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Sassoon, Joseph.

Montreal, Humanica Press. 1988. 262pp. cloth, $24.95. ISBN 0-9693115-0-8. Published and distributed by Circle Books (J.R.) Inc., 225 Hymus Blvd., Suite 9, Point Claire, Que. H9R 1G4.

Reviewed by Violet Williams

Volume 17 Number 1
1989 January

This book builds on the humanist philosophy developed by Kurt Goldstein and Abraham Maslow. Sassoon contends that all human beings are instinctively driven by a central need for self-actualization, which involves discovering and developing individual talents to full capacity. Success in this undertaking leads to emotionally and physically healthy people. People also possess an innate concern for and are dependent on the self actualization of others in society.

The author outlines a humanist code for the mentally healthy society. The main principles of the code are as follows: God is the creator and guide of the universe; self-actualization serves God's and the individual's purposes; everyone has the right to self-fulfillment; society must provide the means of promoting the self-actualization of the greatest number through democratic rather than authoritarian government; and part of the human being survives after death.

The book outlines the means by which self-actualization can be attained. Males achieve this goal mainly through careers, and females, through bearing and nurturing children.

Women may criticize this book. The author considers child-rearing to be the primary, and career a secondary, channel of self-actualization for females. Furthermore, the reading material in the first half of the book is too complex for the lay person. Nevertheless, the book is well organized with alms, subtitles and summaries in each chapter. There is a table of contents, an index, appendices and some footnotes but no bibliography.

Violet Williams, A.Y. Jackson Secondary School. Kanata, Ont.
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