OnlineGreatBooks Podcast

The Online Great Books Podcast

holst's the planets

#39 – The Form of Beauty: Hilary Hahn Performing Bach’s Violin Sonatas 1 and 2, Partita 1

#39 - The Form of Beauty: Hilary Hahn Performing Bach's Violin Sonatas 1 and 2, Partita 1 Scott, Karl, and Trent tackle Hilary Hahn's electric, virtuosic performances of three timeless pieces for solo violin: Bach's Sonatas 1 and 2, and the first Partita. Tune in for more music and ideas, brought to you by onlinegreatbooks.com.  [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#140- Heidegger’s “What Is Metaphysics?” Part 2

#140- Heidegger's "What Is Metaphysics?" Part 2 Scott and Karl finish their discussion of Martin Heidegger's ten-page lecture "What is Metaphysics?". A friend of the void, Heidegger's writing style isn’t for everyone. Karl points out, “Part of the problem with any of these early 20th-century continental philosophers is that you can get seduced by them. [...]
holst's the planets

#38 – Sam Cooke: The Father of Soul

#38 - Sam Cooke: The Father of Soul Scott, Karl, and Trent discuss arguably the greatest singer of the 20th century, and how he invented the classic genre now known as "soul." Tune in for more music and ideas, brought to you by onlinegreatbooks.com.  ENROLLMENT IS OPEN NOW! Don’t miss the limited-time window to get [...]

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Art and Scholasticism

#139- Heidegger’s “What Is Metaphysics?” Part 1

#139- Heidegger's "What Is Metaphysics?" Part 1 Scott and Karl begin their discussion of Martin Heidegger's ten-page lecture "What is Metaphysics?". This lecture was presented to the faculties of the University of Freiburg on July 24, 1929, as Heidegger's inaugural address. Taking the typical continental approach, Heidegger isn't telling us what metaphysics is; instead, he's [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#138- Ten Acres Enough: The Classic 1864 Guide to Independent Farming Part 2

#138- Ten Acres Enough: The Classic 1864 Guide to Independent Farming Part 2 This week Scott and Karl finish their discussion of Edmund Morris's Ten Acres Enough: The Classic 1864 Guide to Independent Farming.  After giving up city life and buying a small farm in the New Jersey countryside, Morris chronicles his family's experience and ends [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#137- Ten Acres Enough: The Classic 1864 Guide to Independent Farming Part 1

#137- Ten Acres Enough: The Classic 1864 Guide to Independent Farming Part 1 This week Scott and Karl begin their discussion of Edmund Morris's Ten Acres Enough: The Classic 1864 Guide to Independent Farming.  The book chronicles Morris leaving the Philadelphia business world in the early 1800s and buying a small farm in the New Jersey [...]
holst's the planets

#37- A Window into Live Jazz: Oscar Peterson at the Stratford Shakespearean Festival

#37- A Window into Live Jazz: Oscar Peterson at the Stratford Shakespearean Festival Oscar Peterson at the Stratford Shakespearean Festival is a 1956 live album by Oscar Peterson, accompanied by Ray Brown and Herb Ellis.  The Peterson trio is celebrated for their seemingly telepathic sense of interplay and its virtuosity. In listening to this album, Scott, [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#136- Maritain’s Art and Scholasticism, with Thomas Mirus (Catholic Culture Podcasts) Part 2

#136- Maritain’s Art and Scholasticism, with Thomas Mirus (Catholic Culture Podcasts) Part 2 Scott and Karl are joined by special guest Thomas Mirus, Director of Podcasts for CatholicCulture.org, to finish their discussion of Jacques Maritain’s Art and Scholasticism.  What does contemplating beautiful art do for the soul? Mirus says that if you have metaphysics going into [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#135- Maritain’s Art and Scholasticism, with Thomas Mirus (Catholic Culture Podcasts) Part 1

#135- Maritain’s Art and Scholasticism, with Thomas Mirus (Catholic Culture Podcasts) Part 1 This week, Scott and Karl are joined by special guest Thomas Mirus, Director of Podcasts for CatholicCulture.org, to discuss Jacques Maritain’s Art and Scholasticism.  Maritain argues for an objective view of both art and the artist, bringing an orderly, scholastic, Thomistic approach to [...]
holst's the planets

#36- The Master of Tension: Holst’s ‘The Planets’

#36- The Master of Tension: Holst's 'The Planets' The trio discusses The Planets, Op. 32, a seven-movement orchestral suite by the English composer Gustav Holst, written between 1914 and 1917. When you first listen to this, you might just be recollecting it— The Planets comes with a long list of imitations churned out by film composers. Karl says, [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#134- Nietzsche on Resentment: The Genealogy of Morals Part 2

#134- Nietzsche on Resentment: The Genealogy of Morals Part 2 Scott and Karl finish their discussion of “Good and Evil, Good and Bad,” the first essay from Friedrich Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morals.  Nietzsche demonstrates that the Christian world is steeped in false piety and infected with slave morality. Slave morality is based on resentment [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#133- Nietzsche on Resentment: The Genealogy of Morals Part 1

#133- Nietzsche on Resentment: The Genealogy of Morals Part 1 This week, Scott and Karl begin their discussion of “Good and Evil, Good and Bad,” the first essay from Friedrich Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morals.  This essay questions the value of our moral concepts and examines their evolution. Karl says, "Evil is not the [...]
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#35- Neko Case’s Album Fox Confessor Brings the Flood

#35- Neko Case's Album Fox Confessor Brings the Flood This week, the trio discusses an album on Trent's shortlist: Neko Case's album Fox Confessor Brings the Flood. Released in 2006, it's a mix of folk, country, and early rock elements. Case classifies her style as “country-noir." "She defies genres... she doesn't fit comfortably into any of [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#132- Plato’s Greater and Lesser Hippias Part 2

#132- Plato's Greater and Lesser Hippias Part 2 What is a lie? What does it take to be a good liar? This week, Scott and Karl finish their discussion of one of Plato’s earlier Socratic dialogues, Greater Hippias and Lesser Hippias. These two dialogues make you ask all the questions to figure out what is fine, what makes [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#131- Plato’s Greater and Lesser Hippias Part 1

#131- Plato's Greater and Lesser Hippias Part 1 Scott and Karl discuss one of Plato’s earlier Socratic dialogues, Greater Hippias and Lesser Hippias. The dialogues are named after Hippias of Elis, an eminent sophist and contemporary of Plato. What is a sophist? According to Scott, “A sophist is someone who says what he needs to say in order [...]
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#34- The Live Sound Experience: Mad Dogs & Englishmen

#34- The Live Sound Experience: Mad Dogs & Englishmen This week, Scott, Karl, and Trent discuss Joe Cocker's live album, Mad Dogs & Englishmen. Released in 1970, the album was spontaneously formed on a few days' notice to meet Cocker's contractual obligations. These concert tapes ended up being just as much a showcase for Leon [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#130- Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express

#130- Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express This week, Scott and Karl read one of Agatha Christie's greatest mystery novels, Murder on the Orient Express. The novel features Hercule Poirot, a Belgian detective known for his shrewd intuition or "little grey cells." While this scrupulous sleuth may be the epitome of refinement and intelligence, Scott [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#129- On OGB Seminar Standards

#129- On OGB Seminar Standards Scott and Karl break with tradition to talk about the OGB seminar standard of conduct. As our members know, the seminar experience is really the backbone of the program. Written by Karl, these ground rules have been a great help in setting boundaries that lead to better discussions. The duo [...]
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#33 – Greatest Album of All Time? Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon

#33 - Greatest Album of All Time? Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon Scott, Karl, and Trent discuss an album you may have heard of: The Dark Side of the Moon by English rock band Pink Floyd. As Scott points out, Pink Floyd is one of those bands that you either love or hate. Released [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#128- Malachy Walsh’s Socratic Scribbling Part 2

