Online Great Books Blog

The Online Great Books Blog

Homer’s Narrative Techniques in the Odyssey

Homer's Narrative Techniques in the Odyssey By Bee D.  “A week in California is an odyssey for the wine enthusiast.” “My career path in the  academic world has been a real odyssey.” The basic structure of the Odyssey is so well known,  it has become a household word! An odyssey is an adventure with stark [...]

Online Great Books: A First-Year Retrospective and Plug for Classical Education

Online Great Books: A First-Year Retrospective and Plug for Classical Education By Jason McGinty "We take the ideas of ancient Greece, follow them through their evolution in Rome, the middle ages, the enlightenment, right up to our own time." -- Scott Hambrick, onlinegreatbooks.com I'm not so sure about the "right up to our own time" part [...]

Aluminum Never Rusts: A Primer on Building Skills and Tools that Last

Aluminum Never Rusts: A Primer on Building Skills and Tools that Last By Jay Lll It’s often said that “The metal lathe is the only machine in the shop that can duplicate itself or any other machine in the shop.” From this first axiom, author and machinist David Gingery derived its corollary that the lathe [...]

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socrates and aristophanes

Socrates and Aristophanes

Socrates and Aristophanes By Jason McGinty I was struck by inspiration today while in the place where all inspiration comes from (the shower), and decided to write down some thoughts. My thesis is that I think Socrates and Aristophanes are a lot more similar than they might seem at first glance. Last week, Seminar 50 [...]
Aristotle writes with pictures

All Understanding is Visual: Why Even Aristotle Writes With Pictures

All Understanding is Visual: Why Even Aristotle Writes With Pictures By Ben McAllister Sometimes when I’m reading bedtime stories to my five-year-old, I glance at her and wonder Is she following this? We recently made the jump to “chapter books,” starting with some that have illustrations on every page. She often stops me and says “Let me see.” She’ll grab [...]

On The Shoulders Of Giants: A Year In Review Of Online Great Books

On The Shoulders Of Giants: A Year In Review Of Online Great Books By Zach Corbin My introduction to the Great Books of the Western World occurred when I was a teenager. My father had picked up a full set in 1989. After I started showing interest in the classics he pulled the first volume, [...]

John Senior and “The Thousand Good Books”

John Senior and “The Thousand Good Books” By Scott Hambrick, Reader-In-Chief If you’ve been asking, “How do I get children to read the Great Books?” John Senior gives us the answer. The answer is you don’t. They aren’t ready yet. They need the 1,000 good books first. One of the finest educators in the Great [...]

#53- The Medium is the Massage

#53- The Medium is the Massage Overview The medium is the… massage? In 1967, Marshall McLuhan teamed up with graphic designer Quentin Fiore to write The Medium is the Massage, a short 160-page picture book that offers us a glimpse as to how the medium “shapes and controls the scale and form of human association [...]

#72- G. K. Chesterton’s What I Saw In America

#72- G. K. Chesterton’s What I Saw In America Overview Chesterson was a prolific English journalist and author who traveled to America on a lecture tour of the US in 1921.  What I Saw In America begins as a travelogue of his journey but eventually becomes an extended reflection on what makes a nation a [...]

#59- Henry David Thoreau’s Walden: Why Are We Always So Busy?

#59- Henry David Thoreau’s Walden: Why Are We Always So Busy? Overview In the spring of 1845, Henry David Thoreau borrowed an ax, walked into the woods, and started cutting down trees to make a shack to live in. Walden is the result of this endeavor. Through this process, Thoreau spells out his distinctly American [...]

