of Illness