OnlineGreatBooks Podcast

The Online Great Books Podcast

#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 [...]

#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,” [...]

#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 [...]

#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 [...]

#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 [...]

#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? [...]

#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. [...]

#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 [...]

#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 [...]

#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 [...]

#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, [...]

#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 [...]

#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 [...]

#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. [...]

#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 [...]

#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 [...]

#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.

#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.

#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.

#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 [...]

#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 [...]

#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 [...]

#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 [...]

#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 [...]

#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 [...]

#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 [...]

#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 [...]

#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 [...]

#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 [...]

#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 [...]

#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 [...]

#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 [...]

#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 [...]

#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 [...]

#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 [...]

#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 [...]

#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 [...]

#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, [...]

#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 [...]

#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, [...]

#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. [...]

#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 [...]

#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 [...]

#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 [...]

#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, [...]

#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 [...]

#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 [...]

#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 [...]

#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 [...]

#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 [...]

#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, [...]

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.

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.”