Hope for Cynics

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Author: Jamil Zaki

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Book Format: Paperback / softback

Publisher: Robinson

ISBN: 9781472148193

RRP: $34.99

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Cynicism is making us sick; Stanford psychologist Dr Jamil Zaki has the cure – a ‘ray of light for dark days’ (Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author).

For thousands of years, people have argued about whether humanity is selfish or generous, cruel or kind. But recently, our answers have changed. In 1972, half of Americans agreed that most people can be trusted; by 2018, that figure had fallen to 30%. Different generations, genders, religions and political parties can’t seem to agree on anything, except that they all think human virtue is evaporating.

Cynicism is a perfectly understandable response to a world full of injustice and inequality. But in many cases, cynicism is misplaced. Dozens of studies find that people fail to realise how kind, generous and open-minded others really are. And cynical thinking worsens social problems, because our beliefs don’t just interpret the world; they change it. When we expect people to be awful, we coax awfulness out of them. Cynicism is a disease, with a history, symptoms and a cure. Through science and storytelling, Jamil Zaki imparts the secret for beating back cynicism: hopeful scepticism. This approach doesn’t mean putting our faith in every politician or influencer. It means thinking critically about people and our problems, while simultaneously acknowledging and encouraging our strengths. Far from being naive, hopeful scepticism is a more precise way of understanding others, and paying closer attention re-balances how you think about human nature. As more of us do this, we can take steps towards building the world we truly want.

I can’t imagine a more timely topic. Hope is a skill, and one of my favourite psychologists has written its playbook. Hope for Cynics is grounded in fascinating research yet deeply personal, with an outstanding practical appendix of ‘try this’ tips for escaping the snare of cynicism

If you think hope is naive and cynicism is wise, get ready to think again. Jamil Zaki is at the forefront of the science of beliefs, and he shows that refusing to see possibility makes it impossible to solve problems. This book is a ray of light for dark days

There has always been an emotional case for hope, but now there is a rational one. Jamil Zaki’s new book is beautiful, wise, and important-a sensible, scientific, and much-needed tonic for what ails us

Magnificently written and powerfully moving, Hope for Cynics is *the* societal medicine we all need right now. Filled with the latest science, practical tips and moving stories, Zaki provides an inspiring example of how each and every one of us can turn towards more optimism, connection and joy

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