September 25, 2006

Free Resource Highlights: Week 5

We’ve been sending out our “Free Resource of the Day Email” for a number of months now, and we want to share some of the free audio & video titles from past weeks that we have offered. Here are the free resources from Week 5:

Farewell to Baseball Address

All around the country Major League ballparks will be buzzing with as the 2006 baseball playoffs approach. To celebrate this exciting time of the season we bring you (courtesy of American Rhetoric) the farewell address of one of baseball’s finest players ever, Cal Ripken Jr. Ripken played his entire career for the Baltimore Orioles and holds the record for most consecutive games played at 2,632.

Ideas Lecture: Jared Diamond

The authoratitive historian, scientist and best selling author Jared Diamond speaks on the hows and whys of culutral collapse in this amazing lecture released by Australia’s Griffith University.

Diamond showcases compelling examples such as the the Mayan and Roman civilizations, and details what exactly led to their ultimate demise. He also goes on to offer ways in which we as a race can prevent such catastrophes in modern times and why the present is sometimes more important than the future. Timely and wise, this lecture is for anyone interested in how we can take important examples from history and apply them to present-day survival.

The True King: Tolkien and the Medieval

Are you a fan of the recent Lord of the Rings film trilogy? This lecture released by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute serves as a wonderful way you can learn more about LOTR author J.R.R. Tolkien.

Lecturer Bradley J. Birzer discusses the major themes in Tolkien’s work including the onslaught of modernity, the true value of good in the world and the gift of loyalty. Birzer ends with a beautiful description of the character Samwise Gamgee, and how his role in the book serves as a symbol of Tolkien’s belief system in action.


Franz Kafka’s novella is a bonafide 20th century classic about a traveling salesman that wakes up one morning to find his body has been transformed into that of a giant dung beatle. This highly symbolic tale about the plight of the modern working man, human alienation, and the eternal need to fit in has gone on to be Kafka’s signature work.

The audio version is brought to you through Thought Audio, and is narrated in a crisp performance by Michael Scott. If you’ve ever been interested in Kafka or have heard of the story’s premise but never checked it out, now is the time. This book really is as good as everyone says!

September 15, 2006

What Makes a Great Audiobook


I’ve been listening recently to Leadership and Self-Deception and really have been enjoying it. It reminded me a lot of the audiobook for The Goal in that it takes place in the form of a dialogue and the narrator takes on different voices to represent who is talking.

I’ve realized that having some sort of dialogue (like this with a single narrator or a title like Kosmic Consciousness that’s an actual dialogue) seems more engaging (at least to me) than having the traditional model of just having a single narrator reading a book as a monologue.

I’m wondering if that’s one of the reasons why podcasts are becoming so popular. 99% of podcast are of the dialogue variety and I think, in the case of audio, that’s truly what works better. Think of radio shows that are popular (e.g., Howard Stern, Opie & Anthony). Can you imagine how much worse they would be if you were forced to listen to one person the entire time? I think most people would flip the station in a heartbeat regardless of how entertaining that one person was.

Audiobooks are more popular than ever but I think they’ll start to become “mainstream” once audiobook publishers wake up to the fact that most people don’t want to listen to a single voice droning on for hours on end regardless of how good the content or narration is. If audiobook publishers don’t realize this I think their businesses will be increasingly threatened by what’s happening in podcasting.

I find myself listening to more and more podcasts these days and it has little to do with the fact that podcasts are free and audiobooks cost money. Rather it has more to do with the fact that I find the back-and-forth format of most podcasts to be better suited to how I like to consume information. I’m sure it’s different for everyone but I wonder how many audiobook publishers even have this on their radar. If not maybe this will be a little free consulting for them…

September 14, 2006

#30 and Climbing – The Emerson Podcast

RalphWaldoEmersonMan.jpg So our Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson Podcast is getting a lot of buzz this week. It was featured again in the iTunes Podcast Directory, has quickly picked up over two thousand subscribers, and is now the #30 most popular podcast in all of iTunes land (at least as of 9/15/06 6:46 PM PST). This is really sweet. We’d like Ralph Waldo Emerson to top “The Man Show Video Podcast” and we’re not that far away, so if you haven’t subscribed yet please do!

If you haven’t subscribed yet, click here to do so. Then just click on the button to subscribe in iTunes and you’re all set.

September 10, 2006

Free Resource Highlights: Week 4

We’ve been sending out our “Free Resource of the Day Email” for a number of months now, and we want to share some of the free audio & video titles from past weeks that we have offered. Here are the free resources from Week 4:

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Harvard University Commencement Address

This is a free speech that is not to be missed. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (Russian author of the The Gulag Archipelago) delivered the Harvard University Commencement Address in 1978. While in exile from the Soviet Union, he spent a number of years in the United States and this address is his analysis of the Western predicament.

In this comprehensive one hour speech he discusses Western politics, the media, our role in Vietnam, the lack of courage in leadership, Soviet communism, commercialism and materialism, and the spiritual state of Western man. Most of Solzhenitsyn’s criticisms still hold true today. He delivers the speech in Russian and it is simultaneously translated into English. This speech is offered by American Rhetoric and you can download the speech on MP3 or listen to it streaming.

SWSX 2006 Interactive Panel Podcasts

Every spring thousands of people descend on Austin, Texas for the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival and conference. It’s a really cool mix of movies, music and technology and brings a lot of movers and shakers to the area to talk about what’s on the horizon. This year’s keynotes featured luminaries such as Bruce Sterling, Craig Newmark (of Craig’s List fame), Heather Armstrong and Jason Kottke. If you didn’t have a chance to attend this year’s SXSW festival and want to see what all the buzz is about click on the link below for free audio from the keynotes.

