The 1920 book Human Traits and Their Social Significance by Dr. Irwin Edman gives a comprehensive overview of the human being within the environment in which we live. It covers two major aspects of life that include the social aspects and the reason aspects. It views man as a total creature surrounded by lots of influences that play upon him/her the whole of their lives. Understanding these influences encourages students to think widely about their life and choices.
What I like about some of these old books is that they were made in a time of nation building where the development of the human being was an important part of societal interest. Governments looked for ways to improve and compete in the world and relied heavily on the human being to do so. Learning how to advance people was part of that competitive nature.
The work covers 1. Types of Human Behavior; 2. Instincts, Habits and Emotions; 3. Reflection, 4. Human Activites; 5. Social Nature; 6. Culture Traits; 7. Individuality; 8. "Self"; 9. Differences; 10. Language; 11. Religion; 12. Aesthetic Experiences; 13. Science and 14. Morality.
Humans make up much of the world around them and it is important to understand that which belongs to them and that which belongs to their social development. Because they live in a society it is important to understand how they define themselves and their world. Much of the book is about human behavior within the context of a greater society.
There is a benefit to this book for students. While newer versions are beneficial it does sort of put in place a context of a meaningful life in terms of work and contribution to society. Their behaviors and beliefs are put within an appropriate framework that allows students to better comprehend their place within the world. As educators, it is often beneficial to to help students understand work, life, and productivity.