On Kindness, Paperback
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


What is kindness? Does it make us happier? And does it have a place in a selfish world? Psychoanalyst Adam Phillips and historian Barbara Taylor present an elegant, thoughtful and concise analysis of kindness in history, in life and in the modern world.

Suggesting that acts of kindness occur when we are at our most open and honest, they ask why it is that our faith in kindness has been shaken - and why we are all too ready to believe that antagonism has taken its place.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Popular philosophy
  • ISBN: 9780141039336



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I got this book after reading an article on happiness in the Guardian last week. I found that very interesting and this book - this little book which fits the hand so nicely - is also interesting. Makes the point that kindness is related to the words 'kin' and 'kind' in the sense of the same sort. Suggests that fellow feeling is a natural feeling which we have sort of denied in recent times and that kindness is something we like to do, it is good for us and makes us feel good. I am now reading the history behind it and there is a lot of stuff about Rousseau and his thoughts on this - he was a kindness superstar in his time though he farmed out all his children. Another reviewer here got lost in the psychoanalytic material which I have hardly hit yet.

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