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The Humanist Approach to Happiness: Practical Wisdom Paperback – August 26, 2010

4.1 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jennifer is a Humanist Life Skills educator. She helps transform people’s lives by teaching people how Humanism can help them in all aspects of their life and how it can help them to be the best most ethical person they can be. Her work focuses on 3 key areas: How to make better decisions through critical thinking. How to improve your relationships through compassion. How to infuse your life with meaning and purpose by prioritizing your ethics. By sharing her pragmatic Humanist approach to living life fully and intentionally, Jennifer has transformed the lives of those who have been touched by her work. By encouraging people be the best, most ethical humans they can be, she consistently challenges people to think about and question who they are, what they are and more importantly, how they want to be. Her work encourages people to rise to the challenge of living fully; embracing both the good and the bad as part of what it means to be alive.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 122 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (August 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1453651705
  • ISBN-13: 978-1453651704
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.3 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,222,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Autumn M. Reinhardt on April 8, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this ebook just as I was really starting to explore Humanism and I'm glad that I had read a bit about Humanism before I'd read this one. This book, while giving a somewhat decent general overview of Humanism, got a little too weird for me when the author started to go into detail about things like sexual relationships. Rather than just giving the Humanist "don't hurt yourself or others" we got the author moralizing on the unacceptability of one-night stands and generally making sex sound like a minefield. In fact, the author appeared to enjoy moralizing, whether it was sex, veganism or whatever, that I figured the book was less about Humanism and more about the author's personal choices. As a Humanist, I have to say those choices are valid for her but I did not understand why they were a part of this book which was, I thought, meant to be a general book on Humanist ethics that promote happiness.
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I felt the author was a little over the top preachy about dealing with ourselves, our bodies and how we view other people. I felt some of her views were very last century. These include stereotyping any person with mental health issues as unqualified to be good life partners as well as any person who may just be controlling selfish jerks as proof that mentally ill people should be avoided. The author glosses over lgbt relationships as a choice like polygamy or polyamory falling into the trap that many religious organizations use as a way to deny rights to other human beings. Her use of describing three important human values as a "Trinity of truth" and eventually the "holy Trinity of truth" smells very much like religious dogma. As an atheist who spent years of back and forth wrestling to rid myself of the Protestant and evangelical chains of dogma that were so tightly wrapped around my mind from birth, I find it unfortunate that the author would use religious language to describe basic human values. Finally, the over use of quotes was distracting and sometimes quotes seemed to be used solely to fill pages.
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The author has some correct information in here but then branches into opinion and usually about topics that aren't about humanism. I don't think a book about happiness needs to talk about buying generic or HFC. Even worse was the sex chapter it is basically all opinion and some of that is obviously false like when the author tells men that woman that have sex with them want to be in a relationship. I'm sure that is true some of the time but not all of the time.
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I bought this book after seeing it reviewed on The Meming of Life. "The Humanist Approach to Happiness" is a fairly light read -- i suspect the average reader could knock it out in a couple of hours -- but is absolutely bursting with thought-provoking content delivered in an easy-to-read colloquial style. The pages are peppered with various quotations which, though at first distracting, proved to complement the text nicely. Minor typographical errors are rendered insignificant by the ideas author Jennifer Hancock conveys.

Before reading this book i would never have called myself a humanist, but as i read i realized that i was already embracing much of the philosophy. I'd expected to disagree with at least some of the author's conclusions and advice. I was pleasantly surprised to find that most of what she wrote was very inclusive, and that the general principles she presented were consistent with my own personal ethics. If you already identify as a humanist, or if -- more generally -- you place more value on humans and humanity than you do in dogma and institutions, you will likely find "Approach" gives insight into not only how you are already living your life, but also into how you might live it more fully and consistently.

This book has something to offer to many groups of people. There are parts on dating, relationships, and sex. There's a chapter on addictions, whether the reader has one or knows someone who does. The author shares her thoughts on education, on family, even on driving. And most of it comprises little things, tiny changes in attitude or mindset, which can help you live life more happily and thereby increase the happiness of those around you.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. I suspect even devout religious folk will find a lot of practical wisdom in this book, and no amount of quibbling over details can nullify that wisdom.
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I was interested in knowing more about humanist philosopy when I purchased this book. It has some very basic information (although I think advice about how much water to drink and how to 'poop' is a bit too basic)
The author also advises readers not to become romantically involved with anyone who does not have a good relationship with their parent of the opposite sex. I find blanket statements such as this to be less than compassionate and most certainly not always good advice.
If you need very basic advice about how to behave well as a human, this book may be of some use. If you are looking for more detailed information on humanist philosophy, you may be disappointed.
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A succinct primer and description of how humanists can lead happy, ethical and fulfilling lives, even without theistic support. Writing style definitely geared toward teens, but it makes it easy to read. Not long, but I found myself marking almost every page, as she clearly presents answers and a viewpoint in a way that would be easy to communicate to people who don't understand humanism.
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