Nurturing Our Humanity offers a new perspective on our personal and social options in today’s world, showing how to structure our environments – from family and gender relations to politics and economics – to support our great capacities for consciousness, caring, and creativity. It examines where societies fall on the partnership-domination scale and how this impacts equity, sustainability, peace, and how our brains develop. Combining cutting-edge findings from biological and social science, it explains regressions to strongman rule and other dangerous trends; re-examines our past (including societies that for millennia oriented toward partnership), and outlines actions to move us in this life-sustaining-and enhancing direction.

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Nurturing Our Humanity offers a new perspective on our personal and social options in today’s world, showing how we can build societies that support our great human capacities for consciousness, caring, and creativity. It brings together findings—largely overlooked—from the natural and social sciences debunking the popular idea that we are hard-wired for selfishness, war, rape, and greed. Its groundbreaking new approach reveals connections between disturbing trends like climate change denial and regressions to strongman rule. Moving past right vs. left, religious vs. secular, Eastern vs. Western, and other familiar categories that do not include our formative parent-child and gender relations, this book explores where societies fall on the partnership-domination scale. On one end is the domination system that ranks man over man, man over woman, race over race, and man over nature. On the other end is the more peaceful, egalitarian, gender-balanced, and sustainable partnership system. Nurturing Our Humanity explores how behaviors, values, and socioeconomic institutions develop differently in these two environments, documents how these contrasting social systems impact nothing less than how our brains develop, and proposes actions to support the contemporary movement toward the life-enhancing partnership orientation. Whereas the domination system likely leads humanity to a tragic evolutionary dead end, the equitable and sustainable partnership path is both biologically possible and culturally attainable.

Download Nurturing Our Humanity Discussion Questions for educators and book groups

Additional information


Riane Eisler and Douglas P. Fry

Pub. Date

August 1, 2019


Oxford University Press, New York.






“This fearless, beautiful, and very timely book is a radical reminder that humanity’s truest nature is oriented toward love, partnership, gender equality, and peace. It is essential and transformative reading for every policymaker, philanthropist, activist, and change-maker interested in a more just, balanced and peaceful world.”
—Jennifer Buffet, President, NoVo Foundation

“In a world that feels ever more dangerous, divided, and out of balance, Nurturing Our Humanity outlines the roadmap for how we raise a healthier generation of children and move away from a punitive and domination based society to a world that leads with partnership-where empathy, care, and community are valued above all, and each can fulfill our full human potential.” 
– Jennifer Siebel Newsom, First Partner of California, Filmmaker, Miss Representation, The Mask you Live In, The Great American Lie

“This is the book for our time! Eisler and Fry have put their minds and hearts together to provide an integrative vision of how humanity’s cooperative nature can be nurtured and supported. …Everyone should read this book …so together we can re-envision our future!”
—Darcia Narvaez, professor of psychology, University of Notre Dame

“Nurturing Our Humanity explores the capacity for human happiness and its relationship to the development of sustainable cultures at a political and environmental point in history when we need it the most.”
—James McClintock, author, Lost Antarctica

“Human nature holds just as much potential for caring and partnership as war and domination.  Knowing that changes everything.”
—Abigail Disney, Fork Films, producer, Pray the Devil Back to Hell and Women, War, & Peace

“This path-breaking book systematically goes beyond the conventional divides that are hurting much of today’s civilizations and still dominate the rhetoric of warmongering. It is essential that the virtues of partnership get stronger and the vices of domination are controlled. I am impressed and delighted reading Nurturing Our Humanity!”
—Ernst von Weizsäcker, Honorary President, Club of Rome

“While the domination system is rigid and suggests violence and war are inevitable, the partnership system stresses empathy, creativity, and caring as core human traits. Eisler and Fry show how we lived without war thousands of years ago, and that we can do so again. This groundbreaking book should be required reading for all world leaders and global decision makers.”
—Sarah Parcak, author, Archaeology from Space

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Rachel Dorroh Reply

    I am interested in possibly starting a discussion group for this book. I see a link for Discussion Questions above, but it does not work. Is there a way I can access this or other relevant resources?
    Thank you!
    Rachel Dorroh

    • Ann Amberg Reply

      Hi Rachel,
      Thanks for bringing this to our attention! The link is fixed–the Discussion Questions can be downloaded as a pdf. Please do keep in touch with me, Ann Amberg at if/when you launch your Nurturing Our Humanity book group. I’d like to invite you to submit a short blog post for our Leaders Blog, reflecting your thoughts and group experience. We’d like to inspire others to start a similar book group.

      Thanks, and I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.

      -Ann Amberg
      Director of Engagement and Outreach
      Co-Director, Leadership & Learning Programs

  2. Ilya Kursenko Reply


    I am Ilya Kursenko, an Oxford-Russia Fund Fellow, a researcher in sustainable peace systems. Reading Nurturing Our Humanity has inspired me to launch a Sustainable Peace Analysis Network project and reach out into the subjects that are raised in the book. I was just wondering what could be the great ways to connect with the authors or with the existing community of like-minded intellectuals who are considering international politics through the imperatives of gender, equality, peace education, and culture of peace.


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