In The Better Angels of Our Nature, Pinker traces the prevalence of various kinds of violence—from military violence to homicide to animal abuse—over the course of human history. He finds that all forms of violence are steadily declining, and makes a compelling argument against the relatively common belief that human nature is fundamentally bad and getting worse. As the book's title suggests, human nature also comprises features that move people to cooperate.
Ricard is an unusually multifaceted expert on the topic of altruism. Not only is he a Buddhist monk and humanitarian, he has also been an author of and a participant in scientific studies of compassion and altruism. In his blog, he touches on many topics central to the study of altruism, including why almost anyone should—and can—cultivate a more altruistic mindset.
This beautiful documentary film was directed by Jan Kravitz, and follows one extraordinary altruist as she prepares for and undergoes surgery to donate one of her kidneys to a stranger. It explores the impact of altruistic kidney donation on both donor and recipient, and explores reasons why many people are uncomfortable with this level of generosity.