Pretty soon, however, I noticed something familiar. Most books are also about the exceptional. The biggest history bestsellers are invariably about catastrophes and adversity, tyranny and oppression. About war, war, and, to spice things up a little, war. And if, for once, there is no war, then we’re in what historians call the interbellum: between wars. In science, too, the view that humanity is bad has reigned for decades. Look up books on human nature and you’ll find titles like Demonic Males, The Selfish Gene and The Murderer Next Door. Biologists long assumed the gloomiest theory of evolution, where even if an animal appeared to do something kind, it was framed as selfish. Familial affection? Nepotism! Monkey splits a banana? Exploited by a freeloader!31 As one American biologist mocked, ‘What passes for co-operation turns out to be a mixture of opportunism and exploitation. […] Scratch an “altruist” and watch a “hypocrite” bleed.’32 And in economics? Much the same. Economists defined our species as the homo economicus: always intent on personal gain, like selfish, calculating robots. Upon this notion of human nature, economists built a cathedral of theories and models that wound up informing reams of legislation. Yet no one had researched whether homo economicus actually existed. That is, not until economist Joseph Henrich and his team took it up in 2000. Visiting fifteen communities in twelve countries on five continents, they tested farmers, nomads, and hunters and gatherers, all in search of this hominid that has guided economic theory for decades. To no avail. Each and every time, the results showed people were simply too decent. Too kind.