The Hidden Factor [TTC Video]
27 January 2015, 09:04
Course No 5133 | MP4, MPEG4, 819 kbps, 426x320 | English, AAC, 96 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | 4.69GB
From technology to business, two (or more) heads often prove to be better than one—but only if those heads are cognitively diverse. Top-performing companies, universities, and innovation centers are increasingly finding ways to encourage a greater exchange of ideas among their staff. Scientific journals continue to see the number of authors per paper rise, while both Nobel Prizes and patents are frequently granted to teams. The need for group problem solving has never been more critical. So what’s driving the demand?
- The changing nature of work: The complexity of challenges faced by today’s “creative class” has produced a new reliance on teams. A group with diverse experience and education can often more effectively provide solutions by bringing myriad viewpoints to the table.
- Demographic trends and technology: Technology is making the world smaller and connecting us with diverse sets of people and ideas. Our cultural identities influence everything from the books we read to the stories we hear in childhood and, thus, the way we make sense of the world.
Diverse perspectives are a powerful tool for maximizing productivity and enhancing collective performance. Believe it or not, you can even be “diverse” all by yourself. You can, to quote Walt Whitman, “contain multitudes.”
The Hidden Factor: Why Thinking Differently Is Your Greatest Asset is your opportunity to learn the strategies that make you a more diverse thinker and position you to break down institutional silos and build robust, effective teams. Delivered by Professor Scott E. Page of the University of Michigan—a pioneering researcher in his field—these 24 thought-provoking lectures are packed with case studies, cautionary tales, and formal mathematical methods that prove the case for cognitive difference.
Whether you’re in a leadership position or striving to advance your career, Professor Page’s techniques will train you to
- tackle problems with the right mix of individuals,
- drive innovation and avoid collapse,
- adapt to changing circumstances and challenges,
- forecast outcomes with greater accuracy, and
- identify conditions in which diversity trumps ability.
By teaching you to “see around the bend” and analyze decisions from multiple perspectives, The Hidden Factor even has practical benefits beyond the workplace. From determining which house to buy to where to invest your money, life requires making smart predictions at every turn.
Build a Winning Team
At the outset of the course, Professor Page acknowledges the elephant in the room: that diversity is a politically charged term. Although there is a strong correlation between identity diversity (differences in cultural backgrounds) and cognitive diversity (differences in how people think), the professor makes it clear that the focus of this course is cognitive diversity and how we can leverage it to solve complex problems.
In The Hidden Factor, you’ll learn diversity creates a significant advantage on multiple levels:
- As an individual: You’ll benefit personally by being able to view problems from multiple perspectives and by building a diverse tool kit.
- As a team: Teams of cognitively diverse people can produce more ideas, find better solutions, encounter fewer mistakes, and make better forecasts than will individuals or homogeneous groups.
- As a society: Diverse societies are productive, innovative, and interesting, while societies that lack diversity risk collapse.
Of particular use to those in management or hiring positions, The Hidden Factor demonstrates how variety in staffing engenders organizational strength. Typically, candidates are evaluated in a linear fashion on the basis of how a certain skill applies to a certain task. However, new hires bring along “toolboxes” filled with unique perspectives that current employees may not offer.
To illustrate this key tenet of the course, Professor Page uses a number of eye-opening examples and mental exercises. One such scenario highlights the tests that companies like Microsoft and Google administer to job applicants. Talent-based logic implies only those with the highest scores should be hired. Diversity-based logic says otherwise.
Say you have three applicants for two positions on a team. Each is asked 10 questions, and the scores are as follows:
Candidate A: 7
Candidate B: 8
Candidate C: 8
Following talent logic, you should add candidates B and C to the team. But diversity logic suggests that you look at the distribution of questions answered correctly in addition to the scores.
Applicants B and C each get 1 through 8 correct but cannot solve question 9 or 10. Applicant A misses 1 through 3, but correctly answers 4 through 10. Diversity-based logic tells you that the team will do better if it contains cognitively diverse people, so you should hire person A and either B or C.
Make More Accurate Predictions
Throughout the course, formal mathematical models nail down the logic behind the professor’s conclusions. While the theorems and formulas are important for understanding the conditions necessary for a proposition, a love of numbers is not required to master the concepts. As Professor Page walks you through the math, you’ll arrive at some astounding realizations—such as the fact that diversity and ability are of equal value in producing collective wisdom. Also, a diverse crowd will always be more accurate than its average member.
