Even if you were exposed to classic literature in school, unless you’re a scholar you probably aren’t reading 500-year-old books on a regular basis. But my guest today argues that the Great Books of the Western Canon still have a lot to teach us.
Scott Hambrick is the founder and reader-in-chief at Online Great Books, an online community developing classically educated men and women using the Great Books of Western Civilization.
These books were written one after the other, often in response to each other. So we find that if you start at the beginning, you can follow the thread of thought through Western civilization.”
Scott has been an avid reader and autodidact his entire life. After he and his wife Charity started homeschooling their two daughters, Scott became more rigorous about his own continuing education. This interest lead to the creation of OGB. Through this venture, Scott hopes to introduce tens of thousands of people to the great books of the western world.
In this episode, we talk about why the great books are considered “The Great Books,” why the order in which you read them matters, how these classic works can still be extremely relevant to our lives today, and much more.
By the way, you might recognize Scott’s name from episode #47. when he and Matt Reynolds came on the show to talk about How to Get Strong. It was great to have him on again!
The point of the great books of the Western world isn’t who’s right. The point is making yourself engage with these big ideas, and doing this aided discovery thing where you discover the ideas alongside the people who thought the best thoughts about them.”
- The history of The Great Books Program
- Leveraging the Socratic method and dialectical method of questioning
- Intellectual linear progression
- How reading these books with a group can provide accountability and also increase your enrichment from them
- Why the great books are considered The Great Books
- No one can be taught, you just have to learn
- When you read a book can change what you get from it
- The great books in the Western Canon have something for everybody
- How classic literature can be a great icebreaker/conversation starter
- The social aspect of having a reading group with your guy friends
- It’s not how many books you get through, but how many get through to you
- The Republic, by Plato
- The Iliad, by Homer
- Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius
- The Meno, by Plato
- The Aeneid, by Virgil
- The Oedipus Trilogy, by Sophocles
- Prometheus Bound, by Aeschylus
- The Principia, by Isaac Newton
- Hamlet, by William Shakespeare
- The Catcher in the Rye, by JD Salinger
- The Prince, by Niccolò Machiavelli
- Leviathan, by Thomas Hobbes
- The Federalist Papers and Antifederalist Papers
- Civilization and its Discontents, by Sigmund Freud
- How to Read a Book, by Mortimer Adler
- Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare
- Plutarch’s Lives, by Plutarch