Classics of Russian Literature [TTC Video]

Classics of Russian Literature [TTC Video]
Classics of Russian Literature [TTC Video] by Irwin Weil
Course No 2830 | AVI, XviD, 640x432 | MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 36x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 5.24GB

Russian literature famously probes the depths of the human soul. These 36 half-hour lectures delve into this extraordinary body of work under the guidance of Professor Irwin Weil of Northwestern University, an award-winning teacher at Northwestern University and a legend among educators in the United States and Russia.

Professor Weil introduces you to such masterpieces as Tolstoy's War and Peace, Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, Pushkin's Eugene Onegin, Gogol's Dead Souls, Chekhov's The Seagull, Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago, and many other great novels, stories, plays, and poems by Russian authors.

You will study more than 40 works by a dozen writers, from Aleksandr Pushkin in the 19th century to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in the 20th. You will also investigate the origin of Russian literature itself, which traces to powerful epic poetry and beautiful renderings of the Bible into Slavic during the Middle Ages.

All of these works are treated in translation, but Professor Weil does something very unusual for a literature-in-translation course. For almost every passage that he quotes in English, he reads an extract in the original Russian, with a fluent accent and an actor's sense of drama.

You may not understand Russian, but there is no mistaking the expressive intonation, rhythm, and feeling with which Professor Weil performs these passages. At one point, reciting verses from Russia's most famous poet, he advises: "Listen to it once as a piece of music, and you will sense the linguistic genius of Pushkin."

Classics of Russian Literature explores Russian masterpieces at all levels—characters, plots, scenes, and sometimes even single sentences, including:

  • Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, which has one of the most famous first sentences in all of literature, setting the stage for a novel that probes the tragic dimension of a subject—adultery—that had traditionally been treated as satire.
  • Gogol's Dead Souls, with a concluding passage beloved to all Russians, in which the hero flees the scene of his fiendishly clever swindle in a troika—a fast carriage drawn by three horses—to the author's invocation, "Oh Rus' [Russia], whither art thou hurtling?"
  • Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, whose long chapter "The Grand Inquisitor" is a gripping, haunting, mystifying parable that is often studied on its own, but that is all the more powerful in this great novel, which addresses faith, doubt, redemption, and other timeless themes.

The Golden Age and After

The central core of the course covers the great golden age of Russian literature, a period in the 19th century when Russia's writers equaled or surpassed the achievements of the much older literary cultures of Western Europe. The age commenced with Pushkin, developed with the fantastic and grotesque tales of Gogol', and grew to full flower with Dostoevsky and Tolstoy—who at the time were considered in Europe to be lesser writers than their talented contemporary Turgenev. As the 20th century approached, Chekhov's exquisitely understated plays and stories symbolized the sunset of the golden age.

Gorky straddled the next transformation, linking the turmoil preceding the Russian Revolution with the political oppression that affected all artists in the newly established Soviet Union from the 1920s on. You examine the brilliant revolutionary poet Maiakovsky; the novelist Sholokhov, who portrayed the revolution as a tragedy for the Cossack people; the satirist Zoshchenko, who used Soviet society as food for parody; and Pasternak, who produced beautiful poems and a single extraordinary novel. Your survey ends with Solzhenitsyn, who became the most influential literary voice speaking out against the tyranny of the Soviet system.

Inside, Outside, and Behind the Scenes

Professor Weil uses intriguing details to bring these authors and their works to life. For example, readers of English translations are probably unaware of the symbolic names that Russian writers routinely give their characters, names that are especially evocative in Russian:

  • Roskol'nikov, the protagonist of Crime and Punishment, is named after the term for "schism," signifying a person who is separating himself from society. Dostoevsky gives other characters names that mean "mud puddle" and "intelligence," again, representing the person's inner nature.
  • Iurii Zhivago, the hero of Doctor Zhivago, has a family name that is an older Russian form of the word "alive." Pasternak uses a grammatical case that emphasizes the animate nature of the noun, signifying life as it should be experienced.

In addition to such internal details that enrich your understanding of the text, Professor Weil also points you to outside resources, from films and operas to recommended attractions that you may wish to see if you travel to Russia:

  • In order to get a sense of the powerful rhythms of Pushkin's masterpiece Eugene Onegin, readers who don't know Russian can turn to Tchaikovsky's famous operatic adaptation, which magnificently catches the meter and texture of the poem.
  • A trip to Moscow should include a visit to Tolstoy's house, now preserved as a museum. There you will get a vivid sense of the contradictions in this man's life—in the marked contrast between the comfortable Victorian furnishings preferred by his wife and family and the Spartan austerity in which he closeted himself to write, a style that came increasingly to define his life.

