12 Great Books of Western History

Much of what we know of the past three thousand years relies largely on the great historians of the millennia. Through excellent scholarship, tedious compilation, clear prose, and entertaining color commentary (sometime at the expense of accuracy), these historians and their famous works have shaped the western world’s ideas about its development. Though the bulkContinue reading “12 Great Books of Western History”

6 Classic Book Collections for Your Kids

Getting your kids to read books is important. Getting your kids reading the right books is even more important. Yet, selecting appropriate reading material for children has become increasingly difficult in our modern society. With the introduction of ideologically driven literature in schools and other public institutions, one can be at a loss for whichContinue reading “6 Classic Book Collections for Your Kids”

7 Historical Philosopher-Kings to Inspire You

In Plato’s Republic, Socrates envisions the ideal city-state. After describing life within his supposed utopia, his detractors press him on whether or not his dream could ever come to fruition. Socrates replies:  “Until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy … cities will neverContinue reading “7 Historical Philosopher-Kings to Inspire You”

The Importance of Fairy Tales for Children

For the past year, I’ve been reading stories from classic children’s anthologies (many printed in the 1940s – 1960s era) to my kids before bed. One such collection of stories is from a series called Childcraft, which I find so aptly named since reading good stories is so critical in “crafting” children to be virtuous,Continue reading “The Importance of Fairy Tales for Children”

4 Reasons to Own Physical Books in the Digital Age

We at ThinkingWest have dedicated this website to exploring the content contained in the Great Books. Our aim has always been to spark interest in the classics and challenge our readers to delve into these works by whatever method suits them best. With the rising popularity of audiobooks, digital E-readers like Kindle, and free onlineContinue reading “4 Reasons to Own Physical Books in the Digital Age”

Gateway to Philosophy: 5 Great Books to Get Reading

Mark Twain once said,  “A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.” Glancing through book lists like the Great Books of the Western World or The Harvard Classics, it’s hard to argue with Twain’s sentiment. The great books often appear daunting, especially for novice or younger readers. Many ofContinue reading “Gateway to Philosophy: 5 Great Books to Get Reading”

The Benefits of Reading the Great Books

Why read the great books? Apart from fulfilling some antiquarian dream or feeding an ego pining for intellectual praise, these books serve a useful purpose. That the books are (usually) old is of little consequence except in evidence that these books are important enough to have survived so long. Hence, we do not read theseContinue reading “The Benefits of Reading the Great Books”

Reflections on Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations

For a Roman emperor and the most powerful man in the world, Marcus Aurelius lived a notably uncomfortable life. Choosing a life of stoicism rather than comfort, Aurelius shirked the luxuries that his high status provided him. He slept in a simple cot with an animal skin rather than a comfortable bed. He worked incessantly,Continue reading “Reflections on Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations”

A Year of Reading: Books I Read in 2021

As is customary, let’s take a look at the books I read in 2021. My reading heavily favored nonfiction and has begun leaning toward histories. Overall, my time spent reading declined from 2020 as the last year was busier than ever. My reading of the Great Books especially slowed down since I had little timeContinue reading “A Year of Reading: Books I Read in 2021”

The 12 Book Classical Education

A true classical education is a lifelong pursuit of wisdom and understanding with no demonstrable end. The end of the classical education is played out in real time, in parallel to its pursuit in everyday life. When confronting a claim, one might turn to principles put forth by Aristotle or Bacon to find their veracity;Continue reading “The 12 Book Classical Education”