Humanure Handbook 4th Ed.

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The Humanure Handbook  (4th edition)  Shit in a Nutshell 

By Joseph Jenkins, 2019. 300 pages, 91 illustrations, indexed. ISBN-13: 978-0964425880. 6”X9” paperback.


1) Print book for $25.00 with a PDF download as a bonus. 

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The Humanure Handbook 4th Edition won a gold medal in the 2019 Readers' Favorite Awards. Readers' favorite reviewer stated, "This book is a must-have for any library. Trust me." It was also a finalist in the Foreword Magazine Indies Book of the Year Awards in the Nature Category, as well as a Gold Winner in the Science Category.

The original Humanure Handbook was published in 1995 as a grad school thesis turned into an underground best-seller. The 4th edition is half new edition and half sequel. The book has sold 80,000 print copies in the US alone (4 editions), been translated in whole or in part into 21 languages and has been published in foreign editions on four continents.

The previous editions won numerous awards, including the Independent Publisher Outstanding Book of the Year Award, deemed the book "Most Likely to Save the Planet.” The book has been mentioned on such diverse media outlets as: NPR, BBC, CBC, Howard Stern, The Wall Street Journal, Playboy Magazine, the History Channel, Tree House Masters, and many other national and international venues.

Not only does the book address what to do with human turds, but it is also a priceless manual for anyone involved in composting, gardening, or even basic survival skills. There is no other book like this in print! 

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Score: 5.00 (votes: 12)
Reviews: 12
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"Over ten years ago I came across your Humanure Handbook. It turned my life around completely and I knew that when I build my own house in future that is what I would use. It has been over seven years now since I moved into my five-bed-room-flat where each living space has the blessing of a compost toilet in the bathroom. I write today to say thank you and may God bless you and your family." E.A., Kumasi, Ghana, Africa

"Thank you for taking the time to write a book and for your extremely meticulous attention to detail. The book reads like a PhD thesis." E. T., New Zealand

"I just thought I should thank you for your inspirational book. I think it’s pure genius and I will try as best as I can to spread the word."

"This is one of those books that you feel would change the world if only everyone would read it. I wish I could afford to buy the book for everyone on the planet. I for one am grateful to the author, Joseph Jenkins for writing this updated version. I take my hat off to you Joseph. A job well done. What a lot of work you put into this book!"

"Absolutely phenomenal work! You have done such a superb job, I am continually amazed by your impeccable research and wisdom gained from your long and critical user experience. Reclaiming the use of the word compost, which is so widely misused in sanitation circles, seems so key." 

"When I first picked up a copy of the Humanure Handbook, it was out of a sense of obligation—I thought it was going to be a really technical manual about how to deal with our shit. But I was surprised to find it incredibly entertaining -- I actually read it cover to cover and found the entire book completely delightful and totally fascinating. For those that haven’t read this book yet, it is full of great stories and science and history." 

"Joseph writes from practical, hands on knowledge. Experience is they key. Many other authors have tried, but no one can top what Joseph shares. I recommend the book highly to anyone. It’s the future folks, it’s something many people do not like to think about but start thinking soon, if you do not, you will not be prepared."

"I am about to add the 4th edition of The Humanure Handbook into our public catalog here at the Cleveland Public Library. While flipping through the book, I was sad to see a depiction of a not-so-pleasant interaction with a librarian in Arizona, and wanted you to know that not all public libraries are so closed to giving their patrons access to a large variety of viewpoints and resources. Please know that Cleveland Public has not only the newest edition of your work (2019), but also the 2005 and 1994 editions. Also, you may be interested to know that the Library of Congress also has some of the editions from the 1990s."

"I read the 4th edition, cover to cover, highlighting main ideas, and thoroughly enjoyed learning the topic. I save all my “deposits“ for my compost, and it feels great to be a dynamic part of the cycle of life, rather than contributing to water waste and water pollution. Thank you, thank you for your invention of this primitive technology toilet.  I love my Lovable Loo, and my Airbnb guests love it too." 

"I started [the Humanure Handbook] with trepidation, but it was one of the most amazing journeys I've ever experienced. Just incredible. I was amazed by the book."

"I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading the humanure handbook (4th edition)! Thanks a lot for all your efforts in spreading this very important message! You made me laugh out loud several times and you wiped out all my doubts about humanure composting. I’ve spent so much time reading about it before, and I was confused by the many opposing opinions, but I can now just start doing it the right way - and I can’t wait! I’m a Dutch woman on the french countryside, and with my family we've been using a dry toilet for 3 years now. I tell everyone who wants to hear it about your book and about composting because I think the whole world should know about it!"

"Your work forms an essential foundation of which everyone in the world would do well to understand."

"My wife and I have been using a sawdust toilet on our farm almost all year and it has been great. Least smell around a toilet I've ever had."