You’ll also see the central role forecasting plays in organizations and even in your daily life. Not only is it important for nuts and bolts operational issues, it enables more effective design of products and policies. In order to give people what they want, you must know what they want, and that involves forecasting.
You’ll learn many heuristics, or tools, for making smart predictions:
- Analogies allow you to make estimates about an unknown entity by using the value of something comparable.
- The Fermi method/dimensional analysis breaks an estimate into parts, and then multiplies those parts together.
- Linear decomposition relies on dividing a whole intoparts and then finding the sum of those parts, assuming the value of the individual components is known.
- Trend analysis is based on what statisticians call a time series. This method uses a sequence of data—such as daily temperatures or stock prices—to forecast the future.
While the models presented are not “all-knowing oracles,” they do provide strong foundations from which to launch the decision-making process.
In a rapidly changing world, it’s imperative to stay agile by possessing a diverse set of tools. Institutional practices that may have worked well in previous years may cease to perform as the landscape changes. The Hidden Factor recounts numerous noteworthy examples of large-scale failure and collapse, a common cause of which is groupthink. From the U.S. housing market crash to the fall of entire civilizations, you’ll take an in-depth look at reasons this phenomenon occurs and strategies to avoid it.
A One-of-a-Kind Experience
As a leading expert on complexity and diversity, Professor Page offers his original research alongside that of other noted practitioners to put you on the cutting edge of this field. His engaging, often humorous teaching style leaves no doubt why he is a sought-after lecturer at top universities, businesses, and nonprofit organizations.
All 24 lectures are filled with a colorful array of down-to-earth analogies and examples that illuminate the intriguing, perception-shifting concepts at the core of this ambitious course. Professor Page also provides concrete, factual logic undergirding this hidden factor of success. Charts, graphs, and other images clarify the data, while math equations make the lessons easy to follow.
The Hidden Factor clearly demonstrates that the problems facing society will grow ever more complex as the low-hanging fruit all but disappears. Leveraging diversity isn’t as simple as counting up the number of types and saying more is better; it requires the proper connections and interactions between those diverse parts. Stay competitive by training your mind to think differently with this invaluable course.
- Individual Diversity and Collective Performance
- Why Now? The Rise of Diversity
- Diversity Squared
- The Wisdom of Crowds
- The Diversity Prediction Theorem Times Three
- The Weighting Is the Hardest Part
- Foxes and Hedgehogs—Can I Be Diverse?
- Fermi’s Barbers—Estimating and Predicting
- Problem Solving
- Diverse Perspectives
- Heuristics and the Adjacent Possible
- Diversity Trumps Ability
- Digging Holes and Splicing Genes
- Ability and Diversity
- Combining and Recombining Heuristics
- Beware of False Prophets—No Free Lunch
- Crowdsourcing and the Limits of Diversity
- Experimentation, Variation, and Six Sigma
- Diversity and Robustness
- Inescapable Benefits of Diversity
- The Historical Value of Diversity
- Homophily, Incentives, and Groupthink
- The Problem of Diverse Preferences
- The Team. The Team. The Team.
The World's Greatest Churches [TTC Video]
09 January 2015, 19:23
2014 | Course No 7842 | M4V, AVC, 640x360 | English, AAC, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 11.65GB
The great churches of Christianity represent some of the world’s most stunning masterpieces of architecture and art.
- Built by a Byzantine emperor, Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia is an architectural space of overwhelming grandeur, emblazoned with colored marbles and sublime golden mosaics.
- The monumental Cathedral of Siena boasts massive pictorial floor decoration; the Maestà altarpiece by Duccio; and sculpture by Michelangelo, Bernini, and Donatello.
- Dreamlike and otherworldly, Gaudí’s Sagrada Família in Barcelona soars toward the heavens, fashioned inside and out as a single, vast spiritual artwork.
But artistic stature is only one measure of the significance of the great Christian churches. In their essential religious role, the buildings themselves instruct, edify, and inspire the communities that worship in them, using iconography, symbolism, and the language of architecture as ultimate expressions of faith.
- The decoration of Georgia’s Cathedral of Nikortsminda, one of the world’s most glorious religious buildings, unfurls a resplendent theological vision of Old Testament stories, ecstatic angels, and multiple representations of Christ incarnate.
- The iconography of Chartres Cathedral, apogee of the Gothic style, is a handbook of medieval Christian spirituality written in elaborate carved stone and stained glass.