Professor Weil also recounts behind-the-scenes stories, many of which relate to his own experiences in Russia. These anecdotes add a new dimension to your appreciation of the works covered in this course:

  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Solzhenitsyn's moving novella about life in a Soviet forced labor camp, might never have appeared in print had not the mercurial Soviet premier Khrushchev found the story spellbinding. After reading the manuscript, Khrushchev admitted that it was one of the few literary works that he had managed to finish without sticking himself with pins to stay awake. The resulting publication stunned the Soviet reading public and the world.
  • "The History of an Illness," a short story by Zoshchenko, gently lampoons the Soviet health care system, with which Professor Weil has personal experience from his visits to the country. He describes some of the maddening features of Soviet medicine, including a propensity to treat every illness with vodka.
Classics of Russian Literature [TTC Video]

The Aging Brain [TTC Audio]

The Aging Brain [TTC Audio]
The Aging Brain [TTC Audio] by Thad Polk
Course No 1633 | MP3@64 kbps + PDF Guidebook | 6 hrs 18 mins | 260.98MB

We're all getting older every day, and scientific research has shown that starting in our 20s, some brain functions begin a linear decline. But is old age all doom and gloom?

Not at all! While it's true that some functions in the aging brain decline, neuroscientists have discovered that many other brain functions remain stable - or even improve - as we age. Furthermore, nurture plays as significant a role as nature, and there are a number of strategies you can implement to stave off declining brain function, including:

  • Incorporating physical activity into your routine
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Maintaining a vibrant social life
  • Reducing your stress

The science behind the aging brain tells a fascinating - and often counterintuitive - story. Is "aging" a disease or merely a natural occurrence that produces disease-like symptoms? If humans are biologically programmed to survive and thrive, why do we age at all? Is it possible (or even desirable) to "cure" aging altogether?

Delve into these questions and more in The Aging Brain. Taught by a neuroscientist and award-winning professor at the University of Michigan, these 12 eye-opening lectures will give you a wealth of new insights into what happens to the brain over time - as well as strategies to mitigate the effects of aging and enhance your quality of life into old age.

With a mix of scientific research and practical applications, Professor Polk brings cutting-edge science to life. He takes you down to the cellular and even molecular levels of the brain to show you why certain functions decline, how some aspects of brain aging are under genetic control, and what you can do to prolong your health and keep your mind sharp. Aging affects us all, but you have some control over how it affects you.

If I Could Tell You Just One Thing: Encounters with Remarkable People and Their Most Valuable Advice [Audiobook]

If I Could Tell You Just One Thing: Encounters with Remarkable People and Their Most Valuable Advice [Audiobook]
If I Could Tell You Just One Thing: Encounters with Remarkable People and Their Most Valuable Advice [Audiobook] by Richard Reed, read by the Author
2016 | MP3@64 kbps | 5 hrs 29 mins | 156.27MB

Richard Reed built Innocent Drinks from a smoothie stall on a street corner to one of the biggest brands in Britain. He credits his success to four brilliant pieces of advice, each given to him just when he needed them most.

Ever since, it has been Richard's habit, whenever he meets somebody he admires, to ask them for their best piece of advice. If they could tell him just one thing, what would it be?

Richard has collected pearls of wisdom from some of the most remarkable, inspiring and game-changing people in the world - in business, tech, philanthropy, politics, sport, art, spirituality, medicine, film, and design.

From Hollywood greats like Judi Dench and Richard Curtis, to entrepreneurial legends like Richard Branson and Simon Cowell; from sports stars and TV personalities like Andy Murray and James Cordon to political activists and born survivors like Mandela's Comrades and Katie Piper, Richard has picked some of the world's most interesting brains to give you a lesson in how to live, how to love, how to create and how to succeed.

Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built [Audiobook]

Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built [Audiobook]
Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built [Audiobook] by Duncan Clark, read by Jim Meskimen
2016 | MP3@64 kbps + EPUB | 9 hrs 9 mins | 249.87MB

An engrossing insider's account of how a teacher built one of the world's most valuable companies - rivaling Walmart and Amazon - and forever reshaped the global economy.