Judgement in the Odyssean Landscape

Judgement in the Odyssean Landscape  By Rory Barclay “Ah how shameless – the way these mortals blame the gods. From us alone, they say, come all their miseries, yes, but they themselves, with their own reckless ways, compound their pains beyond their proper share.” (Book 1, line 37-40)   The view of which I am [...]
tom wolfe painted world

#58- Tom Wolfe’s The Painted Word: The History of Tastemakers and Influencers

#58- Tom Wolfe’s The Painted Word: The History of Tastemakers and Influencers Overview Scott and Karl are back at it again, this time with Tom Wolfe and his book, The Painted Word. Wolfe is a mid-century American writer and the inventor of New Journalism. He’s known for straddling multiple genres at once, reporting back to [...]
beethoven classical music

#56- How to Listen to Classical Music and Actually Enjoy It: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 and The Heiligenstadt Testament with Michelle Hawkins

#56- How to Listen to Classical Music and Actually Enjoy It: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 and The Heiligenstadt Testament with Michelle Hawkins Overview In this week’s episode, Scott and Karl talk with Michelle Hawkins, music professor and Online Great Book’s member. The trio listen and discuss Beethoven’s Third Symphony and read The Heiligenstadt Testament, a [...]

The Musings of a Recusant Medievalist

The Musings of a Recusant Medievalist "A Call for a Return to Respect for Language" Submitted Anonymously  The Musings of a Recusant Medievalist “A Call for a Return to Respect for Language” I am fond of words. I appreciate the beauty and power which the gift of language gives us; allowing us to communicate both [...]
leisure

OGB Podcast #49- Leisure, the Basis of Culture

Overview Scott and Karl read Josef Pieper’s Leisure the Basis of Culture. The duo dives into the Pieper-style definition of leisure, work, and their relationship. Pieper shows us that the Greeks and medieval Europeans understood the great value and importance of leisure. But do we? Most of us have been brought up on heavy doses […]

lost tools of learning

OGB Podcast #44- Dorothy Sayers’ “The Lost Tools of Learning”

OGB Podcast #44- The Lost Tools of Learning Overview Scott and Karl discuss Dorthy Sayers’ paper, “The Lost Tools of Learning.” This groundbreaking work is a great deal important to our mission here at Online Great Books, and for anyone else who wants a redo on their education. What did Sayers notice was lost back [...]

The Right to Be Unhappy

The Right to Be Unhappy By Jonathan DeSousa When I was in first grade, I struggled as a reader.  Every week I was taken aside from our normal class session to work with a reading specialist to bring my capabilities up to the level expected of a young boy of 5.  My birthday being at [...]

Daughters of Zeus: Opportunism, Chaos and Trauma

Daughters of Zeus: Opportunism, Chaos and Trauma By Tom Hallett Is there a theme of immoral opportunism to Homer's female characters? This essay argues that there in fact is. I also argue that the wider context surrounding this opportunism should be acknowledged before we judge their actions. The Iliad and Odyssey describe a world where [...]

OGB Podcast #51- Edward Bernays’ Propaganda

OGB Podcast #51- Edward Bernays’ Propaganda Overview In this week’s episode, Scott and Karl discuss Edward Bernays’ 1928 book Propaganda. Referred to as “the father of public relations,” and “the Machiavelli of the 20th century,” Bernays pioneered the scientific technique of shaping and manipulating public opinion which he famously dubbed “engineering of consent.” His seminal work, Propaganda, is [...]

OGB Podcast #15 – Marsha Familaro Enright on Montessori, Meeting Ayn Rand, and Building Reading Confidence in Adults

OGB Podcast #15 – Marsha Familaro Enright on Montessori, Meeting Ayn Rand, and Building Reading Confidence in Adults Overview You’ve heard her in the OGB staff seminar discussions, now she’s joined the podcast to tell Scott her encounters with the Great Books. Marsha Enright developed a strong interest in education and the problems with modern [...]
OGB membership

OGB Membership FAQ

OGB Membership FAQ In Podcast #55, Scott and Karl address these questions are more. These are the show highlights.  How long does it take to go through a book? Most books are completed in a month. We build the reading goals around what the average person can accomplish given 3 hours a week, 30 minutes [...]

The Sacrifice of Patroclus: Glory Above Love

The Sacrifice of Patroclus: Glory Above Love By Jeremiah St Thomas In The Iliad, a poem detailing the rage of Achilles, two fates are offered to the hero: a long life or a glorious life. By refusing to fight for Agamemnon in defense of his own pride, Achilles paints himself into a corner, forcing him to [...]