- The remarkable Wieskirche of Bavaria uses the carefully calibrated symbolism of its Rococo decoration to teach spiritual lessons of forgiveness, penance, and reconciliation.
In all eras, the masterworks of church building have been focal points for communities, cultures, and nations. A familiarity with the greatest of Christianity’s churches and cathedrals offers you:
- knowledge of an astonishing spectrum of world treasures of art and architecture;
- understanding of the symbolism and theology behind these buildings, and how they instruct Christians in living the values of the faith;
- significant insight into how different cultures adapt the concept of a Christian house of worship to their own ways of expression;
- comprehension of the political, economic, and intellectual importance of churches; and
- a deep look into one of humanity’s most important religious and cultural traditions, as it has developed across two millennia and spread across the globe.
In the 24 visually dazzling lectures of The World’s Greatest Churches, Great Courses favorite Professor William R. Cook of the State University of New York at Geneseo takes on the full scope of this compelling subject, leading you in a detailed guided tour of the churches and cathedrals that he, as a celebrated Christian historian and medievalist, considers to be among the most outstanding, memorable, and meaningful in the world.
Beginning in the Holy Land, you’ll travel the globe to find the jewels of this tradition, visiting not only preeminent churches in Western and Eastern Europe, but also in Africa, the Middle East, the Americas, and East Asia. In all, you’ll study churches in 19 countries, spanning 5 continents, in a survey encompassing a range from the grandest metropolitan cathedrals to less-known gems such as the stave churches or Norway, pilgrimage shrines of Latin America, and the mysterious cave churches of Turkish Cappadocia. Lavishly illustrated with breathtaking photos, detailed floor plans, and 3-D models, these lectures take you deeply into the culture and theology of a global faith through its most important and magnificent buildings.
Encounter a Globe-Spanning Tradition
Of central importance within the course’s narrative, you’ll explore the flowering of church building in European Christendom. This area of the inquiry takes you from the Renaissance grandeur of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome to Western Europe’s foremost Gothic cathedrals to exquisite churches of Russia, Armenia, and Georgia. High points include Sicily’s Cathedral of Monreale, with decorative richness and superlative narrative mosaics that place it among the world’s most beautiful church interiors.
You’ll also discover a strikingly diverse range of churches across the world, such as
- Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre—Within this icon of early Christian history, visit the church’s multiple chapels marking the Stations of the Cross. Also view the “aedicule,” believed to be the actual site of Jesus’s burial and resurrection.
- The Painted Churches of Romania—Unique in the Christian world, the churches of Romanian Moldavia are richly decorated with frescoes on both their interiors and exteriors. Study the phenomenal exterior paintings, their theological themes, and the churches’ dramatic and sumptuous interior decoration.
- The Rock-Hewn Churches of Ethiopia—An extraordinary wonder of architecture, the churches of Ethiopia’s Lalibela are each carved entirely from a single piece of rock. Learn how these churches were carved down into the rock from the top, creating illusory “vaults” and “columns,” and study their mysterious religious artworks.
- La Compañía in Quito, Ecuador—Among Christian spaces in the New World, explore La Compañía’s ornately sculpted façade, imposing Spanish Baroque details, and shimmering golden interior, which exemplify the glories of Latin American church building.
- Iceland’s Hallgrímskirkja—Experience how the architecture and décor of this starkly beautiful modernist church evokes the geology of the Icelandic landscape, and expresses the ethos of Lutheranism and Christian values of humble adoration and simplicity.
Discover the Rich Meanings of Christian Architecture
A historian, scholar, and award-winning teacher who has traveled extensively and studied Christianity throughout the world, Professor Cook is ideally qualified as your guide on this unique journey into faith, art, and history. Through his enthralling commentary, and nearly 2,000 vivid photos he personally shot, you’ll learn how to observe and interpret the theological meanings of Christian churches through careful attention to details of their architecture and art.
In the majestic pilgrimage church of Sainte-Foy in France, you’ll study the key theological lessons aimed at pilgrims, depicted in the elaborate carvings on its façade. In the Bavarian Wieskirche, you’ll see how each element of the church’s decoration, from its symbolic color scheme to its narratives of Jesus and imagery of the Prodigal Son, illustrates themes of repentance and forgiveness. And you’ll grasp how the elegant simplicity of a Quaker meetinghouse speaks deeply of the values of Quaker spirituality.