#128- Malachy Walsh's Socratic Scribbling Part 2 Scott and Karl wrap up their discussion with special guest  Malachy Walsh, author of Socratic Scribbling. If you don't know what goes into good writing, it may look like a mystical art form or exclusively for the gifted. Malachy argues that we can all use the socratic method to deal [...]
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#32- Iconic Synth-Pop Album: Depeche Mode’s Violator

#32- Iconic Synth-Pop Album: Depeche Mode's Violator Scott, Karl, and Trent discuss Depeche Mode's 1990 album Violator, a synth-pop smash. Featuring nine tracks of synthesizer dominant grooves, this English electronic music band created what Trent calls "a perfect album." The trio discusses how this highly stylized exploration of the dark side of human emotion became a mainstream, [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#127- Malachy Walsh’s Socratic Scribbling Part 1

#127- Malachy Walsh's Socratic Scribbling Part 1 Scott and Karl are joined by special guest Malachy Walsh to talk about his new book, Socratic Scribbling. As a retired advertising man, Malachy had to write on demand for 30 years. In Socratic Scribbling, he reveals secrets he learned from Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Quintillion, Shakespeare, and other Great Writers [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#126- Unrestricted Warfare Part 2

#126- Unrestricted Warfare Part 2 Scott and Karl finish their two-part discussion of Unrestricted Warfare: Two Air Force Senior Colonels on Scenarios for War and the Operational Art in an Era of Globalization.  As Scott points out, this book was largely born out of an analysis of the Gulf War. Karl asks, “If the media, as [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#125- Unrestricted Warfare Part 1

#125- Unrestricted Warfare Part 1 This week, Scott and Karl read Unrestricted Warfare: Two Air Force Senior Colonels on Scenarios for War and the Operational Art in an Era of Globalization. Written in 1999 by two colonels in the People's Liberation Army, Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui, this book offers a sobering study on war in [...]
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#31- Rebels With a Cause: The Outlaws of Outlaw Country

#31- Rebels With a Cause: The Outlaws of Outlaw Country Buckle up! In this much-anticipated episode, Scott, Karl, and Trent discuss outlaw country music. Starting as a movement about freedom, authenticity, and rebellion, outlaw country is all about breaking the rules. During the 1970s, Nashville's country music stars had to fight for creative control of [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#124- McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove, with Brett McKay (Art of Manliness) Part 2

#124- McMurtry's Lonesome Dove, with Brett McKay (Art of Manliness) Part 2 Scott, Karl, and special guest Brett McKay finish their discussion of Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove.  The trio discusses the novel's unforgettable assortment of characters and their virtues (or lack thereof). Brett says, "This book makes me reevaluate my telos. What is guiding me through [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#123- McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove, with Brett McKay (Art of Manliness) Part 1

#123- McMurtry's Lonesome Dove, with Brett McKay (Art of Manliness) Part 1 This week, Scott and Karl are joined by special guest Brett McKay, founder of The Art of Manliness, to discuss Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove.  An epic of the frontier, Lonesome Dove may be the grandest novel ever written about the lawless American West. It also happens [...]
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#30- Beethoven’s Fifth: The Most Famous Symphony Of All Time

#30- Beethoven’s Fifth: The Most Famous Symphony Of All Time Da-Da-Da-DUM — hardly any succession of notes is as famous as Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.  This week, Scott, Karl, and Trent discuss the life and legacy of Ludwig van Beethoven, one of the most admired composers in the history of Western music. Trent says, "I hear him [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#122- Hardy Boys: The Tower Treasure Part 2

#122- Hardy Boys: The Tower Treasure Part 2 Scott and Karl finish their discussion of The Tower Treasure, the first volume in the Hardy Boys Mystery Stories. The Hardy Boys books have never been out of print since first coming onto the scene in 1927, have been translated into 25 different languages, and continue to sell over [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#121- Hardy Boys: The Tower Treasure Part 1

#121- Hardy Boys: The Tower Treasure Part 1 Scott and Karl read the first volume in the Hardy Boys Mystery Stories, The Tower Treasure. While the book appears to be authored by Franklin W. Dixon, it was actually written for the Stratemeyer Syndicate by Leslie McFarlane in 1927. There's a good chance many of our listeners grew up [...]
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#29- Demystifying Indian Classical Music

#29- Demystifying Indian Classical Music In today's episode, Trent orients Scott and Karl to Indian classical music. To a novice listener, the complexity of Indian music might seem overwhelming, but knowing just a few basics can give you the tools to appreciate the melodic richness. Scott admits, "We have never done a show which we [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#120- The Triumph of the Therapeutic Part 2

#120- The Triumph of the Therapeutic Part 2 Scott and Karl finish their discussion of Philip Rieff’s book The Triumph of the Therapeutic: Uses of Faith after Freud.  Thanks to Freud, idioms of therapy have successfully invaded the education and religious spheres. Scott says, "If Freudianism is around us and some of his bedrock assumptions are [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#119- The Triumph of the Therapeutic Part 1

#119- The Triumph of the Therapeutic Part 1 Scott and Karl begin discussing Philip Rieff's book The Triumph of the Therapeutic: Uses of Faith after Freud. Published in 1966, the problems that Rieff saw with an increasingly irreligious view of society have only expanded with time.  Rieff asks, "The question is no longer as Dostoevsky put [...]
holst's the planets

#28- How to Listen to Jazz

#28- How to Listen to Jazz Scott, Karl, and Trent introduce us to one of America's premier art forms— jazz. To better understand this music genre, the trio listens to the Clifford Brown and Max Roach album Study in Brown.  Jazz is a language on its own: it's explorative, improvisational, and an aesthetic experience. "Brilliant, beautiful [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#118- Monster Hunter International Part 2

#118- Monster Hunter International Part 2 Scott and Karl conclude their discussion of Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter International Book 1. The duo talks about what it takes to write an urban fantasy novel with a coherent worldview. There's great value in reading books that aren't "important." Karl says, "It's not high-brow, it's funny, it's a book you [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#117- Monster Hunter International Part 1

#117- Monster Hunter International Part 1 Scott and Karl begin their discussion of Larry Correia's Monster Hunter International Book 1. Self-published in 2009, this novel kicks off what will soon be a ten-book series. Scott says, "He manages to write about this world exposing these hidden monsters that seems consonant with the world I see." Monster Hunter [...]
holst's the planets

#27- Chanting: A Religious Experience

#27- Chanting: A Religious Experience Scott, Karl, and Trent discuss the history, ritual, and tradition of chanting. Karl walks listeners through the musical structure and rules of different chanting traditions in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Church. Karl says, "For most people, chanting is an accompaniment for their yoga... it's something alien that we [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#116- Goethe’s Faust Part 2

#116- Goethe's Faust Part 2 Scott and Karl finish their two-part discussion of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust. The legend of a man selling his soul to the devil seems to have particular resonance at times of moral crisis. Regarding modern Faustians and their insatiable appetite for expansion, Karl says, "It's the idea that this is [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#115- Goethe’s Faust Part 1

#115- Goethe's Faust Part 1 Scott and Karl begin their two-part discussion of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust. Faust is highly successful and well-read yet dissatisfied with his life. As the now-legend goes, this leads him to make a pact with the Devil at a crossroads, exchanging his soul for forbidden knowledge. The duo talks about [...]
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#26- Just Pleasures

#26- Just Pleasures This week, Scott, Karl, and Trent each choose three "pleasure-only" songs to share on the show. From The Bangles to Lady Gaga, these picks are not guilty pleasures. These are the fun songs you listen to in your car, while you're lifting, or while drinking a Busch Light. What songs do you [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#114- Jordan B. Peterson’s Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life