OGB Podcast #17 – The Socratic Scribbler: Malachy Walsh on Writing and Saying What You Mean

OGB Podcast #17 – The Socratic Scribbler: Malachy Walsh on Writing and Saying What You Mean Overview Online Great Books seminar leader and former advertising executive Malachy Walsh joins the podcast again to discuss everyone’s least favorite school subject — composition. Many people dread writing, either because of grammar, a tenuous grasp of dialect, or [...]

Feminist Archetypes in The Iliad and The Odyssey: Two Cases Considered

Feminist Archetypes in The Iliad and The Odyssey: Two Cases Considered By Jonathan DeSousa As a result of postmodern philosophical thought, the 20th century saw significant change in the operating principles governing the Western World; however, no facet of this mode of thinking was quite so transformational, perhaps, as the feminist movement.  This movement brought [...]
brett veinoitte

OGB Podcast #20 – The College Trap: How College Became A Religious Belief with Brett Veinoitte (School Sucks Podcast)

Overview Scott Hambrick interviews podcaster, author, former test prep educator, and education contrarian Brett Veinoitte about the rapidly changing role of school and, particularly, secondary school. As the recent scandal involving celebrities paying bribes to obtain university admissions for their children has revealed, college has become so ingrained as a symbol of status and opportunity [...]
emmet penney

OGB Podcast #24 – Euclid & The Shape of Modern Science with Emmet Penney

OGB Podcast #24 – Euclid & The Shape of Modern Science with Emmet Penney Overview Online Great Books founder Scott Hambrick and seminar leader Emmet Penney tackle the first scientific work on the podcast, Euclid’s Elements. The Elements are a collection of treatises, postulates, and propositions that ultimately drive toward important mathematical concepts such as the [...]
the western canon

Why You Should Never Apologize for Reading the Western Canon

Why You Should Never Apologize For Reading The Western Canon The Western Canon, even the Great Books program, has become highly politicized in certain circles. OGB member Micah asked a question on our community Slack channel:  What have y'all found helpful in introducing the idea that Western civilization isn't terrible? Friends often comment that my [...]
how we read

An OGB Guide To How We Read

An OGB Guide To How We Read How do you actually read? At Online Great Books, we subscribe to the Adlerian checklist as we engage in active reading: What is this book about was a whole? What is being said in detail, and why? Is the book true, in whole or part? What of it? [...]
Joe McCormack

OGB Podcast #26 – Joe McCormack on Why Brevity is The Soul of Wit… and Effective Communication

 OGB Podcast #26 – Brevity is The Soul of Wit… and Effective Communication Overview Scott talks to Joe McCormack, author of Brief: Make Bigger Impact by Saying Less, about the importance of brevity in communication. Joe is an author, speaker, and consultant who has worked with executives, military personnel, and many others to hone their ability [...]

Top 15 Gift Ideas For Great Book Lovers

Top 15 Gifts Ideas For Great Book Lovers The holidays are approaching! There are plenty of holiday gift-giving guides for book lovers. But for the Great Book lover, we've compiled a list of unique gifts that the Online Great Books community will surely find useful. Reference Guides: Aids to Reading, Not Commentaries OGB member Owen [...]
sherlock holmes

OGB Podcast #37- A Scandal In Bohemia

OGB Podcast #37- A Scandal In Bohemia Overview The tables have turned. Scott makes Karl read “A Scandal In Bohemia” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Understanding this short story is to understand what made young Scott tick. Sherlock Holmes is a saint of reason which could account for why our Reader-In-Chief finds him so refreshing. [...]

Why You Shouldn’t Read the Introduction of a Book

Why You Shouldn't Read the Introduction of a Book Many of us have grown far too comfortable with our prescribed role as “learner.” In a school setting, our concept of learning becomes dependent on what “teacher” says. Teacher becomes a crunch, a reference point. Teacher is the responsible one. Transitioning to a more self-determining model [...]

OGB Podcast #34- Against Dryness

Overview In Podcast #34, Scott and Karl consider the role of art and of literature in furnishing a fuller, truer model of human personality. In doing so, the duo explores Iris Murdoch’s essay, “Against Dryness.” Murdoch writes, “We have been left with far too shallow and flimsy an idea of human personality… [The Anglo-Saxon] conception [...]
the loss of the creature

OGB Podcast #33 – The Loss of the Creature

OGB Podcast #33 – The Loss of the Creature Overview How is that it that in prosperous times, people can be so miserable? Walker Percy’s essay "The Loss of the Creature" delves into how preconceived ideas about experiences cause us to overlook their essence. We are constantly overlooking the joy in things. In the essay, [...]

