The Harvard Classics

Get a world-class, time-tested, classical education.
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  • Lectures 16
  • Contents Video: 34 mins
    Other: 32 mins
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 4/2014 English

Course Description

Have you ever wanted to understand what's so special about Plato, Homer, or Aristotle? Do you wish you were more familiar with the great writers and thinkers of the past, but don't know where to begin? What difference would it make to you if you could apply the insights and wisdom of yesterday's great thinkers and leaders to your life today?

This course is designed to give you a world-class classical education.

Using the world-renowned Harvard Classics (first compiled in 1909) as a basis, this course is a guided tour through the greatest works of philosophy, ethics, literature, drama, history, and more.

In summary, this course will help you to grasp and apply some of the greatest thinking, writing, and learning that humanity has produced. If you have ever wanted the benefits of a classical education but never had the opportunity, or if you simply want to delve deeper into an area of curiosity, this course is your next step.

With new lectures and resources being regularly added, this is a lifetime resource for culture, learning, and enjoyment.

You do not need to own copies of the Harvard Classics in order to take this course; the early lectures will show you where you can get hold of copies cheaply, or for free.

What are the requirements?

  • A good understanding of spoken and written English is required.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • To understand and enjoy the world's greatest thinking and writing.
  • To deepen your understanding of philosophy, ethics, and literature.
  • To be able to apply yesterday's wisdom and insights to life today.

What is the target audience?

  • This course is most suitable for those with at least a bachelor's degree. However, anyone who is interested in the Harvard Classics and willing to think, read, and learn is suited to this course.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Introduction to the Harvard Classics: What, Why, and How
What are the Harvard Classics, and why read them?

What are the Harvard Classics, and why should we read them? This introductory article gets us started.


Where to find copies of the Harvard Classics in various forms; hard copy, second hand, and electronic. This lecture contains a zip file for you to download with public domain copies of the complete Harvard Classics in kindle format.

How to read the Harvard Classics: Reading plans for every type of schedule
Section 2: The Volumes of the Harvard Classics

This section covers the first 5 volumes of the Harvard Classics, which include:


This written lecture summarises volumes 1-5.

Volumes 6-10

A summary of volumes 6-10 of the Harvard Classics, including greek tragedies, Cicero, Adam Smith and Robert Burns.


A summary of volumes 11-15 of the Harvard Classics, including Darwin, Virgil, Don Quixote and the Pilgrim's Progress.


A summary of volumes 11-15 of the Harvard Classics, including Darwin, Virgil, Don Quixote and the Pilgrim's Progress.


Tales from a Thousand and One Arabian Nights, the Divine Comedy, and Modern English Drama feature in this summary of volumes 16-20 of the Harvard Classics.


Tales from a Thousand and One Arabian Nights, the Divine Comedy, and Modern English Drama feature in this summary of volumes 16-20 of the Harvard Classics.

Volumes 21-25

The Odyssey, and works by John Stuart Mill, feature in this summary of volumes 21-25 of the Harvard Classics.


This summary of volumes 26-30 of the Harvard Classics includes continental drama and classic scientific papers.


Classic works of philosophy, classic essays, and essays about voyages and travels feature in volumes 31-35 of the Harvard Classics, summarised in this lecture.

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Instructor Biography

Best Thought Ltd., Management consultants

A UK-based management consultancy, Best Thought Ltd., is uniquely positioned to teach a diverse methodology drawn from chaos theory, non-linear strategy, behavioural economics, productivity, organisational leadership, ethics, jazz improvisation (one of our consultants holds the ALCM diploma in jazz piano) and best-practice management. We have a passion for helping organisations become twice as simple and twice as smart.

We bring a tri-sector perspective to the table, having worked within charitable, public, and private sectors in the past (including leading a team of researchers, engineers, and designers to produce a neurosurgical device prototype). The Best Thought team will give you experienced coaching and engaging teaching. Let's get started!

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