In just a decade and a half, Jack Ma, a man from modest beginnings who started out as an English teacher, founded Alibaba and built it into one of the world's largest companies, an e-commerce empire on which hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers depend. Alibaba's $25 billion IPO in 2014 was the largest global IPO ever. A Rockefeller of his age who is courted by CEOs and presidents around the world, Jack is an icon for China's booming private sector and the gatekeeper to hundreds of millions of middle-class consumers.

Duncan Clark first met Jack in 1999 in the small apartment where Jack founded Alibaba. Granted unprecedented access to a wealth of new material including exclusive interviews, Clark draws on his own experience as an early advisor to Alibaba and two decades in China chronicling the Internet's impact on the country to create an authoritative, compelling narrative account of Alibaba's rise.

How did Jack overcome his humble origins and early failures to achieve massive success with Alibaba? How did he outsmart rival entrepreneurs from China and Silicon Valley? Can Alibaba maintain its 80 percent market share? As it forges ahead into finance and entertainment, are there limits to Alibaba's ambitions? How does the Chinese government view its rise? Will Alibaba expand further overseas, including in the US?

Clark tells Alibaba's tale in the context of China's momentous economic and social changes, illuminating an unlikely corporate titan as never before.

Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations [Audiobook]

Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations [Audiobook]
Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations [Audiobook] by Dan Ariely, read by Simon Jones
2016 | MP3@64 kbps + EPUB | 2 hrs 37 mins | 71.53MB

Best-selling author Dan Ariely reveals fascinating new insights into motivation - showing that the subject is far more complex than we ever imagined.

Every day we work hard to motivate ourselves, the people we live with, the people who work for and do business with us. In this way much of what we do can be defined as being motivators. From the boardroom to the living room, our role as motivators is complex, and the more we try to motivate partners and children, friends and coworkers, the clearer it becomes that the story of motivation is far more intricate and fascinating than we've assumed.

Payoff investigates the true nature of motivation, our partial blindness to the way it works, and how we can bridge this gap. With studies that range from Intel to a kindergarten classroom, Ariely digs deep to find the root of motivation - how it works and how we can use this knowledge to approach important choices in our own lives. Along the way he explores intriguing questions such as: Can giving employees bonuses harm productivity? Why is trust so crucial for successful motivation? What are our misconceptions about how to value our work? How does your sense of your mortality impact your motivation?

Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach [Audiobook]

Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach [Audiobook]
Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach [Audiobook] by Martha C Nussbaum, read by Naomi Jacobson
2012 | MP3@64 kbps + PDF | 6 hrs 12 mins | 170.92MB

If a country's Gross Domestic Product increases each year, but so does the percentage of its people deprived of basic education, health care, and other opportunities, is that country really making progress? If we rely on conventional economic indicators, can we ever grasp how the world's billions of individuals are really managing?

In this powerful critique, Martha Nussbaum argues that our dominant theories of development have given us policies that ignore our most basic human needs for dignity and self-respect. For the past 25 years, Nussbaum has been working on an alternate model to assess human development: the Capabilities Approach. She and her colleagues begin with the simplest of questions: What is each person actually able to do and to be? What real opportunities are available to them?

The Capabilities Approach to human progress has until now been expounded only in specialized works. Creating Capabilities, however, affords anyone interested in issues of human development a wonderfully lucid account of the structure and practical implications of an alternate model. It demonstrates a path to justice for both humans and nonhumans, weighs its relevance against other philosophical stances, and reveals the value of its universal guidelines even as it acknowledges cultural difference. In our era of unjustifiable inequity, Nussbaum shows how - by attending to the narratives of individuals and grasping the daily impact of policy - we can enable people everywhere to live full and creative lives.

The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future [Audiobook]

The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future [Audiobook]
The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future [Audiobook] by Vali Nasr, read by Fleet Cooper
2013 | M4B@64 kbps + EPUB | 8 hrs 47 mins | 239.54MB

Profiled on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, Iranian-born scholar Vali Nasr has become one of America's leading commentators on current events in the Middle East, admired and welcomed by both media and government for his "concise and coherent" analysis (Wall Street Journal). In this "smart, clear and timely" book (Washington Post), Nasr brilliantly dissects the political and theological antagonisms within Islam. He provides a unique and objective understanding of the 1,400-year bitter struggle between Shias and Sunnis, and sheds crucial light on its modern-day consequences-from the nuclear posturing of Iran's President Ahmadinejad to the recent U.S.-enabled shift toward Shia power in Iraq and Hezbollah's continued dominance in Lebanon.