Welcome to Dorset Humanists

Dorset Humanists is a welcoming group for humanists, atheists and agnostics who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. We meet in Bournemouth for informative and enjoyable presentations, debates and discussions on a wide range of subjects including ethics, science, religion, philosophy, politics, our environment and much more. We also organise regular social events.

Go MAD - the art of making a difference - a 'self development' book

update 20 February 2010: Now you can take an MSc in GoMadThinking!

When I was in my 20s & 30s I read several Steven Covey self help books and listened to his cassettes. I found them useful and inspiring both for my business activities and in my relations with family and friends.
Have Dorset Humanists found any good self-help material that they have found useful over the years? Please leave a comment if you have.
Recent Dorset Humanist Dave E is now searching for secular self-development material. He says (the links are all mine): "Finding supernatural free self-improvement literature is proving more of a challenge than I'd expected. Whilst some are overtly religious such as Covey's "7 habits" almost all seem to give God, or a higher cosmic power, at least a mention. There's a fair amount of borderline stuff but whenever I think I've found an example totally free of divine, or cosmic, influence references, the author blows it by stating something like "and as sure as God made those little green apples.....", or "as the scriptures state....". Even eminent psychologist, Martin Seligman, pioneer of "positive psychology", author of "Learned Optimism" and a lifelong non-believer has apparently gone a bit mystic towards the end of his more recent book, "Authentic Happiness".

Dave E says further "I've just finished reading Andy Gilbert's, "Go M.A.D - The art of making a difference" and I'm relatively sure that I've not seen a direct mention of any mythological entities, or cosmic forces (unless I've subconsciously filtered them) and he provides a fairly mechanical treatment of most of the principles.

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crabsallover said...

from Cardiff Humanists http://www.cardiffhumanists.co.uk/books.html I found: Lost Art of Being Happy: Spirituality for Sceptics (Paperback)
by Tony Wilkinson http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1844091163?tag=cardihuman-21&camp=1406&creative=6394&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=1844091163&adid=030VGJMRWPG94FSAZCYC&

Anonymous said...

For some reason I could not post my first attempt at leaving a message so maybe I will be successful if I am officially anonymous but acknowledge myself as being Josey Loraine. I was interested to read Dave E's comments and very much agree with him. I am also glad to hear he has found a self-help book free of any reference to a super-natural power. I have not searched for any such literature myself recently maybe because I am a cynic as I don't expect there to be much available. My experience is that any real changes in one's life require a fair amount of emotional suffering and I imagine books don't sell very well on a message of pain.

crabsallover said...

Posted by Crabsallover on behalf of Josey,

Josey the anonymous is back. I wanted to add to my rather mono-syllabic comments which I left on the Dorset Humanist website in response to Dave E's remarks and David Warden's request for recommendations and comments on non-spiritual self-help literature but I am now unable to access the link . I shall write to this address instead and hope it does not disappear into the ether (oh dear, isn't that a bit of a spiritual term ).

To elaborate on my rather scathing indictment of self-help literature I would like to say that I have read and indeed benefited from such books in the past, even the ones with a spiritual slant ( I couldn't remember titles now). The spiritual references do not in themselves diminish the other content ( though they may make it harder to stomach) just as Ray Mears' occasional spiritual leanings ( I know, maybe an odd analogy) do not detract from the very practical survival skills and knowledge he has. In fact, I find the optimistic thinking brigade and 'power-of-the mind' believers just as problematic as they equally seem to diminish or by-pass the emotional pain I mentioned in my curt comments which I feel are a necessary part of the process of personal development and increased awareness, regardless of how privileged your upbringing was.
Dave E suggested Humanism might be able to provide more in the personal development area and I initially agreed but on second thoughts I am not sure it is big enough nor ideally suited. Also this function is already adequately fulfilled in my opinion by counselling services through the NHS ( of which I am currently benefiting) and charities such as Relate whose counselling services I have also made use of and found very helpful in the past.

I think the best role for Humanism is to provide a social framework and networking possibilities and this it does already excellently in my opinion, especially considering its limited size. Dorset Humanists is a haven for the non-religious in need of succour and provides the opportunity for people to express themselves.

In response to some of Dave E's other comments I would also like to add that again I feel Dorset Humanists already does a great job of engaging with the community and while there is room for improvement such as a better representation of different age groups and an increased membership etc. this does not diminish what they have already achieved and provide.
I am also not sure that Humanism can ever be 'sold' or become really big as it seems to me its values are about finding your own solutions. Big movements such as socialism or capitalism are about providing solutions for people and while these movements clearly served and still do serve a need, it seems to me that Humanism is more about personal responsibility, something which by its very nature is not going to 'excite' people into a unified direction.

I hope these comments have proved more constructive.

Kind regards, Josey