#114- Jordan B. Peterson's Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life This week, Scott and Karl discuss Jordan B. Peterson's Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life.  As the companion volume to 12 Rules for Life, Peterson's new book offers "further guidance on the perilous path of modern life." While Scott and Karl agree these are decent, sensible rules for life, [...]
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#25 – Les Paul: The Father of Multitrack Recording

#25 - Les Paul: The Father of Multitrack Recording Scott, Karl, and Trent introduce us to the genius of Les Paul. Best known for the solid-body electric guitar, Les Paul was a prolific inventor and tinkerer. He also developed many of the techniques that formed the backbone of modern music recording, including multitracking, overdubbing, and [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#113- Kierkegaard’s The Sickness Unto Death

#113- Kierkegaard's The Sickness Unto Death Are we all in despair, whether we know it or not? Scott and Karl discuss S¢ren Kierkegaard’s cheerful little book, The Sickness Unto Death. Published in 1849, Kierkegaard outlines his theory of the self in relation to his categories of despair, wherein despair is a "disease" of the self. For Kierkegaard, [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#112- Mishima’s Sun and Steel, with Matt Reynolds (Barbell Logic)

#112- Mishima's Sun and Steel, with Matt Reynolds (Barbell Logic) This week, Scott and Karl are joined by special guest Matt Reynolds to discuss Yukio Mishima's book, Sun and Steel. Born into a samurai family, Mishima died by his own hand in 1970, committing seppuku or ritual suicide. While controversial, Mishima is considered one of the [...]
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#24- Pop Pathos

#24- Pop Pathos Have you ever thought about what makes a pop song tick? This week, Scott, Karl, and Trent analyze the lyrics in some of the biggest pop hits from different eras of American music. The trio discusses the various levels a pop song can operate on. Trent says, "There are songs that have a [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#111- Schumacher’s Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered

#111- Schumacher's Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered Small Is Beautiful is economist E. F. Schumacher’s classic call for the end of excessive consumption. Schumacher offers a crucial message for the modern world struggling to balance economic growth with the human costs of globalization. Scott says, "These problems are going to get a lot [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#110- H.G. Wells’s The New World Order Part 2

#110- H.G. Wells’s The New World Order Part 2 In the second episode of this two-part series, Scott and Karl finish discussing The New World Order by H.G. Wells. Scott says, "There are people that write things that I don't agree with but they hang together and they are internally consistent. Wells is really not." The duo [...]
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#23- Instruments of the Orchestra

#23- Instruments of the Orchestra This week, Scott, Karl, and Trent talk about the different instruments of the orchestra. A Symphony Orchestra is defined as a large ensemble composed of wind, string, brass, and percussion instruments and organized to perform classical music. Karl says, "It's one thing to have a melody, but really that's not [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#109- H.G. Wells’s The New World Order Part 1

#109- H.G. Wells's The New World Order Part 1 In the first episode of this two-part series, Scott and Karl begin discussing The New World Order by H.G. Wells. Published in January 1940, Wells’s motivation for writing The New World Order was based upon the outbreak of World War II. He proposes a framework of international functionalism that he believes could [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#108- The King of Satire Fantasy: Terry Pratchett’s Going Postal

#108- The King of Satire Fantasy: Terry Pratchett's Going Postal This week, Scott and Karl read Going Postal by British writer Terry Pratchett, the 33rd book in his Discworld series. The Discworld novels can be read in any order but Going Postal is the first book featuring the character Moist von Lipwig. Moist is a con artist and a [...]
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#22- Rock ‘N’ Roll Pioneer Buddy Holly

#22- Rock 'N' Roll Pioneer Buddy Holly This week, Scott, Karl, and Trent talk about the life and music of rock 'n' roll legend Buddy Holly. Growing up in Lubbock, Texas, Buddy began his musical career singing country and western songs. Scott points out, "Buddy's love songs aren't the sad, lonesome songs like Hank Williams, [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#107- Do Ancient Writers Always Tell You What They Mean? Unpacking Essays by Leo Strauss

#107- Do Ancient Writers Always Tell You What They Mean? Unpacking Essays by Leo Strauss This week, Scott and Karl discuss three of Leo Strauss' essays, "On a Forgotten Kind of Writing," "Esoteric Teaching," and "Persecution and the Art of Writing." Published between 1952-54, these works center around the same set of concerns: the relationship [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#106- Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer

#106- Walker Percy's The Moviegoer This week, Scott and Karl read The Moviegoer, Walker Percy's first novel. Awarded the 1962 National Book Award for Fiction, the story follows Binx Bolling, a young New Orleans stockbroker who surveys the world with a removed gaze. Karl says, “There’s a certain type of person that these novels are [...]
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#21- The World’s Saddest Guitar Player: Roy Buchanan

#21- The World's Saddest Guitar Player: Roy Buchanan Known as ‘the guitarist’s guitarist,’ Roy Buchanan never attained any real fame or fortune during his lifetime. As an American guitarist, blues musician, and pioneer of the Telecaster sound, Buchanan turned guitar tone into an art form. As the first commercially successfully solid-body electric guitar, the Telecaster [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#105- Allan Savory’s Holistic Resource Management

#105- Allan Savory's Holistic Resource Management This week, Scott and Karl discuss Allan Savory's book Holistic Resource Management. Savory warns that while fossil fuels and livestock grazing are often targeted as major culprits behind climate change and desertification, it's really our mismanagement of resources that pose the biggest threat. Scott says, "If you care about regenerative [...]
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#20- Sh**ty Is Pretty: The Anatomy of Funk

#20- Sh**ty Is Pretty: The Anatomy of Funk This week, Scott, Karl, and Trent discuss the anatomy of funk music. Trent opens, "Funk music is dirty, it's degenerate, and it's wonderful." Both highly danceable and hypnotic, funk music includes a mixture of soul, jazz, rhythm, and blues, but there's also a psychedelic element as well. [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#104- A Cautionary Tale: Asimov’s The Naked Sun

#104- A Cautionary Tale: Asimov's The Naked Sun Scott and Karl discuss The Naked Sun, a science fiction novel by American writer Isaac Asimov, the second in his Robot series. Elijah Baley, a detective from Earth, is given a new assignment to investigate the murder of a Spacer (long-lived humans that colonize space) on a distant world called Solaria. Asimov portrays [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#103- Filial Piety in Wendell Berry’s “Pray Without Ceasing”

#103- Filial Piety in Wendell Berry's “Pray Without Ceasing” This week, Scott and Karl read “Pray Without Ceasing” which is included in Wendell Berry’s collection of short stories That Distant Land.  Berry writes about a murder committed in the summer of 1912, 78 years before the narrator learns its details, a crime that has haunted Port [...]
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#19- George Gershwin: A Leading American Composer

#19- George Gershwin: A Leading American Composer This week, Scott, Karl, and Trent discuss George Gershwin, the celebrated American composer of Rhapsody in Blue, the opera Porgy and Bess, the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Of Thee I Sing, and hundreds more songs that continue to be radiant examples of the Great American Songbook. Gershwin's compositional career began as [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#102- Albert Z. Carr’s “Is Business Bluffing Ethical?”