Credentialism Ain’t Welcome Here

By Karl Schudt, Seminar Host Here at Online Great Books, we are very happy to have attracted some highly credentialed people. It is a good thing that they have achieved much in the realm of academia because it shows something about their character and perseverance. To you all, welcome! But, on the other hand, academic […]

self reliance

OGB Podcast #39: Scott and Karl Discuss Emerson’s “Self-Reliance”

OGB Podcast #39: Scott and Karl Discuss Emerson's "Self-Reliance" By Katie King emerson self reliance  Overview You've got to go out and read the essay that brings our Reader-In-Chief to tears every time. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” is foundational in Scott's life and crucial to our mission at Online Great Books. For Emerson, authentic, unmediated [...]

Why Read the Great Books?

Why Read the Great Books? By Karl Schudt, OGB Seminar Host When you begin reading the Great Books, family and friends may be puzzled. They will see you toting around huge books, taking notes, and gazing off thoughtfully into the void. It might even look like school. Why would you do this? Why would you [...]
Collier's Junior Classics

How To Raise A Lover Of The Great Books

How To Raise A Lover of The Great Books Given that we no longer live in colonial America, our children are no longer expected to be able to speak Latin and have knowledge of New Testament Greek by the 3rd grade.  No more reading the Latin historians Tacticus and Livy, or the Greek historians Herodotus [...]

Logic 3, The Second Law, The Law of Noncontradiction

Logic 3, The Second Law, The Law of Noncontradiction By Scott Hambrick, Reader-In-Chief Originally posted on scotthambrick.com.  In the first two articles I wrote about being, and the first Law of thought, The Law of Identity. Go check those out before you jump into this one. This second law, the Law of Noncontradiction, and the Third law [...]

Mortimer Adler on Why We Read the Great Books

Why Read Great Books? By Mortimer Adler, Ph.D. Why Read Great Books? by Mortimer Adler, Ph.D.   I would like to share with you a letter that I recently received and my answer to it: Dear Dr. Adler, Why should we read great books that deal with the problems and concerns of bygone eras? Our [...]

How To Start A Home Book Group

How To Start Your Own Home Book Group How many close friends can you confide in? For many adults, it may feel like there’s a steady decline of friendships as we get older. After leaving high school or college, we lose the shared experience so we lose touch. A report published in the Royal Society [...]

OGB Podcast #16: Brett McKay (Art of Manliness) on Dante’s Divine Comedy

OGB Podcast #16: Brett McKay (Art of Manliness) on Dante's Divine Comedy By Katie King Overview  Ever wonder where your conception of hell comes from? You know, the fire and brimstone version? It’s probably less from Revelations and more from Dante’s Divine Comedy.  Our Reader-in-Chief Scott Hambrick talks all things Dante with Brett McKay, owner of [...]

What is a Socratic Seminar?

What is a Socratic Seminar? By Katie King What is a Socratic Seminar? Here at OGB, members are given an average of three hours of Great Book reading to complete on their own each week. They aren't just left high and dry though. At the end of the month, our members come together in a [...]

What Does the OGB Crest Mean?

What Does the OGB Crest Mean? By Katie King Ever wonder what the anvil represents in our crest? An anvil, first off, is a metalworking tool made up of a large, flattened steel surface upon which another object can be struck. You'll notice it in the bottom left corner of our crest. It's a great [...]

Logic 2, The First Law, the Law of Identity

Logic 2, The First Law, the Law of Identity By Scott Hambrick, Reader-In-Chief In part one of this series, I described a very few of Aristotle’s axioms. He believed that understanding a few primary things about being would allow us to build valid arguments and reasoning for everything that followed, which he called the posterior. To [...]

OGB Podcast #5: Dr. Jordan Peterson On the Importance of Reading Great Books

OGB Podcast #5: Dr. Jordan Peterson on the Importance of Reading Great Books By Katie King OVERVIEW Why should you bother with the Great Books? According to Jordan Peterson, the answer lies in how much unnecessary misery, suffering, and horror you want. When Jordan was at university in Alberta, he was introduced to reading the [...]

