It's a significant time commitment, but do not be deterred by this.
There is much to say, but to borrow from Protagoras, given the "shortness of human life" I'll just say that for anyone interested in the story of who we are, and how we've come to be this way, this belongs in your library.
I'd say this is the most helpful book I've found on the question of how our civilization has come to be the way it is. The book itself is magnificent, the author is, well, authoritative, and the narrator seemed to me to be exceptionally well suited to this material.
Durant is quick to point out that much of history is guessing, and the rest is prejudice, and attempts at several points throughout the book to delineate when he is venturing into what he sometimes calls the "mists of history" whose factual basis may be further solidified under further archeological progress or other research, or may not ever be further solidified. Some of what is dealt with in this book goes back to what little information we have and what we may or may not infer about the civilization (or at least the beginnings of it) that Cro-Magnon Man had. Yes we are well into the mists of history there, but there is some precious little that we do know, and some extrapolation from the available data makes for a very compelling picture.
It took me a very long time to finish this one, but I wanted to take my time with it. Also very early on in the listening I decided to purchase a paper copy of the 11 volume set (of which this book is volume 1).
If you ever wonder how our civilization came to be the way it is, and what forces drove that, this is a book well worth the (50 hour!) time investment. I will insist that my son read this.
There is much to say here but I'll limit myself to a brief review. First off, the discussion on cognitive bias alone was worth the price of admission in my opinion. Much more to this series than that though. I intend to listen again. Very interesting from a professional perspective but also I believe these concepts apply to the decisions we make in our personal lives as well.
I found this series of lectures to be loaded with practical information and general guidance. I wouldn't characterize it as a "how to" manual, but more of a synopsis of what studies have to say about what works with children.
There was a good amount of time spent on the Montessori methods, how they were developed and what science (very recently) has to say about what this brilliant lady came up with a long time ago. Also gives some general guidance on how to verify that a school really practices that way or if it just has the Montessori sign out front.
It also does a good job balancing all of this concern for optimizing learning and development in children with the common sense observation (again, backed up by science, and again, only very recently) that kids need a certain amount of time for just plain old play.
Lots of other tips that may seem small but could turn out to be significant and not the kind of thing I would have ever thought of. For example, when kids do well at something, it's apparently better to praise their efforts than to praise their smarts or other innate abilities (i.e., "you worked hard on that, it worked out great, and I'm proud of you" is apparently much better vs. "Look at how well you did on that - I'm so proud of what a smart fellow you are"). Lots of little tips like that caused me to make adjustments to my approach/style on certain things. Has to do with what they call attribution style. Interesting stuff.
These are some of the elements that stood out in my mind. As a parent I'm glad I listened to it, and would recommend it to other parents.
I'd return this if I could... it seems that I waited too long on that one.
I found these lectures to be both informative and inspiring. Professor Sugrue clearly has spent a lot of time and effort thinking about these Dialogues and acts as a tour guide through them, highlighting (as he says) not only the architecture of each dialogue, but the layout of all the dialogues and how the relationship between them forms a superstructure (or a campus) where the buildings are and are connected to each other in a way that is also meaningful.
I learned a lot listening to the lectures, and I will definitely listen to them again. But I would say the main thing I got from this lecture series was the inspiration to go and read the Dialogues for myself. I doubt that I'm going to read all 1600 pages of them,but have already read a few. I've observed that with these lectures as background I pulled much more meaning out of the reading than I otherwise would have.
I will definitely listen to this again, and would also be on the lookout for other lectures by Professor Sugrue.
I'd highly recommend this book. The Old Testament is one of those books that one really should seek to understand, whether or not it has anything to do with your own personal faith (or lack thereof).
It is a very foundational book for a large portion of the earth's people. It is so intimately present in so much of western literature and thought that a person living in the west should really try to understand this work at some level.
The approach followed by the professor is very analytical, but not the least bit cold. She is trying to place the various stories along the historical timeline, and glean insight into the various authors and what the culture was going through at the various times and how this influenced the writing by various techniques. Very interesting parallels are revealed between for example the creation myth in the OT vs. the creation myths of other cultures at about the same time period.
No... nothing like that. This book was more of an intellectual thing than emotional. For me at least it was. I suppose it would be that way for most listeners.
Listened to it twice so far, and definitely plan to go back to listen again.
Yes. I've read the paper version of this book a few times and have an old marked up and underlined copy on the bookshelf. Having it in audio version now is a great addition. It is one of those books you just go back to from time to time.
I don't know if I'd say that there was any particularly memorable moment. It's more of a steady stream of wisdom and perspective from a guy with more than his fair share of both.
The book did not call for a very dramatic reading or anything like that. I would say the reader's job here was not so much to bring some story to life as it was to not get in the way of the content, and this reader was very good.
Thoughts for Daily Living, or maybe... A Manual for Bringing Order to One's Soul
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