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March 9, 2007

Top 25 Free Resources

We've been sending out our Free Resource of the Day Emails for one year now. If you've not subscribed yet, we highly encourage you to do so. Who knows what magnificent free audio & video learning resources we'll dig up in the next year!

Here's a top 25 list we threw together of the best of the best that we've featured in the last year:

25. Consider the Lobster

In this essay, offered for free on download from Audible.com, author David Foster Wallace shares his observations on the Maine Lobster Festival. Although written for Gourmet Magazine, Wallace's essay is far from your typical culinary writing.

It contains amusing observations on the not-so-well-known history of lobster-eating, the obnoxiousness of American tourist attractions, and the ethics of boiling lobsters alive. Wallace reads the essay himself and he even worked out a way to fit in audio footnotes by changing the quality of the recording. It's a fun listen.

24. Decadence: Ancient and Modern

In this online audio lecture, Russell Kirk, author of The Conservative Mind, compares the decadence of our time to the decadence of the Greek and Roman civilizations that preceded us. Kirk tosses in a plethora of references to ancient cultures and it's an amusing and interesting lecture.

23. Metamorphosis

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!

22. Eleanor Roosevelt: Address to the United Nations General Assembly on the Adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948 and ratified by 48 nations. In this speech delivered by the former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, she lays out the aspirations of the declaration with the hope that it will become the "international Magna Carta".

She emphasizes that the declaration is not a binding treaty or law, but rather a moral standard of achievement for all nations concerning basic principles of human rights and freedoms. This speech is available on MP3 download, streaming audio, and streaming video from AmericanRhetoric.com.

21. Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times

In this lecture from the Miller Center of Public Affairs, H.W. Brands lectures on his latest book Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times. Professor Brands focuses on the way that American public opinion regarding Andrew Jackson has changed since Jackson was thought of as "the hero" of his day to his demonization in contemporary America for his policies such as Indian removal.

Brands probes deeper into the character of Jackson, pointing out his admirable qualities and crediting Jackson for twice saving the Union. This lecture is available on MP3 download.

20. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Here's a great short story you can listen to. It is written by Washington Irving, one of the first acclaimed American authors. It tells the tale of a Dutch settlement called Sleepy Hollow which is haunted by the legend of a Headless Horseman. This story is read by Chip at LibriVox and his narration if magnificent. It's available on MP3 Download.

19. Cornel West with Amy Goodman: Lannan Readings & Conversations

In this inspiring oration from the Lannan Foundation, African American intellectual Cornel West calls for revival in America's democratic tradition which draws on our religious, philosophical, and literary history. This speech demonstrates West's charismatic speaking talent in the tradition of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. This talk is available on streaming audio.

18. Yes You Can

In this free downloadable audio program author and motivational speaker Jim Donovan demonstrates in dozens of ways how our thoughts become the outcomes of our life. Through positively shifting what our focus is we inevitably move toward our goals and become happier, healthier, and wealthier. This motivational program is available on MP3 digital download through LearnOutLoud.com.

17. The Age of Innocence Podcast

Listen to Edith Wharton's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Age of Innocence. Brenda Dayne has narrated a very fine unabridged recording of the book and put it out in its entirety as a podcast. Immerse yourself into the upper class of New York City, in an age when "being things" was better than "doing things". Enjoy!

16. The Nature of Islam

In this streaming audio discussion offered by Boston University's World of Ideas forum, spokesman for Islam, Christianity and Judaism convene to examine the modern misconceptions of Islam in the wake of 9/11. Each pundit is given equal footing on hot topic issues such as Islam's concept of Jihad, Martyrdom, Women's rights, Religious Tolerance and other explosive issues that have become part of everyday news.

Join these three men of faith as they work to find common ground on what binds their separate religions, and work to illuminate misunderstandings that could potentially tear the world apart.

15. In Depth: Tom Wolfe

In this streaming video from C-SPAN's BookTV, Tom Wolfe talks about his career as writer from The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby which he wrote back in the 1960s all the way up to his latest novel I Am Charlotte Simmons which explores the college campus life in the present day. He fields call-in questions from people across the United States and tells us the secrets of his craft. Indeed, no writer today is as fun to listen to as Tom Wolfe.

14. Alan Watts Podcast

We're highlighting the Alan Watts Podcast which features recordings of one of the great western interpreters of Eastern religion: Alan Watts. If you've never heard Alan Watts lectures before, please do yourself a favor and listen to this podcast.

13. The Law

Frederic Bastiat's "The Law" produced by FreeAudio.org is one of the best free audio books available. Bastiat's brief treatise on law is a passionate cry for his belief that law should only be put in place to maintain life, liberty, and property. He denounces legislators and philosophers who seek legalized plunder, moral coercion, and numerous other methods of force through law which encroach on liberties.