Logic, The Beginning

Logic, The Beginning By Scott Hambrick, Reader-In-Chief Recently, I’ve had a few dust-ups with folks that don’t understand how VERY basic logic can be used to test for rhetoric and other nonsense.  I’ve also had a number of very kind emails from readers who are interested in learning more about how we might do that.  [...]

Thucydides, Teenagers, and Politics

Thucydides, Teenagers, and Politics Show notes from Karl Schudt's discussion: #31 – Moments II: Thucydides & The Thin Veneer of Civility There’s a temptation to think that everything starts with us, here and now. Our memories don’t go back very far. If we haven’t experienced something in the last five years, our thought is that [...]

In Defense of Bad Books

Here at Online Great Books, we read books that are, well, great. The books have stood the test of time, are hefty enough to bear repeated readings, and make some contribution to the ongoing conversation that we humans have been having with ourselves ever since we learned how to commit our thoughts to the physical world in writing. But does all of our reading have to be weighty? Is there room for lightweight reading, for books that aren’t great, for books that aren’t important? Maybe even for books that are bad?

What the OGB Slogan Means: “The Noble Things Are Difficult”

In our open discussion forum in Slack, OGB member Tim Suddarth had a great question. So great, we thought it needed to be fleshed out for the purpose of this blog post.

Making an Entrepreneur

Making an Entrepreneur By Scott Hambrick, Reader-In-Chief This essay was originally written in April of 1998.  To begin, I want to make sure the reader understands I am not writing a research paper. This is an essay on how I have interpreted Thoreau’s Walden and some of Emerson’s writing. Because this is based on my interpretation, [...]

Justice and Artificial Intelligence

In The Republic, the greatest bit of political thought ever written, Plato asks us all, “What is Justice?” 

In The Republic, we read that justice could be giving people what is theirs, the rule of the many, that which the strongest demand, and more.  People have wrestled with this text and the problems it presents for thousands of years. We still don’t REALLY know how one “does justice.” I think we do know that justice comes into play in every single human interaction. 

Writer’s Block? Try The Gadfly Method

Writer’s Block? Try The Gadfly Method By Katie King  How To Channel the Gadfly. Experiencing Writer's Block? Need a Disruptor? Then Bite In.    Before sitting down to write, address the following questions:  What's a “big” question about the text that interests you and why? In order to answer that question, what are 3-5 questions [...]

Behind the ‘Moments’ Series

Behind the ‘Moments’ Series By Katie King  A How-To Guide: Weaving Narrative Writing with The Great Books  What Is It?  These short, 5-minute reads are personal reflections and editorials from our staff and seminar leaders on some aspect of the books that they have been reading and discussing in seminars. As seminar leaders, they are [...]

Duty to your Seminar

Here at Online Great Books, we have a problem. Sometimes, people do not attend their seminar. They keep paying and they keep receiving their books, but they don’t show up for the weekly seminar. This is problematic. Not only because they aren’t getting full value for their membership, but because the other members of their seminar are not getting full value.

Tea With Herodotus

I fell asleep reading Herodotus last week. I awoke in his study in Halicarnassus. He’s wide-eyed, insistent, takes me by the hand, and leads me into his study. Once there, he gets me a cup of tea. I’m more of a coffee guy, but it’s good tea. Herodotus shows me to a seat in between two precarious piles of scrolls.

Resentment: The Power of the People

Resentment: The Power of the People By Ben McAllister  Every era has a defining anxiety. Today, we live in an era of technological anxiety. We ask ourselves questions like: What are smartphones doing to us? Is social media making us miserable? Will automation lead to mass unemployment? We’ve been asking these kinds of questions since [...]

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Rereading

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Rereading By Alex Fader “In tackling a difficult book for the first time, read it through without ever stopping to look up or ponder the things you do not understand right away. …You have a much better chance of understanding [the Great Book] on a second reading, [...]

