I’ve always been a person who tried to continue learning about new things. Over the years, those, this ended up being a piecemeal effort. When I read books, it was mostly novels. When I read non-fiction, it was often news articles.
Recently, I’ve been taking advantage of a lot of Audible deals. (Editor’s Note: Kosmo admits to his e-content hoarding addiction, but it’s a good thing.) I’d get a couple months free, when a new deal to get a few months and half price, and then later, rinse, repeat. During this time, I realized that I could use audio books to easily consume some non fiction books. I set a goal of 50-75 hours of academic listening per year.
I could have used Ted Talks or even podcasts to achieve this, but I decided that I wanted a fairly deep dive into topics. While poking around on Audible, I found the Great Courses series. For the cost of one Audible credit ($14.95), I can get 12-25 hour lectures on a variety of topics.
Naturally, I started with the Big Bang, in the Big History course. It’s a 24+ hour course that covers time from the Big Bang until modern day. Obviously, this is at a very high level and is looking more at overarching trends than at the details.
With history out of the way, I turned to Genetics and spent 12 hours listening to discussions of things like short tandem repeats. I’ve always had an interest in genetics and read articles on the subject, but I was surprised at how many concepts I was unaware of.
Currently, I’m in the middle of Economic History of the World Since 1400. I’m just about at the point where the printing press has been invented. They voyage to the present day should be interesting.
I’m not the only one who is learning from these lectures. I have two kids, age nine and seven. My nine year old, in particular, tends to listen to the audio books I’m playing in the car. In the past several months, we’ve had discussions about the expansion of the universe, Gregor Mendel’s research on pea plants, Darwin’s theory of evolution, and the attempt of Europeans to find sea routes to Asia. One of these days, I’m going to work with her on some Punnett squares.
Where will our next book take us? I don’t know. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter, it’s about the journey, right?
Editor’s Note: This article is very positive about The Great Courses. Neither me nor Kosmo (to the best of my knowledge) have received any compensation from the company. I have a few of the Audible books from The Great Courses myself, but I haven’t listened to them yet.