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Monday, December 8, 2008

Becoming Less Stupid, Step 1

Twenty years ago a friend introduced me to Mortimer Adler's "How to Read a Book". That led me to "The Great Books of Western Civilization". The idea is now, bizarrely, controversial, but this Wall Street Journal opinion piece describes the idea.

6 comments:

Max Weismann said...

Argumentum ad Hominem

The subtitle should have read, Every Negative Fact and Innuendo I Could Dredge Up

Although he was not particularly unkind to me in the book, I found virtually every page to be a smart-alecky and snide diatribe of the worst order against the Great Books, Adler, Hutchins, et al. Plus the book is replete with errors of commission and omission.

As an effective antidote, I prescribe Robert Hutchins' pithy essay, The Great Conversation.

If the Great Books crusade is as bleak as Beam purports, then happily, not many will read his invective book.

Max Weismann,
President and co-founder with Mortimer Adler, Center for the Study of The Great Ideas
Chairman, The Great Books Academy

Max Weismann said...

We have recently made an exciting discovery--three years after writing the wonderfully expanded third edition of How to Read a Book, Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren made a series of thirteen 14-minute videos on the art of reading. The videos were produced by Encyclopaedia Britannica. For reasons unknown, sometime after their original publication, these videos were lost.

When we discovered them and how intrinsically edifying they are, we negotiated an agreement with Encyclopaedia Britannica to be the exclusive worldwide agent to make them available.

For those of you who teach, this is great for the classroom.

I cannot over exaggerate how instructive these programs are--we are so sure that you will agree, if you are not completely satisfied, we will refund your donation.

Please go here to see a clip and learn more:

http://www.thegreatideas.org/HowToReadABook.htm

Agim Zabeli said...

Mr. Weismann:

I wasn't even thinking in terms of Beam's book. I was simply tickled the WSJ mentioned the GB program and I linked to it for that reason.

I'm flattered you stopped by at my blog.

Rgds, AZ

Max Weismann said...

Hi Agim,

Nice to hear from you, I miss the old days at the Cafe--let's get one going again.

I wasn't even thinking in terms of Beam's book. I was simply tickled the WSJ mentioned the GB program and I linked to it for that reason.

Go here and make a post:

http://www.britannica.com/blogs/2008/12/how-now-great-books/

I'm flattered you stopped by at my blog.

Thank you kindly,

Max

Justice and freedom; discussion and criticism;
intelligence and character--these are the indispensable
ingredients of the democratic state.
We can be rich and powerful without them.
But not for long. --Robert M. Hutchins
-----------------------------------
Center for the Study of The Great Ideas
Founded in 1990 by Mortimer J. Adler and Max Weismann
E-mail: TGIdeas@speedsite.com
Home Page: http://www.thegreatideas.org/
A not-for-profit 501(c)3 educational organization
Donations are tax deductible as the law allows

Agim Zabeli said...

Mr. Weismann: How do I post there? I couldn't tell.

Max Weismann said...

At the bottom of the page, there is a form to leave a comment.