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September University: Summoning Passion for an Unfinished Life Paperback – January 21, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


September University is a nourishing feast of a book, replete with reasons to discover new meaning and purpose in the last chapters of your life, to welcome those years as life's most precious gift -- an opportunity to cultivate wisdom and then put it to use in the world.
---- WALTER TRUETT ANDERSON , President Emeritus, World Academy of Art and Science

September University, by leading scholar and visionary Charles Hayes, is a superb intellectual achievement by any standards. With sweeping scope and remarkable depth of knowledge across numerous disciplines, Hayes addresses the totality of the human experience along with neglected questions surrounding life, death, freedom, authenticity, and truth as he paves the way for a genuinely mature future in which citizens discover new degrees of potency and thoughtfulness. Rather than shying away from idealism, September University sets out a bold and timely blueprint for a post-consumer consciousness that is more culturally aware, media literate, and politically astute. Hayes delves with electrifying intelligence into the nature of meaning, identity, and community as he weaves together a comprehensive philosophy that enables people to transcend evolutionary baggage, social indoctrination, and illusions of limitation. September University is one of the finest books in print when it comes to the wisdom and existential bearings required to survive the current age of insanity.
---- JOHN F. SCHUMAKER, author of Happiness: Understanding an Endangered State of Mind, Wings of Illusion and The Age of Insanity

Engaging, convincing, and provocative. Given the collapse of the future most adults thought they had, and the involuntary mandate to shape a new one, September University calls those in the second half of life to step away from superficial things and commit to becoming wise guides for the generations that come after them.
---- DAVID L. SOLIE, MS, PA, Author, How to Say It to Seniors

This is an important work. Wisdom evolves from real life experience and Charles Hayes has both. For those who aspire to a better world, this is a must read.
---- PETER C. WHYBROW, Director of the Semel Institute for Human Behavior at UCLA and author, American Mania: When More is Not Enough

It's not too late to make your mark on the world and enjoy a new level of fulfillment in your life. Charles Hayes will inspire you to muster the courage to do it.
---- JEFF SCHMIDT, author of Disciplined Minds: A Critical Look at Salaried Professionals and the Soul-Battering System That Shapes Their Lives

September University is the first philosophy integrating the university-without-walls and transformative learning - essential reading for learning in the 21st century.
------ DANIEL S. JANIK, MD PhD, author of Unlock the Genius Within: Neurobiological Trauma, Teaching, and Transformative Learning

About the Author

Charles D. Hayes is a self-taught philosopher and one of America s strongest advocates for lifelong learning. He spent his youth in Texas and served as a U.S. Marine and as a police officer before embarking on a career in the oil industry. Alaska has been his home for more than 30 years.

Hayes book Beyond the American Dream: Lifelong Learning and the Search for Meaning in a Postmodern World received recognition by the American Library Association's CHOICE Magazine as one of the most outstanding academic books of the year. His other titles include Existential Aspirations: Reflections of a Self-Taught Philosopher, The Rapture of Maturity: A Legacy of Lifelong Learning, Training Yourself: The 21st Century Credential; Proving You re Qualified: Strategies for Competent People without College Degrees; and Self-University: The Price of Tuition is Desire. Your Degree is a Better Life . His first fiction work is Portals in a Northern Sky.

Promoting the idea that education should be thought of not as something you get but as something you take, Hayes work has been featured in USA Today, in the UTNE Reader, and on National Public Radio s Talk of the Nation and Alaska Public Radio s Talk of Alaska. His web site, provides resources for self-directed learners from advice about credentials to philosophy about the value that lifelong learning brings to everyday living.