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Customer reviews
Average rating:
5.00(Votes: 12)
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  • Apr 29, 2024, 06:38 AM
    I bought your first book many years ago and could not find any untreated sawdust nearby. I did not try too
    hard but I used mulch which led to flies in my garage. I built the wood box to hold the 5 gallon bucket. I am pretty sure the finer sawdust would work to get rid of odor and hopefully bugs. I ended up compromising on just collecting cartons of urine in them and composting them in leave piles in the back yard, which is so easy I don't know why everybody does not do it. Recently I bought a second copy of the book and sent it to the Governor of Arizona. I believe that if 4 million people in the southwest composted their urine in the yard or garden the amount of liquid could possibly change weather patterns .Just a hunch. I also visited my local sewage plant for a tour and saw the amount of sewage that they attempt to treat. Its too much! I think the Humanure Handbook is the funniest science book I ever read. I live in a very urban area but sometimes you have to compromise but I believe these techniques would work if done properly. I have a lot of peppermint in the yard which could work as compost primer. Composting urine alone could save lots of energy and water. We have had two snowfalls in two years and no rain last June. I am ready to fully compost if the weather were to ever lead to water restrictions of any kind....-Thanks for your efforts, g.m.
    Apr 29, 2024, 08:36 AM
    Thanks for the feedback!
  • Oct 10, 2023, 07:58 PM
    I bought both the Humanure Handbook and the Compost Toilet Handbook. The Humanure Handbook contains all the information contained in the Compost Toilet Handbook, and more. The Compost Toilet Handbook just has color versions of the pictures from the Humanure Handbook. As a Christian and conservative, some of the authors comments are mildly grating, but the information on composting is great. While I don't compost human manure at this point, I do compost chicken and rabbit manure, as well as paper, food scraps, water soaked weeds, and the occasional fish carcass. I have set up 6 IBC tote bins to keep up with my composting needs. The process works like a charm, reaching temperature and becoming worm infested compost within 6 months. I have loaned the books several times to help others have more success with composting. While I don't suggest buying both books, I fully recommend the Humanure Handbook to anyone who has any interest in composting.
  • Oct 5, 2023, 09:32 PM
    I bought this three years ago and promptly started applying the knowledge to suit my septic less living situation. It was eureka, an epiphany. I read the free version online in 10 hours and then proceeded to buy 3 copies and ultimately 10.

    You’ve turned me from a closeted fecaphobe into a proud disciple of sorts. I think what struck me the most is it closed a loop in my mind…that the natural world does have balance and simplicity…it’s us that complicate it. The same seems to be true for composting toilets.

    I’ve started four bins in total, and emptied one to this point, like Joe it had whole dead animals that disappeared. I’ve hit 162 degrees before but probably average 135 in the PNW summer while keeping 50% above ambient for the active pile in the chilly wet season. My trash is nil and my water consumption
  • Jan 30, 2023, 11:40 AM
    Very informative, through and referenced. Was using a separating toilet but did not like it had to have an exhaust fan and the urine was not used for the nitrogen. A complete plan to kill pathogens, and recycle all materials in a simple, safe, and efficient system. The plans for the loo were straightforward. Built the first one in under two hours with battery powered tools. Solid and well designed. I am converting our portable bathrooms to this design as it will improve safety and reduce the smells. Thanks.
  • Nov 1, 2022, 02:47 PM
    Thank you for your Humanure Handbook. I built my first "loo" in 2003 after buying the 2nd edition of your book. At that time, I was single and had a house to myself, so I made my maiden deposit in a five-gallon bucket sitting in my carpeted living room while watching CNN.

    After getting married a couple of years later, I relocated my toilet to the shed outdoors, as my wife had "phobic" tendencies. That got discontinued when I converted the shed to a chicken coop for a few years and never resumed it afterward. Now, however, almost 20 years later, I've purchased the 4th edition of your book and that inspired me to give it another go, so to speak. I dusted off my compost collecting toilet (Collecto-Let?) and set it up in my home-built camper that sits in the driveway. Every morning I make a discreet visit to my camper for a few minutes to "pray and meditate." For convenience, I keep a plastic jug indoors for urine, which I pour into the toilet when the jug gets full. I've found the liquid helps keep the bucket contents level.

    I drove 30 miles to get three 20-gallon tubs of sawdust from a sawmill, and they were very stingy about it. Apparently, they already have a market for it. So, I'll need to use something else when that's gone. Since leaves are plentiful here, I'll probably use leaf mould. I have my compost bin up and running, and I'm happy to say that my pile was at 124 this morning, after adding a bucket of material, food scraps, and a half gallon of spoiled apple cider over the weekend.

    Anyway, again, I appreciate your taking the time to write that book, and I think very highly of your efforts at helping the less fortunate around the world with their sanitation problems. As a Christian who believe in invisible beings, I think that's a very noble thing for you to do!

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