HSU Publishes Famed Altruism Researcher’s Latest Book


ARCATA, Calif. (KIEM)- There are a lot of people that wonder where our world is going and what kind of future our children will inherit.

Humboldt State University published a book that explores that very question.

Dr. Sam Oliner, founder of the altruistic behavior institute at Humboldt State and author of the Glass Half Full or Half Empty, had an experience as a kid that lead him to the research examined in this book.

“Sam was rescued by a Christian family during the Holocaust and because of his experiences with this family who put their lives on the line for him, he went on to study why people do good things for others,” said Dr. Ronnie Swartz, professor of social work at Humboldt State.

Dr. Oliner uses this book to look at the two different directions the world can take, the glass half full or half empty concept.

In the book he explores areas like war and violence, climate change, discrimination, religion, forgiveness and suffering and how they have affected our current world and what can be done to nudge the world in a hopeful direction.

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“After spending much of his career and publishing several books on goodness and compassion and empathy and altruism wanted to write a book that gives some direction on how the future could be,” said Dr. Swartz.

Dr. Swartz, who helped Dr. Oliner with the book, says that the purpose of this book is to help the next generation have the proper knowledge and tools to help create a better world then we have now.

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“This book gives us examples of very real ways in which our future is threatened: violence, hunger, conflict, the way in which people are treated because of the color of their skin, or how they express themselves and it gives us examples of how we can do different,” said Dr. Swartz. “So, our next generation can have a world better than the world that we have.”