Was America Responsible for the Attacks of September 11th?

A bit of a provocative title perhaps but this debate offered from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute really doesn’t cover the September 11th attacks. Instead it is more of an overall debate about whether American power and wealth in the world is generally good or bad.

Dinesh D’Souza, author of What’s So Great About America, argues that the American way of life is superior than other cultures and that we all too often ignore the freedoms and priviledges that make us the envy of the world. Rabbi Michael Lerner argues that the American empire is excessively selfish and greedy, and that our financial and military power has been used to oppress cultures throughout the world. It makes for a very heated and interesting debate. It is available on streaming audio and video as well as on MP3 download.

September 5, 2006

Go Back to School…For Free


Today is “Back to School” day for millions of people. So to celebrate (OK, we realize that many of you probably aren’t celebrating…) we’ve put together a special section on our site stocked with all sorts of free audio and video resources in subjects ranging from American Lit and Astronomy to Physics and Psychology. Whether you’re in school and looking to brush up or out of school and looking to get a little free learning in on the side you’ll find tons of great stuff here.

For the complete list of our new “101 Pages”, click this link. Otherwise if you’re looking for some free stuff just follow the linkies below…

American Lit 101

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Classic Books Alive Podcast
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave
Jay Gatsby and the Myth of American Origins
Song of Myself Selections
Allen Ginsberg Poetry Readings
The Waste Land

Art History 101

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Special Exhibition Podcast
Museum of Modern Art Podcast

Astronomy 101

The Birth and Death of Stars
NASA Astrobiology Magazine Podcast
New Frontiers in Astronomy
Planetary Radio Podcast
Space Exploration: The Next 100 Years

Business 101

A Conversation with Jack Welch
Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Podcast
John Bogle – The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism
Knowledge@Wharton Audio Articles Podcast
Venture Voice Podcast

Creative Writing 101

KPFA’s Cover to Cover with Denny Smithson Podcast
NPR: Books Podcast
Stanford University: Books & Authors
Writing Show Podcast

Economics 101

Economic Analysis – Microeconomics Podcast

The Emergence of China in the Global Economy
The End of Poverty
Ludwig Mises: Mises Institute Lectures
Radio Economics Podcast

English Lit 101

Frankenstein, or Modern Prometheus
The Pilgrim’s Progress
The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner
The Time Machine
A Christmas Carol
The Happy Prince
Robinson Crusoe
Lewis & Tolkien

French 101

Easy French Poetry Podcast
French for Beginners Podcast
The FrenchPodClass Podcast
Learn French by Podcast

History 101

European Civilization from the Renaissance to the Present Podcast
History According to Bob Podcast
Ideas Lecture: Jared Diamond
Napoleon 101 Podcast

Italian 101

LearnItalianPod.com Podcast
Let’s Speak Italian Podcast

Law 101

Georgetown Law – Podcasts
Conversations in Law Podcast
The Law
The Law Report Podcast
Copyright Controversies
Free Culture
The Oyez Supreme Court Podcast

Medical 101

DNA and the Brain – Dr. James Watson speaks at Google
FDA’s Strategies for Improving Health Care
Instant Anatomy Podcast
Introduction to Human Nutrition Podcast
NEJM This Week Podcast
Sound Medicine Podcast

Philosophy 101

Zaadz Notes: Marcus Aurelius
The Apology of Socrates
Existentialism in Literature and Film Podcast
The Philosopher’s Zone Podcast
Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Physics 101

Descriptive Introduction to Physics Podcast
Einstein’s Miraculous Year
Introductory Physics Podcast
New Queries
Quirks and Quarks from CBC Radio Podcast

Poli Sci 101

The Law
Civil Disobedience
Common Sense
Popular Government
The Role of Government in our Society
Speeches Free Audio & Video
Constitutional Conversations Podcast
The Founding Documents Podcast
Undergraduate Colloquium on Political Science Podcast
The Communist Manifesto

Psychology 101

Clinical Psychology Podcast
All In the Mind Podcast
Evil, the Self and Survival, with Robert Jay Lifton
Shrink Rap Radio – A Psychology Talk and Interview Podcast
Ten Days in a Madhouse
Architecture of the Brain

Spanish 101

Insta Spanish Podcast
Rolling R’s: Free Spanish Lesson Video Podcast
Trying To Learn Spanish Podcast

U.S. History 101

Constitutional Conversations Podcast
The Founding Documents Podcast
The Gettysburg Address
In Depth: H.W. Brands
World War II Audio: 1941-1944

World Religions 101

Bill Moyers on Faith & Reason – PBS Podcast

Crash Course on Jewish History
The Nature of Islam
Zencast Podcast

Happy “studying” from all of us at LearnOutLoud!

September 1, 2006

#85 and Climbing – The Emerson Podcast


So our Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson Podcast is getting a lot of buzz this week. It was featured in the iTunes Podcast Directory in the Literature category, quickly picked up several hundred new subscribers and is now the #85 most popular podcast in all of iTunes land (at least as of 12:22 AM PST). This is really sweet. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say that it’s probably one of the most intellectual podcasts that’s ever been in the Top 100. Of course that’s not saying all that much considering that we’re currently sharing Top 100 time with the MuggleCast (Harry Potter), The Hills Video Podcast (my gosh I do love that show though…) and my personal favorite Ask a Ninja (love that one too!!!).

If you haven’t subscribed yet, just click here to do so. Then just click on the button to subscribe in iTunes and you’re all set.

Long live Emerson.