#102- Albert Z. Carr's "Is Business Bluffing Ethical?" This week, Scott and Karl discuss Albert Z. Carr's 1968 article "Is Business Bluffing Ethical?." Originally published in the Harvard Business Review, the article has become a classic on the subject of business ethics. Mr. Carr was Assistant to the Chairman of the War Production Board during World War II, serving [...]
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#18 – Vince Guaraldi’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

#18 - Vince Guaraldi's "A Charlie Brown Christmas" This week, Scott, Karl, and Trent listen to the seasonal classic, Vince Guaraldi Trio's 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' album. Airing on CBS on December 9, 1965, the soundtrack went on to be a massive bestseller, cementing Guaraldi's place in music and history. His music also helped to [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#100- Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol

#100- Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol This week, we are celebrating our 100th episode of the Online Great Books podcast! Thank you to our listeners and supporters of the show— we appreciate you. To commemorate the occasion, Scott and Karl read the timeless tale, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Most of us know the story from [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#99- Federalist Papers No. 51: Exploring Separation of Powers

#99- Federalist Papers No. 51: Exploring Separation of Powers This week, Scott and Karl discuss James Madison's Federalist No. 51, titled: "The Structure of the Government Must Furnish the Proper Checks and Balances Between the Different Departments." In this Federalist Paper, Madison explains and defends the checks and balances system in the Constitution. Of its [...]
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#17- Tracing the Origins of the Blues

#17- Tracing the Origins of the Blues This week, Scott, Karl, and Trent trace one of the most influential forces in music and culture: the blues. The trio talks about the migration of the blues, starting from its origins in slave communities on plantations. As the blues extended its reach in the US, you'll find [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#98- A Thanksgiving Touchstone: Thomas Gray’s “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” and Norman Rockwell’s Freedom from Want

#98- A Thanksgiving Touchstone: Thomas Gray’s “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” and Norman Rockwell's Freedom from Want This week, Scott and Karl talk about two, while unsuspecting, companion pieces: Thomas Gray’s poem “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” and Norman Rockwell's iconic painting Freedom from Want.  Scott says, "They are both about hearth and normal [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#97- The Oldest Major Work of French Literature: The Song of Roland

#97- The Oldest Major Work of French Literature: The Song of Roland This week, Scott and Karl read the classical epic, The Song of Roland, translated by Dorthy Sayers. The Song of Roland is an 11th-century epic poem based on the Battle of Roncevaux Pass in 778, during the reign of Charlemagne. Although the poem was set in [...]
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#16- A Guide to Tuning and Temperament

#16- A Guide to Tuning and Temperament This week, Scott, Karl, and Trent dive into a brief introduction of tuning and temperament: The math, the musical history, and the relationship of the theoretical with the practical. The tuning of musical instruments is as ancient as the musical scale. Together, tuning and temperament is the adjustment of [...]
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#15 – That High Lonesome Sound: The Evolution of Bluegrass

#15 - That High Lonesome Sound: The Evolution of Bluegrass This week Scott, Karl, and Trent examine the evolution of old country, folk, and gospel music into the distinctive, high-energy acoustic genre known as bluegrass.   Tune in for more music and ideas, brought to you by onlinegreatbooks.com. ENROLLMENT IS OPEN NOW! Don’t miss the limited-time [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#96- Mark Twain’s “The Facts Concerning the Recent Carnival of Crime in Connecticut”

#96- Mark Twain's "The Facts Concerning the Recent Carnival of Crime in Connecticut" This week, Scott and Karl read Mark Twain's "The Facts Concerning the Recent Carnival of Crime in Connecticut." Don't let the long title misguide you, this Twain original is short and wonderfully mischievous. As the story goes, Twain is expecting a visit [...]
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#14 – Masters of the Classical Period: The String Quartets of Haydn, Dvorak, and Beethoven

#14 - Masters of the Classical Period: The String Quartets of Haydn, Dvorak, and Beethoven Scott, Karl, and Trent explore the string quartets of the Classical period, which lasted from roughly 1730 to 1820, following the Baroque period and preceding the Romantic period.   Tune in for more music and ideas, brought to you by onlinegreatbooks.com. [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#95- Tolstoy’s Mini Masterpiece: The Death of Ivan Ilyich

#95- Tolstoy's Mini Masterpiece: The Death of Ivan Ilyich This week, Scott and Karl read a novella by Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilyich. Published in Russian as Smert Ivana Ilycha in 1886, this short story remains one of Tolstoy's most celebrated pieces of late fiction. As Scott puts it, "This is the smallest chunk of Tolstoy that could [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#94- Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific

#94- Michener's Tales of the South Pacific This week, Scott and Karl read Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener, one of America’s most beloved storytellers. As the author of more than forty books of fiction and nonfiction, the majority of Michener's novels were lengthy family sagas covering the lives of many generations in particular [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#93- The Father of the Western Novel: Grey’s Riders of the Purple Sage

#93- The Father of the Western Novel: Grey's Riders of the Purple Sage Zane Grey's Riders of the Purple Sage has played a significant role in shaping the popular Western genre. First published in 1912, this novel is often referred to as "the most popular western novel of all time." But as Karl points out, "We've made [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#92- C. S. Forester’s Mr. Midshipman Hornblower

#92- C. S. Forester's Mr. Midshipman Hornblower This week, Scott and Karl read Mr. Midshipman Hornblower by C. S. Forester. Published in 1950, this novel is considered the first episode in the 11 volume set about the career of the young British Naval officer, Horatio Hornblower. Hornblower commences his career in the Royal Navy as [...]
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#13- An Introduction to Metal

#13- An Introduction to Metal In this episode, the trio is joined by special guest Riley Hambrick to discuss the birth of metal music. Trent says, "Metal, from the beginning, is concerned with matters of the soul. There's substance to it that's just not present in rock music." The group discusses where rock and metal [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#91- A Founding Figure of Modern Schooling: Fichte’s Addresses to the German Nation

#91- A Founding Figure of Modern Schooling: Fichte's Addresses to the German Nation This week, Scott and Karl read selections from Johann Gottlieb Fichte's Addresses to the German Nation. They focus on the Second Address, “The General Nature of the New Education,” and the Third Address, "Description of the New Education." As a series of [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#90- The First James Bond Novel: Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale

#90- The First James Bond Novel: Ian Fleming's Casino Royale This week, Scott and Karl read the first book in the James Bond series, Casino Royale. Written by British author Ian Fleming and published in 1953, you'll find traces of the rising tensions of the Cold War mixed in with this spy thriller. The story [...]
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#12- Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys

#12- Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys Known as the King of Western Swing, Wills formed several bands and played radio stations around the South and West until he formed the Texas Playboys in 1934. The Texas Playboys' signature dance-floor style of Western swing encompassed blues, jazz, country, and pop standards. Trent adds, "This is [...]
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#89- Nietzsche’s On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense

#89- Nietzsche’s On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense This week, Scott and Karl discuss Nietzche's On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense. Written in 1873 one year after The Birth of Tragedy, it was published by his sister Elisabeth in 1896 when Nietzsche was already mentally ill. In just 24 pages, the [...]
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#88- The Classic Hardboiled Crime Novel: Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep

#88- The Classic Hardboiled Crime Novel: Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep This week, Scott and Karl read the 1939 novel by Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep. This hardboiled crime novel is the first of seven novels to feature the famed detective Philip Marlowe. As Chandler’s first Marlowe story, there is no introduction to the character; [...]
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#11- Why Opera Doesn’t Suck

#11- Why Opera Doesn't Suck In this much-anticipated episode, Scott, Karl, and Trent dig into what makes opera music so great, and why you should give it a chance if you haven't yet. Whether you’re completely new to opera or just need a refresher, you're bound to learn something new. Opera shares a root with [...]
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#87: Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investor Part 2

#87: Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investor Part 2 In the second episode of this two-part series, Scott and Karl finish up their discussion of Benjamin Graham’s 1949 classic The Intelligent Investor. Graham wanted to teach investors the basic principles needed to navigate markets. In doing so, he teaches investors how to manage themselves. Graham's rules [...]
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#86: Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investor Part 1

