“Survival of The Nicest”

I ran across “ Survival of the Nicest” (published by The Experiment in 2014) at least a year ago and then somehow forgot about it until I read about it again in a newsletter I receive. It’s not the kind of book one should forget, it speaks about how altruism could actually help human kind with its struggles. Its full subtitle is “How Altruism made us Humans & Why It Pays to Get Along.” You may not read this book, but regardless you ought to know its thesis. It is written by a science writer and PhD in biophysics, Stefan Klein, and looks at how the idea of evolution is helped by our ability to cooperate, share and be generous, and this not only in humans but in other species of the animal kingdom. He addresses how our social nature leads to our ability to adapt and succeed. He suggests that while the ideas of survival of the fittest may work in the short term, in the long run it is survival of the nicest that should make us get ahead. He cites examples from nature and tries to answer questions such as what motivates humans to help others, does unselfishness exists and why are some individuals more altruistic than others?
Next time the news, people’s behavior, or circumstances around us remind us of the survival of the fittest, let’s remember that’s it’s only one aspect of being human. These pieces and the ideas informing them, like the book, maintain that there is another side, whether one calls it “the Survival of the Nicest” or anything else.