Episode #109 - The British Empire
Episode #110 - Black Friday & A Short History of Discounting
Episode #111 - British Pubs
Episode #112 - Personality Tests
Episode #113 - Mao Zedong
Episode #114 - Charles Darwin & The Origin of Species
Episode #115 - The Great Fire of London
Episode #116 - Jeremy Bentham & Utilitarianism
If there are any particular questions about any of the later ones that you'd like me to cover/answer, let me know and I'll try my best to make sure they are in there.
You can now hover over any of the 'key vocabulary' words in the transcript and get its definition.
Here's a little clip of it in action on a mobile, but it works just as well on a desktop as well.
I'd love for you to give it a go and let me know what you think :)
A truck loaded with thousands of copies of ROGET'S THESAURUS crashed yesterday losing its entire load. Witnesses were stunned, startled, aghast, taken aback, stupefied, confused, shocked, rattled, paralyzed, dazed, bewildered, mixed up, surprised, awed, and dumbfounded! pic.twitter.com/7VZoBARvbC— Doc 🍥 (@DocAtCDI) November 11, 2020
You can, of course, follow the news, but this can quickly become emotionally draining and are you really learning anything?
One suggestion I have is the 'A Very Short Introduction' series.
These are short, approachable books about all manner of different topics.
Indeed, there are 704 in total, covering everything from 'A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy' to 'A Very Short Introduction to French Cinema'.
They are aimed at native speakers, but the language is normally accessible and unpretentious.
They are all pretty short, less than 100 pages, and you can skim through and get a great overview of subjects you might not know much about.
If you have a Kindle/ebook reader, you can buy them from Amazon for around €5 each.
I use them quite a lot when researching topics for podcast episodes, and they are always very useful.
You can see the entire list here
And below is the 'official' summary of them, and what people far wiser and more knowledgeable than me have to say.
Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects — from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, and Literary Theory to History. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume provides trenchant and provocative - yet always balanced - discussions of the central issues in a given topic. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make often challenging topics highly readable. Whatever the area of study, whatever the topic that fascinates the reader, the series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.
"The Very Short Introductions range from worth reading to wonderfully appealing... Much of the pleasure to be found in them is the bedrock one of good nonfiction: facts... They appeal to us because the world is vast and strange, because everywhere we look, from the firefly flashing in the darkness to Auden's elegy for Yeats, there is something to provoke our curiosity, some sliver of existence that we want to understand." - New Yorker Magazine
"I have a pile of the Short Introductions and they are uniformly excellent: an ideal way to dip your toe in a topic and, being relatively cheap, allow you to decide whether invest in more expensive tomes. They're well written by leaders in their area, thought-provoking and insightful." - Mark Greener, Fortean Times
"I absolutely LOVE the VSI series. It's just so well produced - excellent writing and interesting topics. Just a superb overall series to dive into." - Grrl Scientist, The Guardian
"I love the Very Short Introduction Series as should everyone who is interested in the history of ideas. They manage to straddle that difficult line between making the complex accessible without ever compromising on quality. The sheer range of subjects covered make the series an invaluable asset for anyone trying to understand the development of human thought. They are a must-go-to gateway for those of us keen to know more but needing a steer as to where to start." - Claire Fox, Director, Institute of Ideas
"The Oxford University Press VSI series... is to non-fiction what Penguin Books have always been for literature. - Jim Cullen, History News Network"
"Expert, concise but far from bland, Oxford's Very Short Introductions series must rank by now as a thinking reader's Wikipedia" - Boyd Tonkin, The Independent
"Great price, beautifully designed and produced, authoritative content and inviting subjects covered - if only all publishing hit these heights." - The Bookseller
"a fascinating series of 'all you need to know' introductions by experts to complex topics." - The Times
"The Very Short Introductions are fantastically informative books..." - Big Issue in the North
"I am addicted to this series of pocket-portable introductory lectures." - Guardian Review
"These Very Short Introductions have a style and integrity all of their own." - Scotsman
"A thoroughly good idea. Snappy, small format ... stylish design ... perfect to pop in your pocket for spare moments" - Lisa Jardine, The Times
"A series of instantly accessible handbooks that neither shame our ignorance nor frighten us with their erudition. All are to be applauded." - Oxford Times
"If theres anything you ever wanted to know more about ... grab yourself one of these little beauties." - Sarky Cutt, Greenwich University
"These perfect books form a solid grounding in various subjects, stretching from the Bible and the Koran, to Social and Cultural Anthropology ... interesting, informative and concise, they combine to make a beautiful set. They will broaden your studies, widen your knowledge and maybe give you a chance of winning those pub quizzes once in a while!" - The Beaver, LSE
"Would make a useful addition to any bookshelf, and their size makes them ideal for carrying around" - Humanist Philosophers Group
"Attractively packaged and, very importantly these days ... attractively priced. They are the sort of books that can be read in a couple of evenings but repay further study." - The Philosophers Review
"Always invigorating" - Independent on Sunday
It's (to state the obvious) a hot topic, and I thought it could be an interesting theme for the next session. It won't be a debate, as such, but rather an opportunity for people to exchange thoughts and ideas, have a friendly discussion with other curious minds.
If you haven't already registered for it, you can do so here: Register for the next Members-only session.
If you have any questions, let me know in the comments (or feel free to message me privately).
I'd love your feedback 🙏
Indeed, I'd like to do a mini-series with famous linguists but didn't want to rush into it and feel like it wasn't as good as it could have been.
Also, the feedback was that people probably aren't that interested in the 'behind the scenes' story, at least from the point of view of listening to a podcast episode.
But the answer was right in front of me.
I called it 'Leonardo' English after Leonardo Da Vinci, but I hadn't actually ever done an episode on this amazing man and his intriguing life.
So, here you go, as a celebration of 100 episodes, here's an episode on 'the most relentlessly curious' man in history.
Leonardo Da Vinci
I hope you enjoy it!
And if you're interested in learning a bit more about the 'behind the scenes' story, I wrote about it here: Reflections on 100 Episodes
I've pasted the information below (and if you know you want to attend just head here)
It will take place on October 28th at 7pm, and will be a debate on whether "Learning a second language should be required at school" (up to the age of 16). This is always an interesting point of debate in the UK, as I'm sure it is in your country too.