You’ll also study how widely differing cultures have adapted the concept and building type of a church to their own contexts and experience. In the fascinating cave churches of Turkish Cappadocia, you’ll see how the concept of a Christian sacred space was modeled by a lineage of hermetic monks who carved their churches into the sides of mountains, adorning them with richly expressive frescoes. At the great shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico, you’ll learn how one of the world’s most important pilgrimage centers was founded on a local peasant’s extraordinary visions of the Virgin Mary. And you’ll observe how Korean architect Kim Swoo Geun built great churches that reflect Christian faith and meaning in a culture far from our own.
In The World’s Greatest Churches, you’ll come to understand the architecture, art, and theology of some of the world’s most beautiful buildings, as they express Christian spirituality across an astounding range of cultures and periods. Join a brilliant historian of Christianity in discovering these architectural masterworks that rank among the most revered, most beloved, and most iconic buildings of world civilization.
Course Lecture Titles:
- The Earliest Churches
- The Church of the Holy Sepulchre
- Hagia Sophia
- The Cave Churches of Cappadocia
- Great Churches of Russia
- The Painted Churches of Romania
- The Churches of Armenia
- The Churches of Georgia
- The Rock-Hewn Churches of Ethiopia
- The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba
- The Stave Churches of Norway
- The Pilgrimage Church of Sainte-Foy
- The Cathedral of Monreale
- Chartres Cathedral
- Winchester Cathedral
- The Cathedral of Siena
- St. Peters Basilica
- The Wieskirche in Bavaria
- La Compania and Las Lajas Sanctuary
- Guadalupe and the Cathedral of Mexico City
- Four Great American Churches
- La Sagrada Familia
- Icelands Hallgrimskirkja
- Two Churches in Seoul, Korea
Essentials of Tai Chi and Qigong [TTC Video]
04 December 2014, 12:51
2014 | Course No 1908 | M4V, AVC1, 640x360 | English, AAC, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 11.43GB
If you’ve ever seen a group of people moving in exquisitely graceful dance-like exercises in your local park, gym, or community center, you have witnessed the ancient Chinese arts of tai chi (taiji) and qigong. These ordinary people are improving their health, strength, balance, concentration, and mental well-being—and they are having fun while doing it! Best of all, you can enjoy all these benefits yourself, regardless of your current level of physical fitness.
Tai chi is a philosophy of balance and a pinnacle of the martial arts, known as tai chi chuan (or taijiquan), which means “the ultimate martial art.” Qigong, which is traditionally studied alongside tai chi, means “energy exercise.” Together, these two disciplines are transforming the way people take care of themselves. No need for high-intensity workouts that focus on a limited set of muscles and leave you feeling drained. Instead there is a better, centuries-old way to exercise that has these advantages:
- The slow-motion moves of tai chi and qigong utilize more of your muscles than other exercises, giving you a total-body workout.
- Tai chi and qigong are meditation in motion. You lose yourself in the rhythmic flow of the forms. Anxiety and the cares of daily life dissolve away.
- The documented medical effects of tai chi and qigong include improved heart, lung, bone, and mental health, and an enhanced immune system.
- Tai chi and qigong require no equipment. You can do them anywhere and need only enough space “for an ox to lie down,” as the traditional expression puts it.
- People of all ages enjoy tai chi and qigong, while the low intensity of the poses makes them especially well suited for older people.
Essentials of Tai Chi and Qigong is a complete introduction to the practice, history, benefits, and philosophy of these immensely rewarding activities. In 24 half-hour lessons, you learn the fundamentals of tai chi and qigong from an internationally renowned tai chi champion and trainer, David-Dorian Ross, who has been practicing tai chi for more than 35 years.
No other presentation of these venerable arts is as comprehensive and enjoyable. Unfailingly friendly and helpful, Mr. Ross explains each movement in easy-to-follow steps. He has a gift for anticipating a beginner’s questions, leaving no doubt about how you should be positioned for each pose.
And where other video products exist that emphasize mimicking an instructor’s choreography, which can end in boredom or burnout, this course is a multi-layered combination of practical instruction aimed at physical and mental health, together with deep insight into how to motivate and enrich movement and mindfulness in your own life, using the best of qigong and tai chi.
Those already experienced in tai chi and qigong will gain an unprecedented scope of understanding and will find Mr. Ross’s mindset and detailed instructions invaluable for refining their own skills. And his presentation of background topics, such as Chinese philosophy, medicine, and martial arts history, will enrich the practice of tai chi and qigong for everyone.