The production quality is professional and Marvin Payne's narration is superb. You can download this title through LearnOutLoud.com on MP3 or MPEG-4 (if you want to bookmark it in your iPod).

12. 50 Things I'm Going To Do Today

One of our all-time favorite audio downloads is 50 Things I'm Going to Do Today. Written and narrated by Brian Johnson, CEO of Zaadz, Inc., "50 Things" is a great collection of tips to live your life by. Ranging from "Hit The Rock" and "Pay Your Bills with a Smile" to "Act 'As If'" and "Embrace Opposites," you're in for a real treat if you haven't listened to this already. And if you have it's probably time for another listen. Enjoy!

11. Existentialism in Literature and Film Podcast

We're featuring a full course from the University of California-Berkeley entitled "Existentialism in Literature and Film". The "Existentialism in Literature and Film" course, taught by professor Hubert L. Dreyfus, cuts right to the roots of existentialist thought, looking at the works of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, and examining Dostoyevsky's Brothers Karamazov in depth. It's an excellent philosophy course and it's free!

10. Extraordinary Leadership

LearnOutLoud.com is exclusively offering a free audio book to you by Robin Sharma, author of the bestselling book The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.

The title we're offering is called Extraordinary Leadership, and this inspirational program is aimed at bringing out the leader in all of us. Sharma fills this audio book with anecdotes and words of wisdom regarding what it takes to be a great leader in all aspects of life. Extraordinary Leadership is available from LearnOutLoud.com on MP3 Download.

9. 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.

8. The Origin of the Human Mind

In this streaming UCTV video Lecture, cognitive scientist Martin Sereno gives us a survey of the brain's evolution. With thorough visual aids, Sereno examines the difference between the human brain and that of other species, showcasing experiments he has conducted that have helped broaden our understanding of the physical mechanics behind human thought.

The biggest question he poses is why our minds are so special, when organically the human brain is 99% similar to that of the primates. Learn why size doesn't matter when it comes to brain power!

7. The King James Version Bible

The Bible is the #1 selling book of all time. If you've been wanting to listen to an audio version the good folks at Audio Treasure would like to treat you to a free one. You can listen on their website or download to put on your mp3 player. It's great for moments when you need a little inspiration!

6. History According to Bob Podcast

For two years, Bob Packett has serviced the world with his podcast, History According to Bob. This retired history professor operating out of Kansas explores a large canvas - from the smallest historical artifacts to decade- spanning cultural upheaval- with the sort of down- home, approachable style that is the earmark of a great teacher.

5. Introduction to Your Mind: Two Guided Meditations

Before you plunge into action, start things off with these two free guided meditations. They were published by Mi Ka El Mindchanger through our TeachOutLoud self-publishing tool. Through these two 10-minute meditations Mi Ka El leads you through the practice of mindfulness meditation with insights on how to transcend your thoughts & feelings and come into awareness of your true Self.

These excellent meditations can be downloaded on MP3 through LearnOutLoud.com and listened to again and again. Thanks Mi Ka El for this great free resource!

4. Tolstoy On Death: The Death of Ivan Ilyich & Master Man

Death is certainly a bit of a morbid subject but often the lessons of death teach us how to live life more fully. These two short novels offer a lot of food for thought. They are a bit of "heavy listening" but offer spiritual encouragement for all of us. Thanks to the gang over at ChristianAudio for making these free audiobooks available through LearnOutLoud.com.

3. TEDTalks Podcast

We're highlighting the TEDTalks Podcast which features key talks from the TED Conference covering the latest ideas in Technology, Entertainment, Design, Business, Science, and other areas. Now on their podcast feed they feature Al Gore delivering jokes and ways to help save the planet, Tony Robbins telling what drives him and discussing the 4 basic human needs, and many other interesting speakers. They're featuring new talks every week so you may want to subscribe to this one.

2. The Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson Podcast

This year LearnOutLoud.com launched "The Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson Podcast" and we were featured in iTunes many times in the past year for it.

It's an excellent podcast which features a classic essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson every week. We're always recording more Emerson essays including many that've never been on audio before so please subscribe!

1. I Have a Dream Audio and Video

From our very first edition of the Resource of the Day e-mail, we wanted to start out with a special one. One of our favorite free titles in the directory is Martin Luther King, Jr.'s classic "I Have a Dream" speech. Delivered on August 28th, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., King's passionate call for justice and equality was the battle cry for the civil rights movement in America. Choose from an audio version of the speech from American Rhetoric or watch the streaming video.