Thursday, October 20, 2011

Great Courses by The Teaching Company

This might sound like a paid advertisement, but it is not. I am just a consumer who's always been impressed with The Teaching Company's products.

This company produces quite a number of audio and video courses under its Great Courses series. I have listened to and watched several full courses. They take time, but they are invariably excellent, no exceptions.

It turns out that I have been using their products for over 10 years now, but I only started to pay attention when Bill Gates mentioned them by name, in his GatesNotes blog. I had been searching for around 3 years for a macro-economics book whose material would be accessible to me. Bill Gates recommended a macro-economics series by Timothy Taylor titled America and the New Global Economy. This course came the closest to what I was looking for. My wife and I watched all 36 episodes earlier this year.

Bill Gates also recommended the "Big History" course by Oxford's David Christian and we are watching parts of it now. I don't have the words to describe how good this course is. (Bill calls it "his most favorite course" by TTC.)

As an aside, I am delighted (and grateful) that someone with my modest means can get to enjoy the exact same products that Gates with his purchasing power can.

If TED talks are fast food for our brains, then the Great Lectures are the healthy gourmet meal plans for our intellects.

Most of these DVD set costs several hundred dollars, but I am also seeing quite a few for under $40. Personally, I have always borrowed these from the libraries. Do check them out from your library and give it a try.

Each episode of any Teaching Company disk that I watch serves to remind me of why I should always chose time over everything else -- time to spend viewing the Great Courses.