#86: Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investor Part 1 In the first episode of this two-part series, Scott and Karl begin discussing Benjamin Graham's 1949 classic The Intelligent Investor. Heralded as the greatest investment advisor of the twentieth century, Graham's philosophy of “value investing” provides the core tenants of all good portfolio management. Karl says, "It [...]
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#10: Frank Sinatra: The Man, the Music, the Legend

#10: Frank Sinatra: The Man, the Music, the Legend Also known as “Ol’ Blue Eyes," “The Chairman of the Board,” or simply as “The Voice,” Frank Sinatra was one of the most popular and influential musical artists of the 20th century. Scott, Karl, and Trent primarily discuss three of his albums, The Voice of Frank [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#85- Marcuse’s “Repressive Tolerance” Part 2

#85- Marcuse's "Repressive Tolerance" Part 2 In the second half of the conversation, Scott and Karl continue discussing Herbert Marcuse’s 1965 essay “Repressive Tolerance.” In the course of analyzing Marcuse, Karl creates a new word: "justism." As Karl describes, "It's when you take a complex reality and you reduce it to one simple concept. For [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#84- Marcuse’s “Repressive Tolerance” Part 1

#84- Marcuse's "Repressive Tolerance" Part 1 Is tolerance a good thing and who deserves it? In the first episode of this two-part series, Scott and Karl begin discussing Herbert Marcuse's 1965 essay "Repressive Tolerance." Marcuse argues that the whole of society shapes what is politically possible for each of us, so any discussion of politics [...]
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#83- Belloc’s “An Essay on the Restoration of Property”

#83- Belloc's "An Essay on the Restoration of Property" This week, Scott and Karl read Hilaire Belloc's "An Essay on the Restoration of Property." Written in 1936, Belloc attempts to rectify the wrongs in both major economic theories by approaching the problem from an entirely new angle, offering his own program for property distribution.  As Scott [...]
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#9- The Complete Works of Led Zeppelin

#9- The Complete Works of Led Zeppelin This week, the trio discusses the work and legacy of a band you may have heard of, Led Zeppelin— one of the most popular and innovative rock bands ever. Initially called the New Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin was formed in 1968 by English guitarist Jimmy Page before taking the [...]
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#82- A Landmark of Post-Apocalyptic Fiction: Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz

#82- A Landmark of Post-Apocalyptic Fiction: Miller's A Canticle for Leibowitz This week, Scott and Karl discuss A Canticle for Leibowitz, the post-apocalyptic science fiction classic by Walter M. Miller Jr., first published in 1959. Scott says, “It's a story about how fragile civilization is, how fragile knowledge is, and what people’s responsibility to that may or may not [...]
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#8- The Best of Hard Bop: Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers

#8- The Best of Hard Bop: Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers This week, Scott, Karl, and Trent listen to Art Blakely and the Jazz Messengers' most archetypal and popular album release, Moanin’. Recorded in 1958 for the Blue Note label and released the following year, the LP was originally self-titled, but the instant popularity of the opening track "Moanin'" (by [...]
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#81- The Case for Digital Currency: Nakamoto on Bitcoin

#81- The Case for Digital Currency: Nakamoto on Bitcoin 12 years ago, an anonymous person using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto published Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System. This week, Scott and Karl discuss this revolutionary concept of how Bitcoin set out to change the way the world views currencies. At just ten pages long, Nakamoto’s original paper [...]
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#80- J.R.R. Tolkien’s “On Fairy-stories”

#80- J.R.R. Tolkien's "On Fairy-stories" What are fairy-stories? What is their origin? What is the use of them? This week, Scott and Karl read “On Fairy-Stories” and “Leaf by Niggle” by J. R. R. Tolkien. Both works offer answers to these questions while providing the underlying philosophy of Tolkien's own fantastical writing, such as The Lord [...]
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#79- Rooted in Community: Berry’s Jayber Crow

#79- Rooted in Community: Berry's Jayber Crow This week, Scott and Karl read Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry. The role of community in the shaping of character is a recurring theme for Berry, who is the author of more than forty books that largely serve as an extended conversation about the life he values. Berry is a [...]
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#78- Jünger’s Storm of Steel

#78- Jünger's Storm of Steel This week Scott and Karl read Storm of Steel by Ernst Jünger, the memoir widely viewed as the best account ever written of fighting in WW1. Printed in 1920, this book illuminates not only the horrors but also the fascination of total war, seen through the eyes of a German soldier. [...]
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Jazz Icon Miles Davis: Kind of Blue

Jazz Icon Miles Davis: Kind of Blue This week, Scott and Karl are joined by Producer Trent Jones to discuss the best-selling jazz record of all time, Miles Davis' Kind of Blue. Recorded in 1959 at Columbia's 30th Street Studio in New York City, this album brings together six other now-legendary musicians in the prime of their careers: tenor [...]
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#77- MacIntyre’s After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory

#77- MacIntyre's After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory Why are modern debates on morality so shrill? This week, Scott and Karl read After Virtue, a book on moral philosophy by Alasdair MacIntyre. Published in 1981, MacIntyre examines the historical and conceptual roots of the idea of virtue and diagnoses the reasons for its absence in [...]
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#76- A British Humor Classic: Wodehouse’s The Inimitable Jeeves

#76- A British Humor Classic: Wodehouse's The Inimitable Jeeves This week, Scott and Karl read The Inimitable Jeeves, the second collection of Jeeves stories written by P. G. Wodehouse, published in 1923. First appearing in print in 1915, Jeeves continued to feature in Wodehouse's work until his last completed novel Aunts Aren't Gentlemen in 1974, a span of 60 [...]
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#75- General Smedley D. Butler’s War is a Racket

#75- General Smedley D. Butler's War is a Racket This week, Scott and Karl read War is a Racket, the antiwar classic, written by one of America's most decorated soldiers— General Smedley D. Butler.  When he published this essay in 1935, General Bulter was already a retired United States Marine Corps Major General and two-time Medal [...]
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#74- Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals Part 2

#74- Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals Part 2 Scott, Karl, and Brett Veinotte of the School Sucks Project continue their discussion of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals.  Picking up where they left off from last week, the trio polishes off the remaining rules on Alinsky's list. Scott says, “What he outlines here is [...]
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#73- Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals Part 1

#73- Alinsky's Rules for Radicals Part 1 Scott and Karl are joined by Brett Veinotte, creator of the School Sucks Project, for a special two-part discussion on Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals.  Divided into ten chapters, Rules for Radicals provides 10 lessons on how a community organizer can accomplish the goal of successfully [...]
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#6- Jimmie Rodgers: America’s Blue Yodeler

#6- Jimmie Rodgers: America's Blue Yodeler In this week's episode, the trio discusses the themes and song stylings of the original blue yodels, a series of thirteen songs written and recorded by Jimmie Rodgers during the period from 1927 to his death in May 1933. Known during his career as “The Singing Brakeman" and later "The [...]
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#72- G. K. Chesterton’s What I Saw In America

#72- G. K. Chesterton's What I Saw In America This week, Scott and Karl read and heartily discuss G.K. Chesterson's What I Saw In America. 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 [...]
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#71- Citizenship In Heinlein’s Starship Troopers

#71- Citizenship In Heinlein’s Starship Troopers What’s the proper cost of being a citizen? This week, Scott and Karl read and discuss Starship Troopers, written by Robert A. Heinlein in 1959. Labeled both a seminal and controversial military Sci-Fi read, this book is a provocative challenge that makes you think about citizenship, leadership, and moral philosophy. [...]
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#5- The Legacy of Toto

#5- The Legacy of Toto Did Toto create the most perfect pop song ever? According to Karl, "You can uncover a lot more beauty in just regular old pop music if you shift your focus from that first hit that it gives you— listen a little deeper and you’ll find neat stuff.” Although the three [...]
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#70- Are We Living in Orwell’s 1984?

