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Scott and Karl read the first volume in the Hardy Boys Mystery Stories, The Tower Treasure. While the book appears to be authored by Franklin W. Dixon, it was actually written for the Stratemeyer Syndicate by Leslie McFarlane in 1927. There's a good chance many of our listeners grew up with Frank and Joe Hardy as literary companions. Tune in for Pa…
 
Scott and Karl finish their discussion of Philip Rieff’s book The Triumph of the Therapeutic: Uses of Faith after Freud. Thanks to Freud, idioms of therapy have successfully invaded the education and religious spheres. Scott says, "If Freudianism is around us and some of his bedrock assumptions are that man is sick because he questions the meaning …
 
Scott and Karl begin discussing Philip Rieff's book The Triumph of the Therapeutic: Uses of Faith after Freud. Published in 1966, the problems that Rieff saw with an increasingly irreligious view of society have only expanded with time. Rieff asks, "The question is no longer as Dostoevsky put it: “Can civilized man believe?” Rather: Can unbelieving…
 
Scott and Karl conclude their discussion of Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter International Book 1. The duo talks about what it takes to write an urban fantasy novel with a coherent worldview. There's great value in reading books that aren't "important." Karl says, "It's not high-brow, it's funny, it's a book you can enjoy because as far as I can tell…
 
Scott and Karl begin their discussion of Larry Correia's Monster Hunter International Book 1. Self-published in 2009, this novel kicks off what will soon be a ten-book series. Scott says, "He manages to write about this world exposing these hidden monsters that seems consonant with the world I see." Monster Hunter International ends up being a caut…
 
Scott and Karl finish their two-part discussion of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust. The legend of a man selling his soul to the devil seems to have particular resonance at times of moral crisis. Regarding modern Faustians and their insatiable appetite for expansion, Karl says, "It's the idea that this is where fulfillment lies that is the proble…
 
Scott and Karl begin their two-part discussion of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust. Faust is highly successful and well-read yet dissatisfied with his life. As the now-legend goes, this leads him to make a pact with the Devil at a crossroads, exchanging his soul for forbidden knowledge. The duo talks about the relationship between good and evil, …
 
This week, Scott and Karl discuss Jordan B. Peterson's Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life. As the companion volume to 12 Rules for Life, Peterson's new book offers "further guidance on the perilous path of modern life." While Scott and Karl agree these are decent, sensible rules for life, they are not well-grounded and possibly even planted in sa…
 
Are we all in despair, whether we know it or not? Scott and Karl discuss S¢ren Kierkegaard’s cheerful little book, The Sickness Unto Death. Published in 1849, Kierkegaard outlines his theory of the self in relation to his categories of despair, wherein despair is a "disease" of the self. For Kierkegaard, an individual is in despair if he does not a…
 
This week, Scott and Karl are joined by special guest Matt Reynolds to discuss Yukio Mishima's book, Sun and Steel. Born into a samurai family, Mishima died by his own hand in 1970, committing seppuku or ritual suicide. While controversial, Mishima is considered one of the most important Japanese authors of the 20th century. Sun and Steel is a memo…
 
Small Is Beautiful is economist E. F. Schumacher’s classic call for the end of excessive consumption. Schumacher offers a crucial message for the modern world struggling to balance economic growth with the human costs of globalization. Scott says, "These problems are going to get a lot closer to our houses in the coming years than anyone is willing…
 
In the second episode of this two-part series, Scott and Karl finish discussing The New World Order by H.G. Wells. Scott says, "There are people that write things that I don't agree with but they hang together and they are internally consistent. Wells is really not." The duo believes there are a huge number of people in the political class of the w…
 
In the first episode of this two-part series, Scott and Karl begin discussing The New World Order by H.G. Wells. Published in January 1940, Wells’s motivation for writing The New World Order was based upon the outbreak of World War II. He proposes a framework of international functionalism that he believes could guide the world towards achieving wo…
 
This week, Scott and Karl read Going Postal by British writer Terry Pratchett, the 33rd book in his Discworld series. The Discworld novels can be read in any order but Going Postal is the first book featuring the character Moist von Lipwig. Moist is a con artist and a fraud and a man faced with a life choice: be hanged, or put the ailing postal ser…
 
This week, Scott and Karl discuss three of Leo Strauss' essays, "On a Forgotten Kind of Writing," "Esoteric Teaching," and "Persecution and the Art of Writing." Published between 1952-54, these works center around the same set of concerns: the relationship between philosophy and politics. In Strauss' view, classic philosophers had to “adapt their l…
 
This week, Scott and Karl read The Moviegoer, Walker Percy's first novel. Awarded the 1962 National Book Award for Fiction, the story follows Binx Bolling, a young New Orleans stockbroker who surveys the world with a removed gaze. Karl says, “There’s a certain type of person that these novels are going to be good for: the kind of detached person, t…
 
This week, Scott and Karl discuss Allan Savory's book Holistic Resource Management. Savory warns that while fossil fuels and livestock grazing are often targeted as major culprits behind climate change and desertification, it's really our mismanagement of resources that pose the biggest threat. Scott says, "If you care about regenerative agricultur…
 
Scott and Karl discuss The Naked Sun, a science fiction novel by American writer Isaac Asimov, the second in his Robot series. Elijah Baley, a detective from Earth, is given a new assignment to investigate the murder of a Spacer (long-lived humans that colonize space) on a distant world called Solaria. Asimov portrays Solaria as a place focused on …
 
This week, Scott and Karl read “Pray Without Ceasing” which is included in Wendell Berry’s collection of short stories That Distant Land. Berry writes about a murder committed in the summer of 1912, 78 years before the narrator learns its details, a crime that has haunted Port William ever since. Still, if you're of the Port William membership, thi…
 
This week, Scott and Karl discuss Albert Z. Carr's 1968 article "Is Business Bluffing Ethical?." Originally published in the Harvard Business Review, the article has become a classic on the subject of business ethics. Mr. Carr was Assistant to the Chairman of the War Production Board during World War II, serving as an economic adviser to President …
 
Scott, Karl, and Trent explore Vince Guaraldi's timeless Christmas album, the soundtrack to "A Charlie Brown Christmas," the 1965 TV special based on Charles Schultz's iconic Peanuts comic strip. At once hopeful and melancholic, Guaraldi's breezy jazz soundscape captures the childhood innocence of the Peanuts cast while lamenting the loss of meanin…
 
This week, we are celebrating our 100th episode of the Online Great Books podcast! Thank you to our listeners and supporters of the show— we appreciate you. To commemorate the occasion, Scott and Karl read the timeless tale, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Most of us know the story from one rendition or another. But have you read the original…
 
This week, Scott and Karl discuss James Madison's Federalist No. 51, titled: "The Structure of the Government Must Furnish the Proper Checks and Balances Between the Different Departments." In this Federalist Paper, Madison explains and defends the checks and balances system in the Constitution. Of its effectiveness, Scott says, "He doesn't make an…
 
This week, Scott and Karl talk about two, while unsuspecting, companion pieces: Thomas Gray’s poem “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” and Norman Rockwell's iconic painting Freedom from Want. Scott says, "They are both about hearth and normal forgotten people." "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” is a 1751 poem about the buried inhabitants …
 
This week, Scott and Karl read the classical epic, The Song of Roland, translated by Dorthy Sayers. The Song of Roland is an 11th-century epic poem based on the Battle of Roncevaux Pass in 778, during the reign of Charlemagne. Although the poem was set in the Carolingian era, The Song of Roland was actually written later by an anonymous poet. Karl …
 
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