Five Feet of Books

, Jul 12, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Thinking of progress. "During his days as Harvard's influential president, Dr. Charles W. Eliot made a frequent assertion: If you were to spend just 15 minutes a day reading the right books, a quantity that could fit on a five-foot shelf, you could give yourself a proper liberal education." In 1909, these books were published as 'The Harvard Classics'. When I was a child, they were available in cheap paperback, and my parents could afford them. Today, they're available for free on the internet, here. If it's even remotely true that we can give ourselves "a proper libveral education" (and my own experience suggests it is) then the world will be a different (and better) place in 50 years.

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