Discussion Groups

Thinking like an Economist: A Guide to Rational Decision Making
A fascinating look at the hidden role of Economics

Join Mary Cruise and Jeffrey Jones in the never ending discussion of economics. Again we have gone to The Great Courses and selected a DVD set that illustrates the essence of today's economy. "To think like an economist is to see the world in a unique way. Is it rational to commit a crime? Is it optimal to maintain an insurance policy on a car that is worth almost nothing? In this course, we will develop a tool kit to help you view the world through the economist's lens, enabling you to better understand the world around you and to improve your day-to-day decision making."

The titles are:

  • The Economist's Tool Kit - 6 Principles
  • The Economist's Tool Kit - 3 Core Concepts
  • The Myth of "True Value"
  • Incentives and Optimal Choice
  • False Incentives, Real Harm
  • The Economics of Ignorance
  • Playing the Odds—Reason in a Risky World
  • The Economics of Information
  • A Matter of Time—Predicting Future Values
  • Think Again—Evaluating Risk in Purchasing
  • Behavioral Economics—What are we Thinking?
  • Acting Like an Economist

This DVD set is by Dr. Randall Bartlett, a Professor of Economics and Director of the Urban Studies Program at Smith College. A graduate of Occidental College, he earned both his master's degree and doctorate from Stanford University and taught at Williams College and the University of Washington before joining the Smith faculty.

A highly skilled teacher, Professor Bartlett has twice won all-college teaching awards at Smith and was the 2003 recipient of the college's Distinguished Professor Award. he has served at both the department and college levels as a teaching mentor. Professor Bartlett presents each fall a wildly popular financial literacy lecture series to students, faculty, and seniors in his community.

Facilitators: Jeffrey Jones and Mary Cruise, OLLI Members

6 Mondays: February 10, 17, 24; March 3, 10, 17
10 am - 12 pm
Extended Education Building, EE 1205
Fee: $15
NLLL 257 Section 01, Course No. 22867

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The World Was Never the Same: Events that Changed History

Continuing from our Fall Semester we go down memory lane with Professor J. Rufus Fears, Ph.D., University of Oklahoma. The DVD set by The Great Courses offers a selection of 36 key events that impact the world and definitely should not be forgotten.

"History is made and defined by landmark events—moments that irrevocably changed the course of human civilization. While many of us are taught that anonymous social, political, and economic forces are the driving factors behind events of the past, acclaimed historian Professor J. Rufus Fears believed that it's individuals, acting alone or together, who alter the course of history."

Each sesion will cover two events and are listed below:

  • Louis Pasteur Cures a Child (1885)
  • Two Brothers take a Flight (1903)
  • The Archduke Makes a State Visit (1914)
  • One Night in Petrograd (1917)
  • The Day the Stock Market Crashed (1929)
  • Hitler Becomes Chancellor of Germany (1933)
  • Franklin Roosevelt Becomes President (1933)
  • The Atomic Bomb is Dropped (1945)
  • Mao Zedong Begins His Long March (1934)
  • John F. Kennedy is Assassinated (1963)
  • Dr. King Leads a March (1963)
  • September 11, 2001

Perhaps the greatest reward of these lectures is that they provide fuel for further thought and discussion. This will conclude the series.

Facilitators: Mary Cruise & Jeffrey Jones, OLLI Members
6 Mondays: February 10, 17, 24; March 3, 10, 17 • 1:30 - 3:30 pm
Extended Education Building EE-1205
Fee: $15
NLLL 256 Section 01, Course No. 22865

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The Thursday Morning Book Club
A reading and discussion group. Free to OLLI members.

The Thursday Morning Book Club offers four books for your reading and discussion pleasure. Discussion may go in many directions and will be left to the interest of the group. However, some questions that may interest are: How well has the author made her/his point(s)? What surprised you about a character(s) or the ending? How does the story relate to today's ideas and life in the united States?

In order for yo to have time to access the books and read, we begin in February and end in May. We talk over light refreshments (bring your favorite beverage and Discussion Leaders will bring a snack). We look forward to your joining us.

Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler
(Baltimore woman disappears during family vacation)
Thursday, February 13, 10 am - 12 pm
Discussion Leader, Elanor Van Natta, OLLI Member

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
(Exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem)
Thursday, March 13, 10 am - 12 pm
Discussion Leader, Valerie Dingwall, OLLI Member

The Secret of Mary Bowers by Lois Leveen
(Freed African American slave returns to Virginia at the onset of the Civil War to spy on the Confederates)
Thursday, April 10, 10 am - 12 pm
Discussion Leader, Eula Slater, OLLI Member

Short Stories of Mark Twain
Thursday, May 8, 10 am - 12 pm
Discussion Leader, All Participants

4 Thursdays, February 13, March 13, April 10, May 8
10 am - 12 pm
Extended Education Building, EE 1210
Fee: Free to OLLI members.
Please register.
NLLL 154 Section 01, Course No. 22838

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Living with Integrity

Ask most people if they are moral and ethical and they will say "yes." Ask them what it means to be moral and ethical and their answers will grow vaguer. Any honest discussion of real-life dilemmas—the struggle to keep commitments, the emotionally vexing art of forgiving a grievous wrong—leads us to the realization that living with integrity means facing a nonstop series of complex challenges on a daily basis.

Since time immemorial, philosophers, religious figures, and political thinkers grappled with the question, "What is the correct thing to do?" This course is designed to help us identify our personal core of integrity and to discover methods of engaging it regularly in our everyday decisions. The course draws from ancient wisdom that continues to inform and inspire humanity, sharpens awareness of issues, and empowers a better today and even brighter tomorrow.

Monday, March 24, 2014
, 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.

Monday, April 7, 2014
, 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.

Topics in future semesters will include Charity, Parents, Lying, and Commitments.

An optional textbook for the course may be ordered at the first meeting for $40. Textbook includes lesson follow-along texts, learning activities, and additional readings.

Instructor/Facilitator: Rabbi Chaim I. Sperlin

2 Mondays: March 24 and April 7
1:30 - 3:30 pm
Extended Education Building, EE 1205
Fee: $10
NLLL 155 Section 02, Course No. 22887

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