Kindness is the foundation of the world's great religions and its most enduring philosophies. Why then does being kind feel so risky? If we crave kindness with such intensity, why is it often the last pleasure we permit ourselves? And why—despite our longing—are we often suspicious when we are on the receiving end of it? Drawing on intellectual history, literature, psychoanalysis, and contemporary social theory, this brief and essential book by psychoanalyst Adam Phillips and feminist historian Barbara Taylor restores what Marcus Aurelius declared was mankind's "greatest delight": the intense satisfactions of generosity and compassion.
"If we have all become more self-interested and self-serving, Phillips and Taylor suggest a little more altruism as an antidote to angst and alienation.... Theirs is a true tract for difficult times." —Times (London)