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A Student's Guide to Liberal Learning (Isi Guides to the Major Disciplines) [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   54
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.25" Width: 5" Height: 7.75"
Weight:   0.2 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2000
Publisher   ISI Books
ISBN  1882926536  
EAN  9781882926534  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
The ISI Guides to the Major Disciplines are reader-friendly introductions to the most important fields of knowledge in the liberal arts. Written by leading scholars for both students and the general public, they will be appreciated by anyone desiring a reliable and informative tour of important subject matter. Each title offers an historical overview of a particular discipline, explains the central ideas of each subject, and evaluates the works of thinkers whose ideas have shaped our world. They will aid students seeking to make better decisions about their course of study as well as general readers who wish to supplement their education. All who treasure the world of ideas and liberal learning will be motivated by these original and stimulating presentations.

Buy A Student's Guide to Liberal Learning (Isi Guides to the Major Disciplines) by James V. Schall, paulette Ledbetter, Robert Kolb, John D. Castelein, Saray Ayala, William Link & Sylvia Yount from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9781882926534 & 1882926536

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More About James V. Schall, paulette Ledbetter, Robert Kolb, John D. Castelein, Saray Ayala, William Link & Sylvia Yount

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Self-discipline and developing your personal library - great advice!  Jun 26, 2007
James Schall, professor in the Department of Government at Georgetown University, wrote this book as part of the ISI Guides to the Major Disciplines. The primary emphasis of Shall's book is to encourage the student to think, even saying that "thinking is adventure." He encourages students to read great books saying that "the very existence of the great books enables us to escape from any tyranny of the present, from the idea that we only want to study what is currently `relevant' or immediately useful." Amen!

How can a student accomplish this life-long journey of learning - Schall gives two simple steps: 1) self-discipline and 2) a personal library. Schall encourages college students to practice self-discipline, mastery over their passions to the end that they might be free to pursue those things of meaning and purpose in life. Of course, if a student is able to control his sensual appetite, he can then dine on the delicacies of the great works of literature - Schall encourages students to begin to build their own personal library of great books that they can read and re-read and use in a variety of ways once they have been digested fully by the reader.

Schall is good about giving numerous lists of books that he considers worthy of our time and energy to read. He also notes in the book that everyone has the time to read and reflect, but few actually use it...he encourages the reader to make use of those odd or spare moments and hours in a week to read and reflect. The book is good, but since Schall is coming from a Catholic background, many of the books that he suggests wouldn't be on my Top Ten list...although many would!
Jared Wizner's Personal Opinion  Mar 23, 2007
Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.
Proverbs 3:13-18

As we journey through life we find ourselves on a boundless quest. Whether chosen or accidental, the trials and circumstances we face along our path bear witness to the life-long search for wisdom and understanding. Wisdom presented not in the attainment of knowledge but the application thereof, gives us the consideration that it takes more than just "higher learning" to accomplish that which we have set out to attain. As Aristotle stated: "Many people who do not know books are nevertheless very wise, often wiser than the so-called learned. Perhaps it will be our grandfather or an ordinary farmer or worker. We should look for and respect the experience of ordinary people." Throughout his short, yet enlightening book, James Schall clarifies that the search for wisdom and truth can be difficult in today's popular culture. Furthermore, university education can further lead one away from the clarity which they seek and into a liberal setting clouded with ideologies and shallow information. In his book, A Student's Guide to Liberal Learning, Schall emphasizes the failure in modern scholastic society and offers a simple, yet specific, guide to attaining an unpolluted understanding of truth and, hopefully, the achievement of true wisdom.

The "love of wisdom," according to Schall, is the meaning of the Greek words which give us the word philosophy. In the pursuit of an intellectual life open to the truth, the author suggests three critical elements which one should incorporate into their personal learning efforts. These elements include: Self-Discipline, The Personal Library, and Teaching. Not solely considering himself as the absolute authority in this area, Schall uses a vast variety of reputable, highly intellectual, and moral sources while establishing these facets or tools of reinforced, or more accurate, learning.

Self-discipline, probably the most obvious of any suggestion towards enhanced learning, is Schall's first step in revealing the truth. He focuses on the fact that self-discipline, or self-denial, is not a pleasant course. As naturally errant beings, we continually resort to habits and choices which prevent us from achieving that which we may desire. According to Schall: "Discipline means instruction, especially organized instruction. When we add the notion of `self' to this instruction, we are indicating that we are ourselves objects of our own rule, of our own need to instruct ourselves." Clarifying, in a sense, that we are our own masters, he established that success or failure falls within the realm of our own decisions. An internal decision has to be made, with a solid determination, to attain the truth and to seek ultimate wisdom and understanding in our lives. Once this condition is set, we must recognize that we embark upon a difficult and treacherous journey. In order to successfully accomplish that which we have set out to attain, we must press forward with all determination and self-denial, unwilling to allow any enemy, namely ourselves, to stop us from achieving this goal. "Self-discipline," according to Schall, "is the beginning of wisdom, not its end. When we have discovered the purpose for which self-discipline exists, we will if we are sane, hardly recall anything about it because it has enabled us to become free to see and do so much else."

