My favorite Humanist Books

This may come as a shock, but I am not the only Humanist educator out there. Shocking, I know. Here is a list of some of the books about Humanism I think you should read if you are interested in learning more about Humanism.

(You can get more information on these books and other books about Humanism here: https://humanistlearning.com/category/shop/humanism101/?submit=View)



Of course – I also recommend my books:




Freedom, Leadership, Responsibility & Humanism

Why is leading people so darned hard? Freedom.


There is a joke in Humanist communities. Leading Humanists is like herding cats.  They all have their own ideas.  The hallmark of a good leader is that they can herd cats.

One of the ways you do this is by feeding them. The same is true of humans. If we are hungry, we will pretty much do anything for the person who offers us food (or money so that we can buy food).

But what has this got to do with freedom?  

Everyone you meet has autonomy, meaning, they are free to choose their actions, for the most part. There are limitations on individual autonomy (freedom) having to do with brain chemistry and conditioning, but it’s pretty clear that free will is something most of us experience.

For leaders, this means recognizing that the individuals on your team, or those you want to recruit to your team have a choice.  They don’t have to do what you say. You can entice them with benefits (money, food and so on). But enticements will only get you so far, especially if other leaders are also enticing those same individuals with benefits. With competition, comes choice.

Why promote responsibility? 

Freedom is related to responsibility. Sure, you are free to act however you want, but your actions have consequences. Most of us understand this instinctively. Responsibility is more than just understanding and accepting consequences.  It’s a choice.

People who chose to be responsible do so because they understand that freedom is bought with responsibility. To gain control over your life, you have to choose your behaviors to maximize the good and minimize the harm.

People also choose to be responsible because it feels good. To be responsible is to respect other people and the impact you have on them. Being responsible helps us feel connected to other people precisely because it causes us to accept their existence as real.

Great Leaders and Freedom

Great leaders are the ones who don’t just simply entice their team, they engage them.  What purpose the engagement takes determines how engaged the team is.  It’s about motivation. And freedom is one heck of a motivator.

To be free, one must not only have autonomy, they must not be restrained.  If you don’t have food to eat, you aren’t free. If you don’t have transportation, you aren’t really free.  Freedom isn’t just about whether there are laws restricting you. It is also about whether the conditions of your existence restrict you.

Why Humanism? 

This is why Humanistic management and leadership is so important as we as a society try to move forward. Humanistic responsibility focuses our efforts on others and on ourselves. If we can create the conditions where the basic standard of living for everyone is good enough that no one is restrained by extreme privation, we are creating the conditions in which we ourselves can thrive.

When a leader engages people in a task this important, they can motivate their team to work together to do great things. Our why is freedom. Our how is responsibility.

Feeling Overwhelmed?

If you are doing too much, goal setting can help you prioritize.

If you are competent, you are busy. Sometimes too busy. People are always asking you to help out and take on a bit more work. So in addition to your work, your family and the upkeep of the house, you also have volunteering and hobbies and well, life.

I am also an entrepreneur. There are all sorts of things I could and should be doing to support my business, but the reality is, I have time constraints. I can’t do everything.

Yet, I don’t feel overwhelmed. My secret? I understand my goals so that I can prioritize.

Knowing what you want to accomplish, and more importantly why you want to accomplish helps you sort through the day to day demands and prioritize those that are critical, that that need to be done and those that would be nice to do.

Lots of people have a to do list. What they have trouble with is deciding which stuff can wait. In order to prioritize your to-do list, you have to know why those items are on your list in the first place.

We have primary goals and secondary goals and then intermediary goals that help us achieve our secondary and primary goals.  My primary goal is to live life fully and to leave the world a better place.  All my secondary goals, like create a business to help people learn how to stop bullies are in support of my primary goal.  My intermediate goals, like call on companies to talk to them about buying my sexual harassment trainings, are intermediate goals, designed to help me achieve my secondary goal which will help me achieve my primary goal of making the world a better place.
Planning for Personal Success! A Humanist Approach with Jennifer Hancock
The reason it’s important to have a goal hierarchy is because you can’t prioritize your to-do list if your goals your to-do list are in support of aren’t prioritized! When I am in a time crunch, I look at my to do list and it’s very easy to sort into must do and can wait. Why? Because I have my priorities straight.

To learn more how to do this – take my ecourse: Planning for Personal Success at:  https://humanistlearning.com/planforpersonalsuccess/ 


Navigating Minefields in the Office

Not every workplace has a toxic employee – but even non-toxic workplaces have their challenges.

If the Workplace Bullying Institute’s numbers are correct, then 48% of us have either been bullied, are currently being bullied or have witnessed bullying in the workplace. (see: http://workplacebullying.org/multi/pdf/WBI-2014-US-Survey.pdf) That’s half of the workforce. That’s a lot.

And for those of us lucky enough to not work in a workplace where that happens, we still have to deal with interpersonal dynamics. Even if we do get along, conflicts between people happen.

How can we navigate the potential minefields that exist in every office? Reason, compassion and action. The hallmarks of the humanist approach to life (see:  http://happiness.jen-hancock.com/)

In my career, I have dealt successfully with toxic people, annoying people, passive aggressive people and I’ve even survived a coordinated attempt to attack my character and get me fired, successfully.

I’ve survived all of these things because a) I’m a good person who is honest and conscientious. b) I own up to and correct my mistakes quickly. And c) I apply my reason and compassion to the problem to develop a strategy that will help me succeed despite what is being thrown at me.

Is it easy? No. Whenever these things happen, they catch me off guard like they do all of us. Most people are nice. Most of us just want to get our work done and do it well. People who are walking time bombs of insecurity are not the norm. It’s upsetting to become targeted by these people. The only thing worse than being targeted, is to be a walking time bomb of insecurity. I feel sorry for them.

By considering them compassionately, I resist the urge to demonize them. Not only can I treat them with respect, even if they fail to respect me, I can also often defuse the problem by using my reason to solve our collective problem because I’m not so upset or angry that I behave immorally in response to them.

While fighting back or defending yourself may feel emotionally satisfying, it does more harm than good. Behaving morally and ethically and conscientiously means I’m not adding to the problem. I’m just trying to get my work done and get along as best I can with other people. If I make a mistake, I correct it. I don’t blame anyone else. This is why it has been easy for all of my managers to see that I’m not the problem. I’m not!

Navigating the minefields of the office is hard, but you don’t need to tip toe around people who are just waiting to go off. You don’t serve your company or your coworkers well by avoiding them. Do your job. Do it well and be nice to everyone, including the jerks. If someone is intentionally making it hard to get work done document that fact. If they want to dig their own hole, you can’t stop them. But you can provide proof that they are the ones who dug the hole.

If you need help dealing with anger in yourself and others – consider taking this course by Dr. Leon Seltzer - https://humanistlearning.com/angermanagement101/

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