An Invitation to Narrative

An Invitation to Narrative By Steven Roberts  Steven Roberts has been a member of Online Great Books for a little under a year now. Steven graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a degree in Classical Piano Performance and is attending St. Vladimir’s Seminary in Yonkers, New York starting this August. Living on Long Island, he [...]

Great Friends, Great Books

Books as Friends?

There’s a definite logic to the old saying that we can be measured by the company we keep. One thing that makes us feel good and even a little proud about reading Great Books is that we are keeping great company.  Of course, there’s a downside of the maxim: when we compare ourselves to the Great Thinkers, they can make us feel like zhlubs. Still, we enjoy “standing on the shoulders of giants”.”

Euripides’ Medea: Ordinary People and Extraordinary Evil (Spoiler Alert!)

Euripides’ Medea: Ordinary People and Extraordinary Evil (Spoiler Alert!) By Karl Schudt, Seminar Host  I hate Medea. It’s so good. I hate reading that play. If you haven’t read it, you should stop reading right now.     Ok. If you are still here, I need not worry about ruining the play for you. Medea kills [...]

Notre Dame Fire: Rummaging Through the Relics

Notre Dame caught fire this week. It took a while for it to hit me, but it hit me hard. I’ve never been there, but I have rattled around a few cathedrals in Germany. I like to climb the towers, if they’ll let me.

Creating Authenticity in Seminar: Why We Need Each Other to Gain Value

Creating Authenticity in Seminar: Why We Need Each Other to Gain Value By John Syc   "Denied, not committed to the field of human resources." This was the feedback I received after an interview for a coveted internship at a Fortune 10 company about 15 years ago. I protested. I laid out the commitment by [...]

8 Theories Explaining Why I Won’t Speak Up in Seminar (maybe you can relate)

8 Theories Explaining Why I Won’t Speak Up in Seminar (maybe you can relate) By Katie King I’ve been in a workshop setting before, so I know that’s not the issue. In fact, I loved it.  In writing classes in college, we’d sit in a round table, never more than 20 of us, and discuss [...]

A Critique of Socrates’ Argument in Gorgias

A Critique of Socrates’ Argument in Gorgias By Gil Guillory First, a quick restatement of Socrates' argument found on 474-475 in Gorgias:          Good and admirable are not the same. Bad and shameful are not the same.          Whatever is admirable is admirable because it causes pleasure or benefit, or [...]

How To Be A Good Marketer, Not Just A Great One

How To Be A Good Marketer, Not Just A Great One By Danny Knesek The author of this piece is an OGB member in addition to being Director of Rhythm Design Co. This blog post was originally posted to his website. At some point, everybody in marketing deals with the problem of having their campaigns not [...]

What Drives Insightful Thinking?

What Drives Insightful Thinking? By Sal A.  OGB Member John Syc calls this, “a level of thinking and consideration that seems to get to the heart of the matter instead of focusing on the noise.” He also notes that this kind of thinking usually draws upon a well-thought out belief system and understanding of multiple disciplines/ideologues. [...]

Our Mission at Online Great Books

Our Mission at Online Great Books By Karl Schudt, Seminar Host At Online Great Books, we are on a mission.  We believe that:   All people need to be strong. Strong of mind and body. Becoming strong in any way requires dedicated, sustained work. The gradual work of building strength requires resistance.  At Online Great [...]

Ignoring the Advice of your Friends, Lessons from Homer

Ignoring the Advice of your Friends, Lessons from Homer By Chris Moultrie And all ranks of Achaeans cried out in their assent: “Respect the priest, accept the shining ransom!” But it brought no joy to the heart of Agamemnon. ¹ In The Iliad, Agamemnon ignores the words of his friends, advisors, and subjugates which brings massive [...]

How Online Great Books Can Help You Achieve Mental Strength and Agility

How Online Great Books Can Help You Achieve Mental Strength and Agility By Michael LeCompte  The process by which our bodies continue to go on living every day is not one of consistency. The matter that composes your body, the stuff that makes you up, is constantly renewed. In fact, just about everything your body [...]

Intellectual Linear Progression. What’s That About?

Intellectual Linear Progression. What’s That About? By Karl Schudt, Seminar Host Intellectual Linear Progression or Online Great Books? You may have seen mention around here of an intellectual linear progression. It’s still the name on our Facebook page. In fact, it was the original name of the whole thing, until we decided that Online Great [...]