The second step in Schall's system of fervently pursuing ultimate truth concerns the value of our personal library. In this portion of his book, the author suggests a certain variety of excellent authors. He focuses on the fact that we do not need to read every book ever written or even the must popular books, but that we should read, thoroughly, some of the great observers, authors which may be excluded from a liberal educational mindset. Suggested authors include literary greats such as C.S. Lewis. In these suggested books, Schall recognizes that different observations may contain contradictory views, but that the understanding attained through the reading of these "great books" may provide a coherent guide to the truth, despite the disagreements. The books recommended in this book, are well-chosen based on their abilities to guide, to astonish and inform, and to remind of the order of things.

Thirdly, and Schall's consideration for his simplest suggestion, teaching is emphasized as an absolutely necessary contribution to our attainment of the truth. The focus, however, is not simply placed on that which a teacher owes their student but also what a student owes themselves or their teacher. It is essential in our pursuit of education that we maintain a willingness to work hard and personally contribute to the achievement of our educational goals. Schall reflects upon his own teaching experiences and states that: "I think that for which I most am thankful to so many students over the years is simply the continued opportunity the presence of students gives me for reading and re-reading so many things, with the time to reflect on them. But to begin reading at all, a student must read a book for the first time. This is what I have tried to do for students in insisting that they come to class regularly, after having carefully read the text. The student who does not do this work himself is unteachable. No teacher can really help him. The fact of students to teach has enabled me, as a teacher, in return to read a text again and again. I am thankful to students for this rare liberty. I often wonder when students leave my class on the last day if they likewise reread these wonderful books. Often that is something a teacher will never know." It is the passion of teachers, such as Schall, to truly enlighten the minds of their students. Regardless of the quality of the teacher however, it is well said that in order to learn one must be teachable. In order to be teachable we must be willing to take an effort to read and to understand the literary opportunities set before us. One who is unwilling to value the ideas and observations as written and presented, may never be able to gain understanding beyond that which is explained to them. Just listening to simple explanations, obviously hinders the extent of growth in knowledge and potential wisdom one may attain. It is the responsibility of each of us, whether a desired student or an unwilling participant to the education of life, to willingly strive to gain absolute clarity and knowledge from literature. If one is simply lazy than they truly are unteachable, and therefore deserving of the consequences of a foolish and easily manipulated mindset.

Conclusively, Schall hopes, through the course of our education, that we as students, even students of life, are not swept into the current of popular culture or liberal education. We should maintain our sanity and sense of truth despite the opinions of those who may appear to have a higher level of learning or understanding. He gives us an excellent selection of books, which may be excluded from our instruction by certain liberal educators or "popular culture," and allows us to balance our personal convictions versus the intimidating opinion-altering methods of liberal education. These books include almost any conceivable area of thought, such as: Play, philosophy, resources, authority, food, science, some essays, some theology, history, conversation, etc.

Wisdom is not strictly attained through the scholastic attainment of knowledge. Rather wisdom is achieved through the course of our lives, through our experiences, through our conflicts, and through our successes. As we climb higher up the mountain of life, we begin to see things from a clearer perspective. We understand more clearly where we came from and what it took to get us where we are at today. This enhanced perception becomes the knowledge which we have earned as a right of passage throughout that arduous journey of life. Yet it is the application of this knowledge which becomes the wisdom that we seek, knowingly or accidentally. When confusion sets in, due to a confliction of personal conviction and popular thought, it is our responsibility to recognize the value of our knowledge and to cling to the lessons which life has given us. James Schall's book, A Student's Guide to Liberal Learning, provides an excellent tool for equipping oneself to maintain clarity and a solid understanding of the truth, despite the overbearing opinions of others. It allows us to embark on the adventure of life and education without the fear of being brain-washed or confused. It not only gives notable suggestions for reading but it reminds us of the importance of keeping our minds open to the truth regardless of the isolated mentality of our liberal educators.
Great resource for students!  Dec 5, 2006
As a student at a rather liberal university, this book gave me some ideas on how to maintain academic freedom and stand up for what's right on campus. A great gift for any student!
A mild warning to students  Jun 3, 2006
This thin text intends to be casual, easy on the attention span, providing options to our university's failures where "diversity" has replaced education as their central function. Those options are valid books (in several very limited lists) censored by our "new-movements" dominating the humanities. And the humanities are most in peril as concrete results of science (technologies) are harder to marginalize - though that effort too is underway.

Schall does not launch a Philippic, never indicates the source of this decay (a motivation for readers in itself) and falls short of full-blown inspiration for learning. As a Jesuit he has more than ample horsepower to do so but, apparently, intends to merely raise awareness, not incite. Too bad.

There are gems, "... humility is misplaced; thought to be located in the intellect where it does not belong... We should not doubt our minds but our motives. The condition of not knowing should not lead us to a further skepticism but to a more intense search for truth." And humor, as Schall pondered a subtitle, "How To Get An Education Even While Still In College".

As important as Schall's tip on postmodern agendas is his caution about machinery of economic society where nature and the human spirit are eviscerated by product, profit and utility (though again, its passive). "The important things, Aristotle told us, are to be known `for their own sakes'". A pleasant book, probably well suited for students strongly influenced by blood-chemistry, pop-media and about to get four-years of sensitivity training. With Schall's help perhaps they'll graduate with something worth knowing and a route toward understanding through pursuit of real learning after the degree.
Another fine little book about Liberal Arts  Mar 28, 2006
If you are worn thin by the books that have given a solid but depressing diagnosis of the decline of liberal arts in the west, here is part of the solution. Read this book by Dr. Schall then get the books he recommends for a true education. After that read his book-Another Sort of Learning and then read the books he recommends in that book.

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