Thomas E. Woods, Jr., is the New York Times bestselling author of 11 books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History and Meltdown (on the financial crisis). A senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Woods has appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, FOX News, FOX Business, C-SPAN, Bloomberg Television, and hundreds of radio programs... (Read More)

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Read the Great Books a Little at a Time

11th January 2013      by: Tom Woods     

It’d be great (by definition) to read the Great Books of Western civilization, but even the relatively small percentage of people who aspire to such a goal doubtless find the task daunting. Professor Jason Jewell devised a plan to read them all over a seven-year period and comment on them on his blog. He just finished year two. It’s never too late to join him. Every week on his blog he identifies exactly what he will be reading, and the following Monday he comments on it.

He’s a very smart guy, which is why I nabbed him to teach the Western civilization courses (he recorded 84 lectures!) at my Liberty Classroom.

Unlearn the Propaganda!

  • http://www.facebook.com/bmacgowen Benjamin MacGowen

    Re: reading the great books of western civilization. As a “regular man” on the street, I have also been moved to such an undertaking. My wife received as a gift a complete set(50 books) of The Harvard Classics published in the early 20th century. The gift was received in 1978 from an elderly lady in a nursing home where she worked. We met at college, and the volumes sat untouched on our shelves from 1981 to 2009. The titles are fantastic, a real treasure trove, but it will be a real accomplishment if I do finish. In the meantime, my eyes are being opened to the great loss we have suffered with the death of liberal classical education. I pray that any effort I can make going forward might preserve a spark to help rekindle that firey passion for great books, academic pursuit and critical thought once again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/William-Schooler/100003032488972 William Schooler

    Something I agree with Tom because the ones I have read take months with dictionary time, investigation time and to get a real good grip of what that one writer was really imagining and documenting.

    The problem I see, is so many want to word for word and THINK they know it. That we can go to classes to think exactly like another or follow some idea and THINK it is some authority.

    Yet most well versed in some subject lay down more laws or limits or rules because they THINK it must be some certain way.

    Free is an act not written, not limited by, not ruled over nor authorized, It is very free discovered by lots of testing and lots of lessons. We could spend a whole life time and read all the books there are and still be entirely stupid of freedom.

    Even nullification by some is a set of procedures to follow yet a free person can simply decide to nullify or get away from or become free of obtrusive acts against freedom itself.

    I really wish we would reduce all these books after all it was ideas that trapped us and not the act of freedom by living outside such limits.

    Even Capitalism is a very limited view and is best described as Capital=you and ism=them and their limited capacity by definition.

  • Liberty classroom student

    Jason is an excellent lecturer. He covers western history not just in terms of wars and dates, he also give the background of the prevailing cultures, philosophy, economics and religion that shapes the times.
    IF you haven’t signed up for Liberty Classroom yet I highly recommend it.

  • Christopher Ely

    For Christmas my wife gave me a complete 60 volume second edition set of the Great Books. Yep, she is a great wife. I have read some of the works and I am looking forward to the rest. These books are a treasure of information.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/William-Schooler/100003032488972 William Schooler

    I like that, as a “regular man”, what does that mean? Are you a producing individual? Some where there has to be a balance and yes there are some good books out there but how many bad ones did you weed through to find the one? Some writers write so poorly it takes me forever and day pilfering through the dictionary unless I am uninterested then I drop it an move on.

    But here is the part that gets me, we spend tons of time producing, we spend tons of time reviewing history but when do we spend any time creating today preparing for tomorrow? How do we build a history by our own examples if we are stuck on the history of those before us? How do we find out what people are actually thinking today if there only look at yesterday?

  • Laura

    Great idea but its hard enough just keeping up with the Liberty class!

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