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The Intellectual Devotional Modern Culture: Revive Your Mind, Complete Your Education, and Converse Confidently with the Culturati Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 14, 2008
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About the Author
Using a framework borrowed from religion, the devotional, this collection of 365 short intellectual topics is intended to refresh the mind daily for a full year. Most listeners will enjoy multiple segments at a sitting because they become addictive once their richness becomes obvious. The authors draw from seven fields of knowledge--history, literature, philosophy, mathematics and science, religion, fine arts, and music--and their choices are impressive for their range and depth. The two narrators, Helen Litchfield and Oliver Wyman, could not be better suited to this endeavor. As they mostly alternate entire segments, the contrast of tone and personality will keep listeners' attention stirred but not shaken. Their performances are so sturdy and appropriate that most people won't even be aware of the extraordinary talent and professionalism they embody. T.W. 2009 Audies Finalist © AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
I'm pleasantly surprised by how the good this book is. Having only one page per topic is of course still a serious limitation, but the authors make efficient use of each page and do about as good a job as anyone could. The range of topics is broad and interesting, the information is (almost always) accurate, the insights are useful and sometimes impressive, and the overall writing quality is consistently high.
As other reviewers have noted, one flaw of the book is that the font size is too small, and I'm surprised that the editors let that go through. It wasn't really a problem for me, but it may be a fatal flaw for readers with vision problems.
Another semi-criticism is that it's not clear that this book is ideally suited for any particular audience. For readers who aren't already well read, the fragmented and jumping-around format of the book may inhibit understanding and retention (but of course the book can be read more than once to help remedy that). And for readers who are already well read, the book will be more of a review, so they may not learn much, although I did manage to pick up some useful new tidbits despite extensive prior reading on many topics.
Even with the caveats noted above, I still definitely recommend this book to readers who are oriented towards broad generalist learning. The book is a quality resource for that purpose, and there aren't many alternatives to choose from (The Bedside Baccalaureate: A Handy Daily Cerebral Primer to Fill in the Gaps, Refresh Your Knowledge & Impress Yourself & Other Intellectuals is another good choice).
365 insights into historical events and people who shape or add to the tapestry that is the United states. Great conversation starters or, should someone mention a historical figure you will at least be able to say "Oh yeah, the guy who wrote the National Anthem right?"
If you read one page a day, one year later you will probably have learned a few things you didn't already know. Also, these pages serve as good triggers, if your intellect is aroused, into further research.
I enjoyed reading the pages, they are concise, and highlight the element(s) of the person that has them suspended in history.
Well worth your time.