Regular price: $49.94

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

In How to Think: The Liberal Arts and Their Enduring Value, Professor Michael D. C. Drout gives an impassioned defense and celebration of the value of the liberal arts. Charting the evolution of the liberal arts from their roots in the educational system of Ancient Rome through the Middle Ages and to the present day, Drout shows how the liberal arts have consistently been "the tools to rule", essential to the education of the leaders of society. Offering a reasoned defense of their continuing value, Drout also provides suggestions for improving the state of the liberal arts in contemporary society.

©2013 Michael D.C. Drout (P)2013 Crescite Group, LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    50
  • 4 Stars
    31
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    58
  • 4 Stars
    12
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    43
  • 4 Stars
    18
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    2
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A defense of the Liberal Arts

If you've heard any of Drout's other lecture series, or even just read their customer reviews, you know that Drout is one of the best lecturers available on Audible. In my opinion, this series is every bit as good as his others, both in content and presentation. Drout is, as always, engaging, erudite, thought-provoking, and funny. Maybe the subject matter doesn't have as broad an appeal, but if you're actually interested in a discussion, defense, or critique of the liberal arts, this is a good one.

In case it needs to be said, pay attention to the subtitle and the description, not just the title. Here's a description of the eight individual lectures:

Lecture 1: Where the Liberal Arts came from. Lecture 2: How the sciences split off from the liberal arts. Lecture 3: The liberal arts as "the tools to rule." Lecture 4: Can the liberal arts make you a better person? Lecture 5: The best reasons for studying the liberal arts: Solving complex problems, and preserving and transmitting culture. Lecture 6: Case study: Beowulf. Lecture 7: What's wrong with the liberal arts, and how to fix it. Lecture 8: Answering the critics of the liberal arts.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A Passionate Defense of the Liberal Arts

Prof. Drout is an enthusiastic speaker, and his passion for the liberal arts comes through in this lecture series. His insights on how to connect the past to the modern world are thought-provoking, to say the least. Admittedly, he's already preaching to the converted on this one, but I always welcome a solid, concrete argument for preserving and studying the liberal arts vs. the somewhat ethereal and half-baked ideas I sometimes hear. If this is a topic you're inclined to look into, this series is most definitely worth your time and attention.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

11 out of 12 ain't bad

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I surmise that this course seemed interesting in preparation, but in the presentation, the material falls flat.

What was most disappointing about Professor Michael D. C. Drout’s story?

The material is just not compelling. True as it is, this material sounds like it is more suited for a peer conference where humanities grad students can come and get some good talking points for why their disciplines matter. As a general course, it fails to inspire.

Would you be willing to try another one of Professor Michael D. C. Drout’s performances?

Always!

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The redeeming quality is that even when Drout fails to engage me, he is still very enjoyable--and erudite.

Any additional comments?

Don't let this negative review keep you from trying any of Drout's other courses, especially Way With Words (the first one), Anglo-Saxon History, and History of English Language. Drout is a really fine teacher and his other courses are very inspiring. He is one of the Modern Scholars' most popular presenters for a reason.

12 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great for me

I listened to it twice, the second time was much better. Finally I have a clearer understanding of the term "liberal arts," its purpose and utility. I will listen to it again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great lecture

The first audiobook that I've finally finished. I'm gonna listen over and over again at this outstanding lecture on this serious topic.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Single extended argument, but a good one

Drout does a good job of sticking to a single issue--why the liberal arts are worth your time. He does a capsule history of the liberal arts, but the real meat is in his examples. Beowulf gets an extended treatment at the heart of the argument.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

I can't get enough of Professor Drout!

What made the experience of listening to Modern Scholar: How to Think the most enjoyable?

There is something so satisfying about how Drout teaches you while teaching you. He takes the information he's sharing, throws in historical representations os the data and then rounds it out with full explanations of every bit of information he shares (even adding defining comments at the ends seemingly random rabbit holes and tangents). I'm always as amazed as I am enlightened.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Performance was a bit too loose.

I really enjoyed the argument and found the author's general ideas and conclusions to be interesting and valuable. I found his spoken lecture to be too loose for my taste, though. It could just be bad timing; I just finished listening to a Modern Scholar lecture on the history of China and East Asian civilization, and the lecturer was one of the best I've been heard. I appreciated Professor Drout's ideas, but I think his speech wasn't as well prepared or organized as it could have been.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Frustrating

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

See below

Has Modern Scholar: How to Think turned you off from other books in this genre?

No

What three words best describe Professor Michael D. C. Drout’s voice?

OK but not the gravitas of a Schutt or a Kreeft.

What character would you cut from Modern Scholar: How to Think?

NA

Any additional comments?

I'm an advocate of the Liberal Arts (LA) and that's why I was shocked that this lecture series actually made me question that.<br/><br/>I came into this audiobook needing no convincing of the value of LA (to individuals and to society) but was really just looking for some additional inspiration. The audio failed in that regard; it sounds like the standard routines a LA teacher would give to skeptical parents who don't want to spend money on their child's college tuition at LA college.<br/><br/>If you know some thing about, and see the value in, the LA, don't waste your money on this course.<br/><br/>I hate to say it, but as a top level demonstration of LA in action (it should be right, he's the Professor?) then it was a poor advertisement; the rhetoric was weak and the entire lecture series felt like an over confident sophomore's monologue in the cafeteria.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Excellent!!!!!!

Excellent listen. Amazing was the experience that I encountered as Professor Michael D. C. Drout navigated the subject!!!!!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Lynn
  • 08-02-13

Not quite!

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Professor Drout takes up a critical issue- the value of a liberal arts education. He looks at common critiques and does a good job of evaluating both sides of each argument. His most exceptional lecture by a large margin is 'what is wrong with the liberal arts and how to fix it'. It is worth purchasing this lecture series just to listen to this brilliant analysis of how political and social orthodoxy within the liberal arts academy have contributed to making liberal arts scholarship stagnant, if not in some cases moribund.The weakness in Drout's lecture series, however, is that he fails to make a convincing case for the importance of a liberal arts education. He argues that it gives graduates 'the tools to rule' (be good leaders and managers) and the skills to solve or at least wrestle with complex problems, but he fails to really explain how a liberal arts education can lead to these outcomes. His main case study is that of the old English epic poem Beowulf....he demonstrates how a deep understanding of this work requires a rich background in history, language and literary criticism, in addition to well developed research and analysis skills and a multi- disciplinary perspective...all knowledge and skills developed in a liberal arts degree programme. However, what is missing is the link between having these critical skills and the solving of ( or mitigating of) complex modern political, economic and social problems. He asserts the link but does not make a sufficient or strong enough argument to convince listeners of the true value of the liberal arts. In some ways he does what he criticises other liberal arts scholars of doing.....making strong assertions with insufficient empirical evidence. Without a shadow of a doubt, a broad based, well taught liberal arts education is the best way to develop critical thinking skills, cultural awareness, self - awareness, confidence, and problem solving abilities.....I just wish Professor Drout had done a better job of explaining and demonstrating why this is the case.Lots of good food for thought though.

Do you think Modern Scholar: How to Think needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

A follow-up lecture series would help make a stronger case.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful