Regular price: $61.45

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – love a book or swap it for free
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $16.45/month
OR
In Basket

Publisher's Summary

As the home to big ideas, The Great Courses has produced thousands of lectures that have introduced millions of lifelong learners to some of the biggest ideas out there. Now, enjoy 36 lectures specially curated from some of our most popular courses and get a fresh learning experience in a wide range of disciplines.

How does electromagnetic radiation traveling at 186,000 miles per second tell us everything we need to know about the distant stars? Why do we prefer random rejection over always getting what we want? How does science explain our subjective experience - if it even can? These are just a few of the many scintillating questions whose answers you'll get in this lecture series. Scientists, historians, linguists, psychologists, archaeologists, and other experts guide you through topics, concepts, and events that are sure to amaze you.

You'll learn how the world's largest untranslated written language was made with strings and knots. You'll explore the idea of time's arrow, which offers stirring insights into the one-way direction of time. You'll focus on a strange (but true) sensory phenomenon in which people associate letters with colors. You'll investigate the fascinating cultural universality hidden inside heroic journeys by characters such as Little Red Riding Hood and Arjuna in the Mahabharata. And much more.

Profound topics, deep insights, great professors - this lecture series is the perfect introduction to some of our most popular courses, and to some of the many ways in which our courses explain the seemingly unexplainable.

The complete list of contributors includes Professors Edwin Barnhart, Grant L. Voth, H. Craig Heller, Indre Viskontas, John McWhorter, and John R. Hale.

Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase.

©2014 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2014 The Great Courses

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    5
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    5
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
No Reviews are Available
Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • David
  • 19-05-2015

36 Random Ideas

These lectures are good. They are not the 36 most important ideas ever- but they are great ideas. I would compare the lectures, each chapter, to randomly opening an encyclopedia to a page, & then getting a pretty good overview of the topic found. If you're into knowledge for the sake of just knowing things and how they work, this is a good listen.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • SAMA
  • 29-12-2014

Inconsistent, awkward

This collection provides a series of lectures picked out from several great courses series, with no clear connection between one and the others. They might be interesting in the context of their own courses, but here they just feel jumbled and unnecessary.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Adam Reed
  • 04-07-2014

Way outdated

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

The first lecture talks about the latest advancements in Astro-observation coming down the pike....in 2002!

What could The Great Courses have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Have more material from this decade.

Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from 36 Big Ideas?

The first one for beginners

Any additional comments?

I feel like I wasted a credit - living in a time of unprecedented change, ideas get outdated by the year, so having a book that says it is from 2014, but containing lectures looking forward to 2002 is a bit silly.

35 of 44 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Virginiawallah
  • 13-07-2014

Collection of random lectures

What disappointed you about 36 Big Ideas?

This series has random set of lectures from other Great Course series. Most of the time professors/narrators make reference to other lecture in their original course. Description of the this Great Course series does not tell that this is set of lectures picked from different courses. To me, this is cheating.

26 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Richard
  • 25-07-2014

Should have been titled "36 Not So Big Ideas"

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The book would have been better if its contents had agreed with its title.

What could The Great Courses have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

This book was actually an advertising avenue to expose people to 'The Great Courses' product line. It would have been enjoyable if it had actually been a book about 36 great ideas that had significant impact on the lives of all people. Instead it was a book mostly about a variety of things that are of great interest to a very small select audience.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

This was a reproduction of a single lecture from 36 different individuals, all of whom did a credible job of speaking before an academic audience.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The contents of this book included very little that corresponding to the grand title or of interest to me at all but even then the subject matter was dumbed down to the point where it was useless and uninformative.

Any additional comments?

I regret having purchased the book and expended my time on it.

14 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Andy Olsen
  • 30-10-2015

A wide range of topics

I think I enjoyed this series of lectures so much because it was so varied. I found a few topics that were especially interesting to me and now I know I can buy those courses knowing they will be superb. Great job.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Ben Selvitelle
  • 15-03-2018

Not really big ideas

Would you try another book from The Great Courses and/or the narrators?

I have several books from them. Some good, some not so good.

Has 36 Big Ideas turned you off from other books in this genre?

No.

Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

It's a mix or performers.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Trebla
  • 02-03-2018

Disappointingly light weight

This is a "best of" collection of spiels by several authors (most good) but it is aimed at a low bar. There should be an indicator on Great Courses for the intended audience- I would put this at high school junior or senior.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Dan Collins
  • 12-04-2017

Great for.a Survey of Topics

This was more of a very long commercial for "The Great Courses" online offering than anything else. What you get is 36 30 minute lectures on a fantastic breadth of topics. From the Big Bang to Renaissance food and cuisine and on to gene therapy, this list of lectures is a convenient way to become conversant in a number of topics that, kept at the ready, would give one great ammo at a cocktail party.

Great appetizer - not satisfying.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Christian Zagarskas
  • 30-03-2016

Decent, but not exactly spot on

Where does 36 Big Ideas rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

In the middle.

What did you like best about this story?

Its not a story, clearly Audible does not pay much attention to these questions. lol

Did the narrators do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

WTF? this question is not even remotely relevant. lol

If you could give 36 Big Ideas a new subtitle, what would it be?

I would not.

Any additional comments?

This is a collection of PARTIAL courses from various Professor's, so its a good "cheese sampler" but its missing the "main course" if you catch my drift. Still quite good indeed, but in no way is it an intellectual "four course meal". Good though, quite good indeed.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • David Futerman
  • 24-03-2018

not yhe best

not well read and did not hold the attention. would not recommend it there are plenty better

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • 12-03-2015

A random pick humbled together

Absolutely no link between each one completely jumbled together , always been a fan of the great courses this however was a bad buy
Do not buy it

2 of 7 people found this review helpful