I remember "the explorers" as being a big thing that was taught in my school system in elementary school and we dutifully learned all the names of the European explorers and where they went, etc. My goodness, we were parochial in our approach to history. So, what was fascinating for me was the scope of these lectures. They went back further into history, covering the ancient Greeks, and they were more global, not limited to European white males. Each lecture covered one explorer or exploration telling the story of the exploration and then commenting on its significance, why it was a pivotal moment human history.
It was a long haul but really not that difficult to follow and since he spends a lot of time talking about the world economy in the 20th and 21st centuries actually quite helpful in helping me understand the world I live in--just don't ask me to recap anything that I have just listened to!
The lecturer is well-spoken and knowledgeable, so it isn't at all hard to sit through all 48 lectures. Some of the lecturers like to dazzle you with their brilliance and flaunt their immense working vocabularies; Herreid has parked his ego at the door and in doing so, is able to present a huge among of information in a relatively short amount of time, clearly and concisely--and without boring you to death.
Quick review for a quick read. This isn't the first "Great Courses" audiobook I've listened to, but it was one of the ones I was most disappointed by. A shame because the topic is very fascinating in terms of how self-control is regulated by the brain. It touches on several topics with support from several studies: brain injury and how it affects self control, mental energy and fatigue, dietary influences in brain energy, making decisions, how fatigue factors into difficult topics, self control and finances, etc. I found that I wasn't really the biggest fan of the audio lecturer. His dictation didn't feel immersive/enthusiastic about the topic and the transitions between topics weren't as smooth from lecture to lecture as I would've hoped. I did have a few takeaways for the knowledge base and topics this series of lecture covered, but not enough for the time and energy that it took for me to move through this audio course (which was well over 3 hours).
Overall score: 2/5 stars.
How sweet! An item on my wish list showed up as a Daily Deal. It is so infrequently that they feature a title that I am interested in. Lots of suspense and romance but not much that is esoteric or otherwise off the beaten track.
But, that aside, I'm already well into it and it will be a good balm for the spate of spring cleaning that has begun around here. The lecturer has a pleasant voice, knows her topic and has an engaging style.
UPDATE: Finished. So sorry to have to move on. Curzan is so easy to listen to and her subject is fascinating. As a grammarian, she is practical and realistic not pendantic and inflexible. She understands that there is a difference between spoken language and formal written language, that language and usage are constantly changing.
If you just want to learn the rules, buy a style book such as Strunk & White or Brian Gardner or the Chicago Style Manual and just follow their rules. If you want to understand what makes our language tick and where these rules have come from, listen to Anne Curzan.
Rating: 4 and half stars