#70- Are We Living in Orwell’s 1984? This week, Scott and Karl put on their tin foil hats for a reading of George Orwell's 1984.  Published in 1949, the enduring relevance in 1984 is hard to overlook. Of its message, Karl says, “There are definitely right stories to tell and wrong stories to tell. The wrong stories get [...]
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#69- The Original Adventures of Conan the Barbarian

#69- The Original Adventures of Conan the Barbarian This week, Scott and Karl read a collection of stories starring Conan the Barbarian, a series by Robert E. Howard. Known as the “Father of Sword and Sorcery,” Howard helped create this subgenre of fiction. To this point, Karl adds, "There is so much of your popular [...]
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#4- Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in C Major

#4- Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in C Major Scott, Karl, and Michelle listen to and discuss Johann Sebastian Bach's Prelude and Fugue in C Major, BWV 846-847. It is the first prelude and fugue in the first book of The Well-Tempered Clavier, a series of 48 preludes and fugues by the composer. What is a fugue? As Michelle points out, [...]
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#68- Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and “The Masque Of The Red Death”

#68- Edgar Allan Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" and “The Masque Of The Red Death” This week, Scott and Karl read two short stories by Edgar Allan Poe. Poe’s stories are known for following many traditions of Gothic fiction, and “The Murders in the Rue Morgue" and “The Masque Of The Red Death” [...]
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#67- Montaigne’s “Of the Education of Children”

#67- Montaigne's "Of the Education of Children" In 1580, Michel De Montaigne is asked by the pregnant Madame Diane de Foix on what the best way of educating a child is. In his essay  "Of the Education of Children," Montaigne provides her with a glimpse into his own upbringing, advising her on how children should apply their education [...]
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#3- Harmony in Chopin’s Prelude Op. 28, No. 4

#3- Harmony in Chopin's Prelude Op. 28, No. 4 This week, Michelle, Scott, and Karl listen to the Prelude Op. 28, No. 4 by Frédéric Chopin in E minor. We are listening to the Nino Gvetadze version which you can access here. As Michelle points out, "This is the clearest example of what happens when you put notes together [...]
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#66- The Other Side of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

#66- The Other Side of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice This week, Scott and Karl are joined by Aristotelian scholar and OGB seminar host, John Pascarella. The trio talks about the not-so-obvious side of Jane Austen's novel, Pride and Prejudice.  Austen’s Aristotelian ethical ideas are often overlooked by the majority of readers, but as Scott points [...]
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#65- Schopenhauer’s Metaphysics of Love

#65- Schopenhauer's Metaphysics of Love This week, Scott and Karl discuss Schopenhauer's Metaphysics of Love. Among 19th-century philosophers, Arthur Schopenhauer was one of the first to contend that at its core, the universe is not a rational place. His view of love is no different— earnest but slightly unromantic. Scott sums up Schopenhauer's theory by saying, [...]
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#2- Louis Armstrong’s West End Blues: Improvisation and the Blues

#2- Louis Armstrong's West End Blues: Improvisation and the Blues Dear listener, Where to begin with such an influential piece of music. Michelle believes, "This is about the blues, the blues scale, the blues feel, blues style and form. It's fundamentally what was groundbreaking about improvisation." Karl's take? "It's about classical cornet method meeting the [...]
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#64- Transmitting Culture in Mishima’s The Sound of Waves

#64- Transmitting Culture in Mishima's The Sound of Waves This week, Scott and Karl read The Sound of Waves, a 1954 novel by the Japanese author Yukio Mishima. The novel follows Shinji and his romance with Hatsue, the beautiful daughter of the wealthy shipowner, on the island of Uta-Jima (Song Island). It’s a charming coming-of-age story, but as Scott points [...]
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#63- Frank Herbert’s Dune: Testing the Limits of What it Means to be Human

#63- Frank Herbert's Dune: Testing the Limits of What it Means to be Human Welcome, dear listeners, to a show that explores what it means to be human. Sound intriguing? This week, Scott and Karl read Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel Dune which is a book thought to be The Lord of the Rings equivalent in the science fiction genre. [...]
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#1- Brahms’ Symphony No. 3: Music as Conversation

#1- Brahms' Symphony No. 3: Music as Conversation Scott Hambrick, founder of onlinegreatbooks.com, Karl Schudt, and Michelle Hawkins launch this podcast at the only suitable place to start— with a melody. Before tuning in to the podcast, go listen to Brahms' Symphony No. 3. Michelle says, "This particular melody is not repetitive, it takes you [...]
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#62- The Magna Carta: Exploring the 800-Year Legacy

#62- The Magna Carta: Exploring the 800-Year Legacy This week, Scott and Karl read and discuss the 63 clauses of the Magna Carta. In 1215, Bad King John pledged, under duress, to his barons that he would obey “the law of the land” when he affixed his seal to a charter that came to be [...]
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#61- Why Did the Articles of Confederation Fail?

#61- Why Did the Articles of Confederation Fail? This week, Scott and Karl read the Articles of Confederation. This "firm league of friendship" was written in 1777, stemming from wartime urgency. However, it was not actually ratified until 1781. It now lays on the ash heap of history, formally replaced by the present United States [...]
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#60- The Master of Satire: Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal

#60- The Master of Satire: Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal This week, Scott and Karl read A Modest Proposal, a satirical essay written and published anonymously by Jonathan Swift in 1729. Are human lives the sort of things you should add up like numbers? Despite suggesting that the impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their children [...]
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#59- Henry David Thoreau’s Walden: Why Are We Always So Busy?

#59- Henry David Thoreau's Walden: Why Are We Always So Busy? 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 project — simple [...]
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#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 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 his readers [...]
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#57- Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago: How Literature Can Save Us

#57- Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago: How Literature Can Save Us This week, Scott and Karl dive into The Gulag Archipelago by Russian writer and historian Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.  Published in 1973, the title refers to a series of disconnected prisons in the Soviet Union that, nevertheless, all shared the same culture. The manuscript had to be hidden, originally published [...]
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#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 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 heartbreaking [...]
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#55- The FAQ Show

#55- The FAQ Show We’re switching up our normal routine to answer your Online Great Books questions. In this episode, Scott and Karl address everything from membership, seminar, accountability, and our mission. What will reading the books on this list do for you, anyway? Scott says, “If you read them in earnest and you take [...]
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#54- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

#54- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight This week, Scott and Karl read Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, author unknown. This narrative poem is considered to be one of the jewels of English Literature and a crowning achievement of Middle English poetry. Filled with chivalric knights, seductive sirens, and plenty of temptation and testing, this [...]
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#53- The Medium is the Massage

#53- The Medium is the Massage 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 and action,” [...]
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#52- Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener”

#52- Melville’s "Bartleby, the Scrivener" “I would prefer not to.” In their simplicity and politeness, these five words illustrate a story of passive resistance that will both move you and leave you searching for answers. You may have even uttered the line yourself at work. "Bartleby, the Scrivener, A Story of Wall-Street," was published in Putnam's magazine [...]
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#51- Edward Bernays’ Propaganda

#51- Edward Bernays' Propaganda 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 a look behind [...]
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#50- Why Read the Great Books?

