A Wealth of Insights

A Wealth of Insights Cover

A Wealth of Insights

Humanist Thought Since the Enlightenment

By Bill Cooke

Prometheus Books, Hardcover, 9781591027270, 528pp.

Publication Date: January 1, 2011


Humanism is a relatively young word, coined only in 1808, and yet it is the most transcultural mode of thought ever conceived. Centered on the plight of all humans in the here and now and committed to reason, free thought, and producing a better, more democratic world, humanism encompasses positive and constructive perspectives and goals.

In this enlightening study, Bill Cooke, author and independent scholar, explores the history of humanism—the word, the concept, and the thinkers who identify themselves as humanist (or ought to). Investigating the works and lives of humanists from England to Nigeria, New Zealand, America, China, India, and beyond, Cooke reveals that humanism is not only the most transcultural of perspectives but also one of the oldest, with roots that can be traced back to ancient cultures.

Until now there has never been an account of humanism that outlines and acknowledges the extent of its cultural and intellectual richness, not only for American and Western humanism, but also for the less well-known humanist traditions of Asia, the Near East, and Africa. In this extensive yet accessible overview of the global humanist tradition, Cooke shows that humanism has indeed produced a wealth of insights.

About the Author
Since his first backpacking trip in 1977, Bill Cooke - "Cookerhiker" to his hiking colleagues - has hiked thousands of miles on trails long and short, east and west (and central). He finished hiking the 2,180 mile Appalachian Trail in 2005, an effort that encompassed nearly three decades. At 482 miles, the Colorado Trail thru-hike represents his longest continuous trek. Prior to his retirement in 2003, Bill's career with the federal government spanned 32 years, most of which were spent with the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency where as a CPA, he worked in a number of different positions in the accounting and financial management field. He continues to explore trails afar and near his Lexington, Kentucky residence, including Kentucky's 300-mile Sheltowee Trace where he hikes and performs trail maintenance.