The Great Books of the Western World series comprises 60 volumes containing 517 works written by 130 authors.
It includes works of literature, mathematics, natural sciences, history and social science, philosophy and religion—all selected for their lasting influence on Western culture.
In case if you’re wondering “So, what’s so great about the Great Books?” here are three reasons why you should read this foundational series:
- Join the great conversation
Humankind has always been inquisitive, striving to understand the meaning of life, the nature of knowledge, the mysteries of love, and more.
The Great Books series celebrates this rich tradition of inquiry. Each of the 517 works examines major questions and ideas. Together, they create a conversation spanning the centuries.
For example, Homer’s Iliad comments on the nature of happiness. Greek tragedian Sophocles adds to this discussion with his Oedipus at Colonus. Then, Plato joins in with his dialogues. Hundreds of years later, Aquinas’ Summa Theologica adds to the conversation. Fast forward to 1948, and Samuel Beckett is chiming in with Waiting for Godot. Together, all of the authors’ works form a great conversation, spanning over 2,700 years. And this is just one of the thousands of discussions taking place in the Great Books.
With Noet, you can join the conversation like never before. Make your own searchable notes and highlights that sync across your devices. You can even upload your own papers and articles to the software and make them searchable. Plus, with Noet Groups you can form your own reading groups and share insights with others.
2. See how ideas have changed (and endured) over time
The Great Books of the Western Worlds contains more than influential works—it includes the 2-volume Syntopicon, an index to 102 major ideas and 3,000 sub-topics that unite the 517 works and define the Western tradition.
The major ideas include Angel, Courage, Eternity, Evolution, Family, God, Good and Evil, Life and Death, Prophecy, Religion, Science, Sin, War and Peace, and more.
The Syntopicon provides an introduction to each idea and traces its development over the course of history. It also references each place it is discussed in the Great Books.
With Noet, the Syntopicon is more accessible than ever. Each reference is hand-tagged, so you can jump from a reference to the source text with a simple click. Instead of flipping through pages and searching for the right book, you can spend your time analyzing the great ideas.
3. Explore the past, understand the present
The inspiration for the Great Books series was the belief that every person deserved a top-notch liberal arts education. The creators of the series, former University of Chicago president Robert Hutchins and philosopher Mortimer Adler, believed that the purpose of education was to develop the whole person—his or her spirit of inquiry, character, and critical thinking skills.
Through reading the Great Books, you can explore the origins of modern Western culture. Many beliefs and values that people hold today have been developing over the course of centuries. Delve into the ancient roots of democracy, liberty, and other continuing ideals. Investigate how these ideas were presented, debated, and defended.
Even if you don’t agree with all of the authors, exploring their arguments can help you strengthen your own beliefs, sharpen your critical thinking skills, and illuminate the diverse worldviews that exist today.
With the Great Books, you can discover humanity’s past and understand the present.
Get 80% off the Great Books of the Western World when you pre-order by 10/21. Hurry! This special offer ends at midnight on 10/22.