Modern Scholar: How to Think

  • by Professor Michael D. C. Drout
  • Narrated by Professor Michael D. C. Drout
  • 5 hrs and 14 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

In How to Think: The Liberal Arts and Their Enduring Value, Professor Michael D. C. Drout gives an impassioned defense and celebration of the value of the liberal arts. Charting the evolution of the liberal arts from their roots in the educational system of Ancient Rome through the Middle Ages and to the present day, Drout shows how the liberal arts have consistently been "the tools to rule", essential to the education of the leaders of society. Offering a reasoned defense of their continuing value, Drout also provides suggestions for improving the state of the liberal arts in contemporary society.

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Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Professor Drout takes up a critical issue- the value of a liberal arts education. He looks at common critiques and does a good job of evaluating both sides of each argument. His most exceptional lecture by a large margin is 'what is wrong with the liberal arts and how to fix it'. It is worth purchasing this lecture series just to listen to this brilliant analysis of how political and social orthodoxy within the liberal arts academy have contributed to making liberal arts scholarship stagnant, if not in some cases moribund.The weakness in Drout's lecture series, however, is that he fails to make a convincing case for the importance of a liberal arts education. He argues that it gives graduates 'the tools to rule' (be good leaders and managers) and the skills to solve or at least wrestle with complex problems, but he fails to really explain how a liberal arts education can lead to these outcomes. His main case study is that of the old English epic poem Beowulf....he demonstrates how a deep understanding of this work requires a rich background in history, language and literary criticism, in addition to well developed research and analysis skills and a multi- disciplinary perspective...all knowledge and skills developed in a liberal arts degree programme. However, what is missing is the link between having these critical skills and the solving of ( or mitigating of) complex modern political, economic and social problems. He asserts the link but does not make a sufficient or strong enough argument to convince listeners of the true value of the liberal arts. In some ways he does what he criticises other liberal arts scholars of doing.....making strong assertions with insufficient empirical evidence. Without a shadow of a doubt, a broad based, well taught liberal arts education is the best way to develop critical thinking skills, cultural awareness, self - awareness, confidence, and problem solving abilities.....I just wish Professor Drout had done a better job of explaining and demonstrating why this is the case.Lots of good food for thought though.


Do you think Modern Scholar: How to Think needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

A follow-up lecture series would help make a stronger case.


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- Lynn

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-07-2013
  • Publisher: Recorded Books