The Pursuit of Kindness

  • "Eamonn Toland’s The Pursuit of Kindness is an extraordinary game-changer, a compelling and original book that corrects a universal misunderstanding about the core nature of the human species that is particularly relevant to the current American and European political conflicts. For decades, modern civilisation has accepted the premise that the human race evolves as the 'survival of the fittest', which requires that people to battle against each other 'red in tooth and claw', so that the weak fall by the wayside, while the strong pass their genes onto the next generation through so-called natural selection. But this brutal and nihilistic concept is wrong. Toland explains that the latest evidence from archeology, biology and psychology has shown us that at the earliest stages of human existence, our hunter-gatherer ancestors didn’t survive by being stronger than others, but by working together. We are naturally predisposed to be kind and collaborative. Consequently, The Pursuit of Kindness is a 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 Buried My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown and The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  • "Entertaining, accessible and important, The Pursuit of Kindness is set to be one of the most important books of 2021. A sweeping analysis of why kindness and cooperation isn't just morally important but key to our survival as a species. With this, his first book, Éamonn Toland has joined the ranks of Malcolm Gladwell and Steven Pinker." ––David Young, aka Seán Black, best-selling author of the Lockdown series
  • "Éamonn Toland has written an 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, Professor Emeritus at University College Cork and author of The Language of Illness
  • "This is a book about hope, optimism and kindness, but it is realistic, too: Éamonn Toland has taken a very long view, back to the earliest humans. His approach is global and extraordinarily ambitious – which it has to be, given the size and profundity of the topic. He uses the lessons of history and prehistory to suggest paths towards a kinder, more caring future in a world that has become increasingly polarised and intolerant. 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. If climate change is to be halted, human societies will also have to change. This book shows us how and why this might happen. It’s essential reading for anyone who cares about the past, but fears for the future." ––Francis Pryor, Time Team archaeologist and author of Britain BC

Meet The Author

Éamonn Toland read Modern History and Economics at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, where he received a Lawlor Foundation Scholarship. After graduation he worked as a management consultant with Accenture and McKinsey & Co., and as an entrepreneur and business executive. In addition to being a media spokesman for Accenture, he has written articles for the London Times and Telegraph, appeared in television shows and documentaries, and been a key speaker at numerous conferences. Together with his wife and son, he divides his time between Dublin, London and New York. The Pursuit of Kindness is his first book.


Richard Dawkins once wrote, “Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish.” Francis Collins, former Director of the Human Genome Project, believed that our selfless moral feelings conflict with the evolutionary urge to preserve our DNA, and could only have come to pass as a result of divine intervention. They were both wrong.

In The Pursuit of Kindness, Éamonn Toland provides compelling evidence from biology, psychology, history and archaeology that, for 95 percent of the time that humans have walked the earth, survival of the fittest for our species has meant survival of the kindest. In fascinating, clearly written and entertaining prose, he argues that collaboration is more deeply engrained than competition, and that it is only by working together that human beings can prosper. In an increasingly polarised world, The Pursuit of Kindness offers an optimistic view of human development; it is essential reading for all those interested in the survival of the human species.

The Pursuit of Kindness is available in all good bookshops in Ireland and the UK.

The book everyone’s talking about:

Weight 0.5 kg
Dimensions 23 × 16 × 3 cm