Canongate is to publish Claudia Hammond's "optimistic" psychological study The Art of Kindness.
Simon Thorogood, editorial director, acquired world all language rights from Will Francis at Janklow & Nesbit.
The book argues that kindness should be taken more seriously, valued more deeply and adopted more widely by individuals and organisations alike. It will examine the growing evidence that humans are innately kind and that kindness is the key to our success as a species, the publisher said.
The synopsis explains: "Pulling together the latest research in psychology and neuroscience, and drawing on new research from the University of Sussex’s Kindness Lab, Claudia will show that we are kinder than we think, but could be kinder still, benefitting ourselves as well as others.
"She will show that kindness and altruism are hardwired. Contrary to the popular idea that small children are selfish, even the ‘terrible twos’ help one another instinctively before they even develop a theory of mind. The global response to the current Covid-19 pandemic has been largely characterised by generosity rather than the reverse, with billions of people who are at relatively low risk from the virus making great sacrifices to help those most vulnerable to the disease.
The book will set out 10 keys to the art of kindness, which taken together make up a practical prescription for a kinder life that every reader can adapt to their own circumstances. The book is optimistic, but grounded in solid research. It also includes inspirational and heartwarming stories of people who have acted in generous and compassionate ways, ranging from simple acts of everyday kindness to acts of extreme heroism and selflessness."
The Art of Kindness is Hammond’s follow-up to The Art of Rest, published in paperback last month. The book was picked for Waterstones Book of the Month and has been sold in 14 territories.
Hammond is a writer and broadcaster and visiting professor in the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Sussex. As the presenter of "All in the Mind", she is BBC Radio 4's voice of psychology and mental health. She has been awarded the President's Medal from the British Academy, the British Psychological Society's Public Engagement & Media Award, Mind's Making a Difference Award and the British Neuroscience Association's Public Understanding of Neuroscience Award. She is the author of Emotional Rollercoaster, Mind over Money and Time Warped, winner of the British Psychological Society's Best Popular Science Book Award and the Aeon Transmission Award.
She said: "Kindness is all around us, doing so much good in the world, but we sometimes don’t see it. I hope that the research I highlight in this book and the stories of kindness I tell will change that. I also hope to convince readers they are kind already, they could be kinder still, and if they were, they would be helping themselves as well as others.”
Thorogood added: "A book on how we can all be kinder to ourselves, to others and to our planet, is exactly what we need—and no-one could do it better than Claudia Hammond."