Series offers 'Great Courses' on various topics—October 10, 2008
Are you like me and many others, when someone mentions “economics” or “the theory of relativity” your eyes glaze over because you don’t really understand what it all means and how it affects you? The library has just the answer – a “Great Courses” CD and DVD series.
Considering the state of the world economy maybe it’s time we all took a short course in economics. As workers, savers and consumers we are all economists, so says Timothy Taylor the author of “Economics,” presented in 36 30-minute lectures. Don’t let the word “lectures” turn you off, they’re designed for the non-academic person with lay person’s language and simple explanations. Also, the 30-minute segments are short enough for the listener to absorb all the information easily or listen to it again to catch something you missed. Taylor, realizing how deadly dull economics can be to the non economist, injects humor into his lectures. A companion book that contains a summary of each CD, charts and diagrams and a glossary is also available.
Once you master Economics you can go on to other titles in the series.
In “The History of Ancient Egypt,” Bob Brier deciphers the many mysteries of this ancient culture.He discusses the Rosetta Stone, Egyptian architecture, their knowledge of medicine and mummification, art, the dynasties and their rulers.
Thomas Noble walks the listener through geography, philosophy, government, art, architecture and literature in “The Foundations of Western Civilization.” He provides an expansive overview of civilization from the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates to the Spanish and Portuguese global explorations and discoveries.
“The History of the United States” isn’t a short course in United States history, but one that chronicles the people, ideas and events from the early settlers to the beginning of the 21st century. Sometimes one gains a new appreciation of one’s heritage by stepping back and taking an in depth look at the history of one’s country.
Perhaps at no other time in history has it seemed important to understand not only our own religion but also those of others. “Great World Religions” examines the five major religions --
Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism.
I’ll leave it to Professor Richard Wolfson to prove that “It doesn’t take an Einstein to understand modern physics” as he states in the introduction to “Einstein’s Relativity and the Quantum Revolution.” Because this course might be better understood visually it is on 4 DVDs. I’m eager to try this one because science has never been my strong suit.
Another course that lends itself to a visual representation is “Great Authors of the Western Literary Tradition.” As you sample masterpieces that range from the book of Genesis and “The Canterbury Tales” to Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn” you begin to see the connections between periods and genres.
These “Great Courses” are an easy, inexpensive way to learn at your own leisure. Expand your world at the Hastings Public Library.