Bach, Vulfpeck, Socrates, and the Infinite

Bach, Vulfpeck, Socrates, and the Infinite By Karl Schudt, Seminar Host I've been listening to a lot of Bach recently, specifically the solo violin works. You can find a good example here.  [They are sparse, mathematical, non-emotional exercises in pattern manipulation. I wonder if the sparseness and Doric purity of the music is part of the [...]

How to Think About Thinking

How to Think About Thinking By Daniel Taylor I just finished the first reading assignment: those first 44 pages of  How to Read A Book. I'm relieved and excited--it was interesting, practical, and terse; just the kind of instructional book I like! In the course of completing the assignment, I added three new words to my [...]

The Iliad, Book 1 Analysis: Rage Against The Will Of Zeus

The Iliad, Book 1 Analysis: Rage Against The Will Of Zeus By Christopher Cataldi I took the time to be way more thorough with Book 1, which introduces crucial themes to the rest of the story. I usually like my reading to raise some higher-order question, so, after writing this out, my question is as [...]

The Iliad, The Odyssey, and Controlling One’s Passions

The Iliad, The Odyssey, and Controlling One’s Passions By Arbon Ransom The Iliad and The Odyssey are excellent lessons on the importance of keeping one’s passions within due bounds, or within proper limits. They teach us to control ourselves and that there is a time for aggression and a time for restraint. The Iliad shows [...]

How to Read a Book like an Explorer

How to Read a Book like an Explorer By Scott Hambrick, Reader-In-Chief When I was young, I remember encountering Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. It’s an odd bit of music, irregular in its rhythms and harmonies. If you’ve seen Fantasia, it’s the music for the part with the dinosaurs. I used to sit up late listening on [...]

Socrates, Beethoven, and Swans

Socrates, Beethoven, and Swans By Karl Schudt, Seminar Host  I recently re-read Phaedo, the story of the last day of Socrates’ life. The ship has returned from Delos, and he knows that he’ll be drinking poison when the sun goes down. He and his friends, of course, talk about philosophy. What sort of life should [...]

I Met Socrates the Other Day at the Gym

I Met Socrates the Other Day at the Gym By Karl Schudt, Seminar Host  A fine example of working on one's mental fitness... in-between sets.   I was at the gym the other day when Socrates came in. It's kind of a nerd gym, so this is unsurprising. I asked him a question that had [...]

What Thraysmachus Can Teach Us About Self-Examination

What Thraysmachus Can Teach Us About Self-Examination By John Antonio Pascarella, Seminar Host Though only a force to be reckoned with in Book I of Plato’s Republic, Thrasymachus always manages to grab my attention.  The first time I read the Republic, I thought Thrasymachus was a simpleton.  In my second reading, my opinion changed, with great [...]

Death is the Good Guy?

Death is the Good Guy? By Karl Schudt, Seminar Host  Are you ever annoyed by the powerful? Are you ever resentful? There seems to be lots of people who go through life without much effort, but have means and money to do whatever they want without care. I know that I sometimes feel offended, resenting [...]

How Legos Can Give Your Soul Wings

How Legos Can Give Your Soul Wings By Karl Schudt, Seminar Host  The Key to Self-Improvement: Finding (and Cultivating) Experiences that Make the Wings of Your Soul Grow Life can be hard sometimes. The troubles of the day can weigh you down, making everything seem gray and cold. You've had days like this. I know [...]

When to Read a Book

When to Read a Book By Karl Schudt, Seminar Host I work in “reader facilitation”--my job is to help our members read more, think more, and have a more glorious experience at onlinegreatbooks.com I also handle cancellation requests. We still do this personally, one by one, contacting everyone who wants to leave us. We would [...]

The Great Books, Okie Monks, and John Senior

The Great Books, Okie Monks, and John Senior By Jim Furr, Seminar Host The Original Home Book Group Takes a Trip to Clear Creek Monastery OnlineGreatBooks.com all started with a home book group of less than 10 members that still meet on the third Thursday of each month in Scott Hambrick’s home.  The members of [...]