Master the World’s Most Popular Tai Chi Routine
Each lesson of Essentials of Tai Chi and Qigong starts with a standing qigong exercise to get you energized. In the middle, you perform an easy tai chi movement to get you into the flow. You conclude each lesson with a posture from the Yang family short form, the best known of the different tai chi styles. The 24-movement Yang family short form, often called simply the short form, is the most widely recognized and performed tai chi routine in the world. When you see tai chi practitioners in the park—from Beijing to San Francisco to Paris—they are most likely doing the short form. By mastering one segment of the short form in each lesson, you will be able to join them, and even step out on your own, in no time!
The short form includes such memorable movements as Parting the Wild Horse’s Mane, White Crane Spreads Wings, and Waving Hands Like Clouds. The names are mnemonics to help you remember the graceful shapes you create as you take a step, turn, raise your arms, and then move forward, back, or to the side, making a distinctive figure depending on the movement. One posture beautifully merges with the next, with moves that are the foundation for many other tai chi routines.
You also learn about four other family styles of tai chi, as well as personal modifications you can make so that tai chi and qigong will work for you, no matter what your level of fitness or flexibility. You even investigate rudimentary weapons exercises, as well as a two-person exercise of tai chi, called push hands, that you play with a partner.
Get in Balance and Improve Your Health
Studies by Harvard Medical School and other research centers show that tai chi and qigong have a wide range of health benefits. These include:
- Blood pressure and cholesterol: Tai chi and qigong are good for your heart, with effects including lowered blood pressure and improved levels of cholesterol.
- Weight loss: Tai chi burns calories at a surprisingly high rate and reduces stress, making weight loss easier. It is also an excellent activity for people who are overweight.
- Healthy back: One of the principles of tai chi and qigong is proper body alignment, which leads to good posture. The practice also helps control and relieve back pain.
- Managing chronic disease: Tai chi and qigong are an effective adjunct to standard medical therapies for chronic diseases, helping you manage symptoms and stay healthier.
- Better balance: Even simple tai chi and qigong poses improve balance, reducing the risk of falls for older people and those with neurological problems.
Balance also encompasses the way you lead your life, both at home and at work. We are all familiar with the competing demands on our time and attention that produce stress. Practicing tai chi and qigong can help resolve these tensions—not by making them disappear, but by putting them in perspective and making them manageable. Whenever life is in balance, everything works better. This inner harmony is represented by the ancient Chinese yin-yang symbol, and you will be intrigued to learn how completely this idea of balanced opposites permeates Chinese philosophy, medicine, and martial arts—and how tai chi epitomizes the best of those traditions, bringing them together for you in ways that are eminently practical, and potentially life-changing.
Take a Journey of Health and Fulfillment
Impressively graceful, Mr. Ross looks like he was born to do Chinese martial arts. But it’s inspiring to know that he was never athletic growing up; that as an adult he couldn’t sit still long enough to meditate in a seated posture, yet he fell in love with the moving meditation of tai chi; and that he has gone on to win the highest awards ever given to an American for international tai chi performance.
There’s no reason you can’t take a similar journey of health and fulfillment. “The best way to begin,” says this consummate practitioner and guide, “is to find a joy in the basic rhythms. All you have to do is put one foot forward and start.” Take that step and experience the joy of movement yourself with Essentials of Tai Chi and Qigong.
- The Snake and the Crane
- First Steps in a Journey
- Harmony and Balance
- The Ultimate Martial Art
- The Five Families of Tai Chi Practice
- Qigong and the Five Animal Frolics
- Energy Exercise: A Branch of Chinese Medicine
- The First Pillar of Practice: Forms
- The Second Pillar: Push Hands for Two
- The Third Pillar: Standing Meditation
- Benefits to the Heart and Immune System
- A Healthy Weight and a Healthy Mind
- Tai Chi Legends: Stories of the Masters
- Reading the Tai Chi Classics
- A Superior Workout: Use More of Your Muscles
- Eight Pieces of Brocade and a Better Back
- Tai Chi Weapons: When Hands Are Not Empty
- Using the Mind: Inner Organizing Principles
- Mental and Physical Flow
- Creating Space for Choices
- Flow at Work: When Business Is in Balance
- Energy Flow in Your Surroundings
- Taking Practice Deeper
- The Evolution of Tai Chi