We have two free online courses that provide a great introduction to humanism.

For introductory texts on humanism see

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress (Allen Lane) by Steven Pinker describes the impact of humanism on on human progress, and presents a call to arms not to allow such progress to be washed away.

You can also find out about Humanists UK’s Andrew Copson’s recommended best books on humanism here.

For further reading that has influenced humanist thinking we would also recommend exploring the writings of Epicurus, Lucretius, David Hume, Thomas Paine, Mary Wollstonecraft, John Stuart Mill, Charles Darwin, John Rawls, George Eliot, EM Forster, Bertrand Russell, AJ Ayer, Carl Sagan, and AC Grayling.

Humanists UK has a wealth of further information about humanism on its website. You can also download their free Short Course on Humanism eBook. One can find answers by humanist philosophers to some common questions and responses to challenges to the humanist outlook at Humanist FAQs.

For an analysis of the positives of atheism see Atheism: A Short Introduction (OUP) by Julian Baggini

For more on secularism see Secularism: Politics, Religion, and Freedom (OUP) by Andrew Copson

For more on the origins of morality see

For humanist essays on the value of life, art, the environment, and freedom see Is Nothing Sacred (Routledge) edited by Ben Rogers

For a collection of essays on dialogue between the religious and non-religious see Religion and Atheism (Routledge) edited by Richard Norman and Anthony Carroll

For an exploration of the reasons people in the West are becoming less religious see Becoming Atheist (Bloomsbury) by Callum Brown

For humanist perspectives on education see

  • A Theory of Moral Education (Routledge) by Michael Hand
  • The War for Children’s Minds (Routledge) by Stephen Law

We’d also recommend A Short History of Truth: Consolations for a Post-Truth World (Quercus) by Julian Baggini

The following popular science books may also be of interest.

On explanations for the universe

  • The Grand Design (Bantam) by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow
  • God and the Multiverse (Prometheus Books) by Victor Stenger

On human evolution

  • The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being (Heron Books) by Alice Roberts

On consciousness

  • From Bacteria to Bach and Back (W. W. Norton & Company) by Daniel Dennett

For educators looking to encourage philosophical, critical, and creative thinking and questioning, we’d also recommend

  • The Little Book of Thunks (Crown House Publishing) by Ian Gilbert
  • Games, Stories, and Poems for Thinking (Nash Pollock Publishing) by Robert Fisher
  • Maybe Right, Maybe Wrong (Prometheus Books UK) by Dan Barker
  • The If Machine: Philosophical Enquiry in the Classroom (Continuum) by Peter Worley (and other books by the Philosophy Foundation)


Books for children

What is humanism? How do I live without a god? And other big questions for kids (Wayland) by Michael Rosen and Annemarie Young provides an introduction to the humanist approach to life for children aged between 8 and 14

Atheism for Kids (Winter House Books) by Jessica Thorpe is a short introduction for youner children to what it means to be an atheist.

The Rosie books by Tricia Budd describe the events and feelings at a humanist naming ceremony, wedding, and funeral.

And for young adults we recommend The Young Atheist’s Handbook by Alom Shaha.

For more books for children, including recommended fiction, books to support discussions about death, and non-fiction on science, philosophy, and other themes see our Recommended Books for Children.

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