#50- Why Read the Great Books? 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. Greg, one of our members, was questioned by a coworker. “Why are you reading Thucydides at lunch?” He restated [...]
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#49- Leisure, the Basis of Culture

#49- Leisure, the Basis of Culture This week, 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 [...]
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#48- Emerson’s “The American Scholar”

#48- Emerson's "The American Scholar" This week, Scott and Karl discuss Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “The America Scholar.” This address was delivered at Cambridge in 1837, before the Harvard Chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. According to Emerson, there’s a fundamental challenge American scholars are faced with— what is it they ought to be doing? [...]
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#47- How We Read

#47- How We Read how to read a book by mortimer adler  In this week’s episode, Scott and Karl discuss all things related to reading. Before opening a book, it’s crucial to define your “why” and then your “how.” If you are reading for entertainment, your methods will differ than if you’re reading for enlightenment. [...]
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#46- Defining Happiness: Scott and Karl Discuss Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics

#46- Defining Happiness: Scott and Karl Discuss Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics This week, Scott and Karl discuss Book I of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. Aristotle may seem like an intimidating figure that you can’t tap into, but this just isn’t true. As the author of the first book on ethics, Aristotle treats human behaviors like a science. If [...]
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#45- Plutarch on Progress in Virtue

#45- Plutarch on Progress in Virtue In this week's episode, Scott and Karl discuss an essay by Plutarch, “How a Man May Become Aware of His Progress in Virtue.” As an eminent biographer and moralist, Plutarch is best known for his Parallel Lives, a series of biographies of famous Greeks and Romans arranged in tandem to [...]
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#44- The Lost Tools of Learning

#44- The Lost Tools of Learning This week, 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 in [...]
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#43- Karl Drops Out Of School

#43- Karl Drops Out Of School One year ago, Karl decided to give up his 20-year teaching career as a university professor of humanities and philosophy. Why did he make this decision? In Karl’s own words, “It was no longer rewarding for me or valuable to the students.” Towards the end of his teaching career, [...]
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#42- Harold Bloom, You’ll Be Missed

#42- Harold Bloom, You'll Be Missed In this week’s episode, Scott and Karl pay homage to the recently deceased Harold Bloom, a great ally to our mission at Online Great Books. Once hailed the most notorious literary critic in America, Bloom was a professor of humanities at Yale and a fierce defender of canonicity.  His [...]
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#41- Gabriel Marcel on Avoiding The Loss Of Our Humanity

#41- Gabriel Marcel on Avoiding The Loss Of Our Humanity This week, Scott and Karl read Chapters 1-3 of Gabriel Marcel’s Man Against Mass Society. Mass society doesn’t just include people for Marcel, he also includes art, media, and technology. Marcel is concerned with human existence, or more specifically, with the quality of human life in relation [...]
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#40- Hobbes’ Leviathan

#40- Hobbes' Leviathan Thomas Hobbes is the type of writer you love to hate– but he’s also the guy you’d love to play cards with. Scott believes Hobbes’ Leviathan is one of the most fruitful books he has ever read. It’s a founding text of western thought filled with original ideas that are still relevant to contemporary politics. [...]
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#39- Emerson on Self-Reliance

#39- Emerson on Self-Reliance Scott is joined by Karl Schudt in this week’s discussion of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay, “Self-Reliance.” For Emerson, authentic, unmediated thought has some sort of divine truth in it. This is crucial to our mission at Online Great Books. In seminar discussion, everyone has a unique perspective that we need to [...]
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#38- On Love

#38- On Love Do we reveal our most authentic inner selves by our choice of partner? How can you identify meaningful love in others? In what ways does love grow? Scott discusses the role of choice in love with fellow OGB interlocutors Karl Schudt and Marsha Enright. The trio digs into a chapter from José Ortega [...]
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#37- A Scandal In Bohemia

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.

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#36- The Lord of the Rings Part 2

In the second installment of the series, Scott Hambrick and Karl Schudt continue their discussion of Tolkien’s magic in The Lord of the Rings. The two talk about the problem of evil in this Homeric story, what the good life actually looks like, models of hope we see in many of the characters, the unyielding power of friendship, language’s captivating ability to transmit culture, and so much more.

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#35- The Lord of the Rings Part 1

After years of Karl’s persistent hounding, Scott finally reads The Lord of the Rings. The two discuss elves, orcs, dwarfs, hobbits, and so much more.

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#34 – Against Dryness

#34 – Against Dryness If you don't believe in anything, how can you make meaningful art? Scott and Dr. Karl Schudt discuss their first encounter with philosopher-novelist Iris Murdoch. Her essay "Against Dryness" addresses that question, along with the ideas and forces that brought that question about. Looking at art and of literature, Murdoch laments [...]
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#33 – The Loss of the Creature

#33 – The Loss of the Creature Scott and Dr. Karl Schudt discuss Walker Percy's essay on how preconceived ideas about experiences cause us to overlook their essence. Why do so many people surrender their experiences of things to the way others want those people to experience them? How do we get around Percy's "symbolic [...]
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#32 – Plato’s Seventh Letter

#32 – Plato’s Seventh Letter Plato's Seventh Letter has it all - history, politics, epistemology, pedagogy. And the complaints of an old man who has watched his life's work...fail? Scott and Dr. Karl Schudt discuss the letter and the drama behind it, and then wrestle with the question of whether or not a lover of [...]
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#31 – Moments II: Thucydides & The Thin Veneer of Civility

#31 – Moments II: Thucydides & The Thin Veneer of Civility In the second installment of the Moments miniseries, seminar leader Karl Schudt reflects on the capricious and tenuous nature of our current political environment. As Thucydides reminds us, extreme partisanship is nothing new: "reckless audacity came to be considered the courage of a loyal [...]
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#30 – How to Start Your Own Home Reading Group with Thad Hensley

#30 – How to Start Your Own Home Reading Group with Thad Hensley Scott says it all the time -- if you can start your own Great Books  group at home, do it! There's nothing that can truly replace the camaraderie, the deep shared intellectual experiences, and the accountability of an in-person group. Several years [...]
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#29 – Moments I: Medea’s Terrifying Rationality

#29 – Moments I: Medea’s Terrifying Rationality This week we're trying something new at Online Great Books: a new series of short episodes reflecting on one aspect of the Great Books. We're calling them Moments. We'll hear personal reflections from the seminar staff and from members. One core tenet of Online Great Books is that seminar [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#28 – “We believe in nothing!” The Stakes of Meaninglessness in Nietzsche’s “The Joyful Wisdom”

#28 – “We believe in nothing!” The Stakes of Meaninglessness in Nietzsche’s “The Joyful Wisdom” Scott Hambrick and Karl Schudt discuss Friedrich Nietzsche's book The Joyful Wisdom, Book 3, which contains his infamous proclamation "God is dead." Nietzsche is perhaps best known for his writings about nihilism, the rejection of God and moral principles, or of [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#27 – Is There Virtue Among Cannibals? Scott and Miles Discuss Montaigne’s “Of Cannibals”

#27 – Is There Virtue Among Cannibals? Scott and Miles Discuss Montaigne’s “Of Cannibals” Scott Hambrick and Online Great Books member Miles Marco Bennett -- in fact the very first member to join OGB -- discuss Michel de Montaigne's insightful, tongue-in-cheek, and occasionally droll essay Of Cannibals.Montaigne's essay, which appears in a larger collected work [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#26 – Brevity is The Soul of Wit… and Effective Communication

#26 – Brevity is The Soul of Wit… and Effective Communication 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 to communicate [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#25 – Analyzing Freud’s Melancholia and Mourning with Psychiatrist David Puder, MD

#25 – Analyzing Freud’s Melancholia and Mourning with Psychiatrist David Puder, MD Psychiatrist Dr. David Puder joins the podcast to discuss Sigmund Freud's 1917 paper Melancholia and Mourning. You can find Dr. Puder on Instagram @dr.davidpuder and you can subscribe and listen to his podcast at https://psychiatrypodcast.com. Use the discount OGBPODCAST to save 25% on enrollment at [...]
Art and Scholasticism

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

#24 – Euclid & The Shape of Modern Science with Emmet Penney 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 Pythagorean theorem [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#23 – Shakespeare’s Hamlet Pt. 2: What Is The Question, Exactly?