A new web site, is devoted to getting a September University movement underway all across America. Visitors are urged to spread the word and encourage others to start their own Sept-U discussion groups. All participants are invited to explore ways to positively approach the cultural obstacles we face through a continual dialog and a tireless quest for the better argument.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Autodidactic Press; 1 edition (January 21, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0962197971
  • ISBN-13: 978-0962197970
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #855,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By wiredweird HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
Hayes starts with a seemingly simple and apparently inarguable premise: that our older citizens represent a potentially invaluable resource and civilizing influence. We (I'm a few years past fifty myself, so I'll include myself in that group) have had plenty of time to understand the errors of our earlier years, and to develop a sense of how our society can and should be. Given our numbers and our experience, Hayes makes clear that we can become a major force for improving society as a whole. Perhaps we even have a moral obligation to return what we spent our earlier lives receiving from society. The role of village elder can't exist in a technological, twenty-first century culture, but our strengths, values, and experience still have all the worth they ever did. In order to make them effective in today's world, Hayes proposes a program of lifelong learning, tailored to and conducted by the lifelong students themselves. That university without walls he calls September University - and it seems remarkably close in spirit to the original colleges that nucleated around like-minded scholars as Europe's Dark Ages started to brighten.

I found this book more thought-provoking than any I've read in ages. Those thoughts lie about evenly balanced between agreement and thorough disagreement. I agree fully adults of all ages should develop their minds, not just to better serve society as a whole but for the simple pleasure of expanding one's horizons. Hayes might have missed an equally important reason for older generations to continue learning. In order to work effectively with the generations twenty years younger, or forty, or more, they must be approached on their own terms.
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Format: Paperback
September University isn't a place. It's a commitment by people in the "September of their lives" to not be drones, but rather to rise to the occasion; to wear the mantle of wise guides; to use their experience and wisdom to steer society toward changes that are sustainable, and beneficial for generations to come. It's about confronting, rather than avoiding big issues like climate change, bigotry, overwhelming debt, racism, homophobia, etc.

Hayes' vision of America in 50 years is intriguing. For instance, he would like to see a country where, among many other goals he lists, the "quality of life is considered more important than the GNP," where "the pursuit of wisdom is more fruitful than the pursuit of happiness," and where "anti-intellectualism is considered an absurd mindset."

What a great America that would be, wouldn't it?

The "acceptance rate" to September University is 100%, and no test scores, gpa, or letters of recommendation required. But that doesn't mean it's easy. Not by any stretch. In fact, September University may be the most demanding university we ever face, even for those who have graduate degrees at conventional universities.

To succeed as as a September University student, you will need a deep commitment to learning, a desire to improve society, a willingness to learn other perspectives, and the integrity to listen, accept criticism, and stay the course to find the best argument, the best ideas, the best solutions.

It's a commitment to play a role in the betterment of humanity. It's a robust alternative to the conventional, trivial, and often self-centered retirement dominated by lunch dates, luxuriating in the hot tub at the gym, ocean cruises, watching the stock ticker, and tee times.
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Format: Paperback
To sum up your entire approach in an equation takes guts, and that is exactly what Charles D. Hayes has plenty of. September University is an aspirational work, based on the author's assumption that "age + curiosity × attitude = a greater quality of life and hope for humanity".

Whether you agree with Hayes' Democratic standpoint or not, September University is bound to arouse the desire of any reader who is thoughtful about their future, and about that of the world around them, to embark on a lively discussion of pertinent topics. His work is wide-ranging in scope, encompassing the fields of culture, economics, education, politics and philosophy. No matter what the issue, he probes it in provocative depth, supporting his arguments by drawing on acknowledged experts in the field. His arguments are based on a pragmatic understanding of the world in which he lives, rather than a manifestation of indulgence in rhetoric for its own sake.

Hayes disputes the value of securing a higher education, when all that emerges from the over-priced traditional system is credentialed individuals who are immediately submerged in a consumer-driven society. In contrast, he urges his readers to consider and be aware of their environs, as well as the hype to which they are made subject on a daily basis. He argues in favor of an existential education, expressing his hope that "this book provides a good start not only in helping you make insightful progress in existential matters, but also in helping you embody the kind of living example that inspires others to do so as well".

Despite the work being largely geared towards a consideration of the developed world, Hayes' consideration of such issues as democracy and culture has a great deal of relevance to those in the developing world as well.
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