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How to Stand Out Academically: Part 2

After the response from our last post, we thought we would share some more resources with you on how to expand your academic knowledge. Again, a lot of these cover areas of Philosophy, Politics and Economics, but plenty have wider applicability too! Check out the resources and see what you think!

This post covers Podcasts and Books you might find helpful for extending your studies at school. They are all resources that I have personally found to be helpful:


(1) In Our Time

Helpful for: Sciences, History, Art, Music, Religious Studies, Theology, Philosophy, Politics, General Interest

A BBC Radio Four production, each episode takes a thinker of discipline and aims to shed light on it through discussion with a panel of world experts. Whether it’s History, Philososphy, Science or Art that interests you, you’ll find accessible introductions and compelling discussions on this podcast!

Find the Podcast here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/in-our-time-with-melvyn-bragg/id73330895?mt=2

Find the archives here:

  • Philosophy: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/archive/philosophy

  • Science: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/archive/science

  • History: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/archive/history

  • Culture: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/archive/culture

  • Religion: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/in-our-time/archive/religion

(2) Oxford General Philosophy Lectures

Helpful for: Philosophy

These are the Oxford 1st Year General Philosophy Lectures that I went to, they’re really good fun, and the lecturer is very good!

Listen now: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/itunes-u/general-philosophy/id381701319

(3) Philosophy for Beginners

Helpful for: Philosophy, anyone looking to increase critical understanding

These are a great introduction to a wide range of topics in Philosophy, given as classes for those continuing education in their later years, I and many of my friends at Oxford found them very helpful!

Here's the link to listen: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/itunes-u/philosophy-for-beginners/id381704095

(4) Freakanomics

Helpful For: Economics, Psychology, Philosophy, Business Studies

You may have come across the book of the same name (link) and its sequel (link), but did you know that Stephen Dubner and Steve Levitt, the authors, also do a great Podcast?

Check it out here, it won’t disappoint: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/freakonomics-radio/id354668519?mt=2

5)The Moth

Consistently compelling and often emotionally devastating and cathartic. It’s superb.

Listen to it here: http://themoth.org/https://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-moth-podcast/id275699983



My top three recommendations are:

(1) What is the Name of This Book?

This is a great introduction to logical thinking skills and critical analysis, the fundamental building blocks of all good thought: http://www.amazon.co.uk/What-Name-This-Book-Dracula/dp/0486481980 I was recommended it before my Oxford interviews and I found it incredibly helpful. It’s good fun!

(2) Very Short Introductions

Make sure to check out the Oxford University Press: Very Short Introductions series – there is a catalogue here on the OUP web store (http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/category/academic/series/general/vsi.do). They are really good ways to get an introduction to any topic that takes your fancy. They are (as the title suggests) short but also written by experts and very easy to engage with. Maybe sample a few to help you decide what to study with us at Oxford Summer Courses?

(3) Can a Robot be Human?

The first book that got me really interested in Philosophy is this one, worth a look if you’re starting out on A-Levels and wondering if you’d like to study Philosophy at University! http://www.amazon.co.uk/Can-Robot-Human-Perplexing-Philosophy/dp/1851685316

Bonus Books

These books aren’t vital, but they are accessible and very thought provoking books that I have really enjoyed. If you are interested in Psychology, Sociology, Technology/Computing or Philosophy you’ll find these to be great reads!

The Most Human Human: What Talking with Computers Teaches Us about What It Means to Be Alive (Brian Christian)

Book – http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Most-Human-Talking-Computers/dp/0385533063

Lecture – http://www.thersa.org/events/audio-and-past-events/2011/a-defence-of-humanity-in-the-age-of-the-computer

Alone Together (Sherry Turkle)

Book – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alone-Together-Sherry-Turkle/dp/0465010210

Lecture – http://www.thersa.org/events/audio-and-past-events/2011/alone-together

Listen to the lectures first and If you like what you hear then maybe get the book! (In general this is good practice with ‘popular’ academic books. You will find yourself saving a lot of time by listening to the RSA lecture first before deciding whether or not to read it!

Ready to apply for Oxford Summer Courses?

For a once in a lifetime experience, join us for summer 2023 where you can discover over 40 academic subjects taught by expert tutors. You’ll also meet other like-minded individuals from around the world and make friends for life! Apply today and choose from 3 stunning locations; Oxford, Cambridge and London.

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Explore resources to expand your academic knowledge: podcasts like "In Our Time" and "Freakonomics," Oxford's General Philosophy Lectures, and recommended books like "What is the Name of This Book?".

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