Hi everyone, here are our recommended non-fiction DVDs for this week!

(Click on the photos to request the DVDs)

The American Mind by Great Courses:


Description: Americans pride themselves on being doers rather than thinkers, but ideas are at the very root of what it means to be an American. Behind this nation’s diverse views on religion, education, social equality, democracy, and other vital issues is a long-running intellectual debate about the right ordering of the human, natural, and divine worlds. Indeed, America is an enduring hotbed of ideas. Such great thinkers as Jonathan Edwards, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, William James, Martin Luther King, Jr., and many others engaged in lively and often contentious debate that helped mold America’s institutions and attitudes. This immensely stimulating conversation made the United States what it is today – and provides the subject for these 36 fascinating lectures. In this course, you will delve deeply into the philosophical underpinnings of the nation, forged by the Puritans and the leaders of the American Revolution.

You will also explore many other aspects of the elaborate structure that became modern America, tracing ideas in politics, religion, education, philosophy, psychology, anthropology, literature, social theory, and science – proving that Americans have a much richer intellectual tradition than generally imagined. You’ll learn about such philosophical movements as transcendentalism, pragmatism, and conservatism. You’ll study the transatlantic philosophy of the Puritans, the spiritual revival of the Great Awakening, and the passion for reason sparked by the Enlightenment. And you’ll trace the origin and evolution of America’s colleges, which have served as a battleground of ideas, sometimes in an almost literal sense.

Dewey Number: DVD 191 AM (But ask at the Circ Desk for this DVD!)

The Art of Critical Decision Making by Great Courses:


Description: Learn to approach the critical decisions in your life with a more seasoned, educated eye with this fascinating 24-lecture series that explores how individuals, groups, and organizations make effective decisions. The heart of this accessible series is a thorough examination of decision making at three key levels. First, you’ll look at decisions made at the individual level, where, among the many things you’ll learn is that intuition is more than just a gut instinct and, in fact, represents a powerful pattern recognition capability. Then, you’ll explore decisions made at the group level, where you’ll try to answer the question of whether groups are “smarter” and more capable of making critical decisions than individuals. And finally, you’ll pull back to analyze organizational decision making, in which Professor Roberto demonstrates how some organizations have encouraged and reliably performed vigilant decision making in the face of risky scenarios.

Whether you’re the head of a Fortune 500 company, a government agency, or an everyday household, you constantly make decisions important to you and those immediately around you. These lectures offer you a toolbox of practical knowledge and skills that you can apply to various decisions – whether large or small – in your everyday life and work. Professor Roberto’s lively lectures are packed with useful anecdotes, tools, and advice designed to improve your own ability to make informed decisions. As you explore the intriguing process of making a good decision, you’ll strengthen your grip on individual theories of decision making and the situations that illustrate them.

Dewey Number: DVD 658.403 ART(But ask at the Circ Desk for this DVD!)

Robotics by Great Courses:


Description: Robots. The mere word conjures up a bevy of mind-bending images pulled straight from popular science fiction tales. But robots aren’t just the stuff of entertainment. They’re real. They’re everywhere around you. And they’re transforming your life in ways you can’t imagine. In short, the future of human civilization depends on collaborative robotics: humans and machines working together. According to robotics expert and award-winning professor John Long of Vassar College, “Robots are what computers and self-propelled vehicles were to the 20th century: a technological revolution that impacts nearly every aspect of our lives, businesses, and security.” Yet for all their seen (and unseen) prevalence, robotics remains mysterious to most of us. How exactly do robots work? What does it take to build a robot that can, for a period of time, perform tasks and make decisions with little human input? What are the most revolutionary robots at work today? How do we balance the technological benefits of robots with the potential risks they pose to pre-existing ways of life? To answer these and other questions is to take an in-depth journey into an exciting world; a journey Professor Long and The Great Courses present in the 24 incredible lectures of Robotics. Using in-studio robot demonstrations, videos of other state-of-the-art robots, 3-D animations, and other amazing visual aids, Professor Long demystifies the world of robots and provides a comprehensive introduction to these intelligent machines. Whether you’re looking to grasp the hard science of how robots work or simply curious about the implications of robots for society, consider this course your official passport to an astonishing new world.

Dewey Number: DVD 629.892 ROB (But ask at the Circ Desk for this DVD!)

Have a great weekend!

Linda, SSCL

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