#23 – Shakespeare’s Hamlet Pt. 2: What Is The Question, Exactly? Scott and Producer Trent wrap up their discussion of Shakespeare's Hamlet, close-reading Hamlet's soliloquies and dissecting the structure of Shakespeare's verse. They reflect on Shakespeare's impact on modern literature, the curiously secular perspective of the play in a highly religious time period, and whether Shakespeare [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#22 – Shakespeare’s Hamlet Pt. 1: The First Modern Masterpiece?

#22 – Shakespeare’s Hamlet Pt. 1: The First Modern Masterpiece? Producer Trent returns to the podcast to discuss the first modern piece of literature to appear on the podcast: Shakespeare's Hamlet. A dark, introspective, sprawling drama, Hamletis arguably Shakespeare's masterpiece, and certainly one of the best of the twelve tragedies he penned. Scott and Trent [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#21 – The College Trap Pt. 2 with Brett Veinoitte (School Sucks Podcast)

#21 – The College Trap Pt. 2 with Brett Veinoitte (School Sucks Podcast) Brett Venoitte of the School Sucks Project returns for Part 2 of our interview discussing the problems with college admissions and the persistent myth that college is a sure path to financial success and career fulfillment. In the second half of the [...]
Art and Scholasticism

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

#20 – The College Trap: How College Became A Religious Belief with Brett Veinoitte (School Sucks Podcast) 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 [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#19 – The OGB Seminar Experience, and Why Your Voice Matters

#19 – The OGB Seminar Experience, and Why Your Voice Matters Scott and Karl Schudt discuss what an Online Great Books seminar is like -- the experience, what it should be, and what it is not. Many people interested in reading the great books balk at the seminar aspect of OGB out of fear that [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#18 – Authenticity in Speech: The Importance of Speaking Your Mind with John Syc

#18 – Authenticity in Speech: The Importance of Speaking Your Mind with John Syc Scott and Online Great Books member John Syc, a therapist and LCSW from Hamden, CT, discuss the concept of authenticity in speech and discussion, and the various ways people sabotage their participation in discussions. Not only do people rob themselves of [...]
Art and Scholasticism

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

#17 – The Socratic Scribbler: Malachy Walsh on Writing and Saying What You Mean 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 simply because they [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#16 – Brett McKay (Art of Manliness) on Dante’s Divine Comedy

#16 – Brett McKay (Art of Manliness) on Dante’s Divine Comedy Brett McKay of Art of Manliness fame joins Online Great Books owner Scott Hambrick to discuss Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, a narrative poem best known by the titles of its three constituent parts: Inferno, Purgatorio,and Paradiso.   Dante's tale blends Christian theology and human reason, [...]
Art and Scholasticism

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

#15 – Marsha Familaro Enright on Montessori, Meeting Ayn Rand, and Building Reading Confidence in Adults 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 public education at [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#14 – Wrapping Up Plato’s Republic: Is It Really About Love?

#14 – Wrapping Up Plato’s Republic: Is It Really About Love? The Online Great Books crew wraps up their exploration of Plato's Republic in the third and final roundtable with Scott, Karl, Marsha, Malachy, and John. They grapple with the question of whether The Republic is a practical manual for government or really a thought experiment, [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#13 – Plato’s Republic, Books I-V: Satire or a Manual for Government?

#13 – Plato’s Republic, Books I-V: Satire or a Manual for Government? Scott Hambrick and the OGB seminar leaders tackle the first five books of Plato's Republic, wrestling with Socrates' central question "what is justice?" and arguing whether Plato intended the Republic as a manual for government or political satire. Malachy Walsh leads the discussion. [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#12 – Ideas in Action: Adam Rose and The Great Books

#12 – Ideas in Action: Adam Rose and The Great Books In today’s episode Scott chats with fellow Great Books educator Adam Rose. Mr. Rose is a University of Chicago alum and, since 1993, an instructor for the Basic Program of Liberal Education for Adults offered by the University of Chicago Graham School of Continuing [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#11 – Scott on The Canon Ball Podcast: Round Table Talk – Literature!

#11 – Scott on The Canon Ball Podcast: Round Table Talk – Literature! Our dear Reader-in-Chief, Scott Hambrick, appeared on the Canon Ball Podcast (an Agora Podcast Network show) to talk about Edmund Burke, Voltaire, and discuss their influence on thoughts about the French Revolution.   From the Canon Ball Podcast episode description: Daniel from [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#10 – What Is Justice? Plato’s Republic: Book I

#10 – What Is Justice? Plato’s Republic: Book I Scott and the seminar leaders at Online Great Books discuss Book I of Plato's Republic. The central question posed by Socrates -- what is justice? -- is the focal point of Book I. Socrates discusses with three companions the nature of justice. Cephalus offers a definition of justice [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#9 – What’s in a Question? The Art of Asking Good Questions

#9 – What’s in a Question? The Art of Asking Good Questions Socratic dialogue, that is, the art of seeking the truth through questions and discussion -- famously demonstrated by Socrates -- lies at the heart of the Online Great Books community. Yet what made Socrates' approach work was his knack for asking good, probing, [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#8 – (M)Ad Man: How the Classics Informed Malachy Walsh’s Career in Advertising

#8 – (M)Ad Man: How the Classics Informed Malachy Walsh’s Career in Advertising Scott interviews Online Great Books seminar leader and former ad-man Malachy Walsh about his Classical education and his long career in advertising during the fertile "Mad Men" period of the industry in the late 60's through the 70's. Malachy has dedicated his [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#7 – Quintus Curtius: Breathing New Life into Latin Translation

#7 – Quintus Curtius: Breathing New Life into Latin Translation Scott interviews attorney, former Marine, autodidact, and lover of classics Quintus Curtius (his nomme de guerre) about his life passion - translating classic works of Latin. Quintus has translated six major books including Cicero's On Duties and Sallast's The Conspiracy of Cataline and The War [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#6 – OGB Seminar Leaders Discuss Plato’s The Meno

#6 – OGB Seminar Leaders Discuss Plato’s The Meno Scott Hambrick and a group of the Online Great Books seminar leaders tackle Plato's The Meno, a short but endlessly deep work attempting to unearth the meaning - or even existence - of virtue. Written as a Socratic dialogue between Socrates and Meno, a young Thessalian [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#5 – Dr. Jordan Peterson On the Importance of Reading Great Books

#5 – Dr. Jordan Peterson On the Importance of Reading Great Books He is a man who, in this day and age, needs no introduction. Dr. Jordan Peterson joined the Online Great Books podcast to share his thoughts on the Great Books and the importance of our mission to get people to read and discuss [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#4 – Why We Read (the Great Books)

#4 – Why We Read (the Great Books) Karl Schudt joins us again to talk about the Great Books and why we undertake this long and sometimes difficult journey to read them, ponder them, and discuss them. Karl is one of the seminar leaders at Online Great Books, and helped write some of the guidelines [...]
Art and Scholasticism

#3 – OGB’s Karl Schudt & Emmet Penney on the ReConsider Podcast: How Dead Philosophers Still Influence Us Today

#3 – OGB’s Karl Schudt & Emmet Penney on the ReConsider Podcast: How Dead Philosophers Still Influence Us Today Our very own Karl Schudt and Emmet Penney, seminar leaders at Online Great Books, joined the ReConsider podcast on May 21, 2018 to discuss three great philosophers and how they still have influence and relevance hundreds, [...]
Art and Scholasticism

OnlineGreatBooks podcast #2 Aeschylus’ “Prometheus Bound”

OnlineGreatBooks Reader-In-Chief Scott Hambrick and Producer Trent Jones discuss “Prometheus Bound” in this episode of the OGB podcast.

Art and Scholasticism

New Podcast! Online Great Books talks Homer’s “The Iliad”

Producer Trent and Scott Hambrick model how our Seminar discussions work as they talk about Homer’s “The Iliad.”