The Great Courses Plus ‘Top 10’ Kick-Starts 2017 with Learning from History and Building a Better You

‘What America Is Learning’ monthly chart tracks the most popular streamed lectures from the arts & sciences, self-improvement, and history

CHANTILLY, Va.--()--The first top ten chart of 2017 from The Great Courses Plus shows Americans seeking insight from history as well as studying ways they can self-improve—including courses spanning cognitive therapy and tai chi. The subscription-based streaming service from the premier lifelong learning provider offers over 4,000 hours of lectures.

Fully half of this month’s top ten are devoted to learning from the past with lectures exploring Earth’s amazing 4.54 billion-year history; Europe on the cusp of the Black Death; Jesus’ role in shaping Western civilization; a look at Native American culture; and finally, a ‘Big History’ approach to two of the world’s oldest cities.

Subscribers also made use of courses on self-improvement. “Cognitive Behavioral Foundations,” the third most-watched lecture of 2016, moves to the top of the list in January. It’s joined by a similarly themed “Take Control of Your Automatic Brain” with strategies on how to overcome fear, anger, depression and whatever else holds you back. New to the chart this month is a tai chi primer from David-Dorian Ross, a U.S. gold medalist in competitive tai chi who is collaborating with Harvard Medical School to study the benefits of martial arts in the workplace. The popular lecture on how to draw, as well as an appreciation of our National Parks system round out the top ten.

“The January top courses reflect our users’ desire to better understand the world around them by revisiting key periods in world history,” said Ed Leon, Chief Brand Officer at The Great Courses. “Not surprisingly, many Plus users are also pursuing New Year’s resolutions to channel emotions and energy in positive directions in order to impact their overall happiness.”

Here are January’s top ten lectures from The Great Courses Plus:

  1. Cognitive Behavioral Foundations (from the course Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Techniques for Retraining Your Brain)
    An introduction to three patients training their minds to improve motivation, manage emotions and interpersonal skills, as taught by Professor Jason M. Satterfield, Ph.D.
  2. Yellowstone: Microcosm of the National Parks (from the course Wonders of the National Parks: A Geology of North America)
    The tour of North America’s National Parks begins with Yellowstone, the breathtaking landscape that inspired the conservation and access efforts, as taught by Professor Ford Cochran.
  3. The Snake and the Crane (from the course Essentials of Tai Chi and Qigong)
    An introduction to the standard Yang family short form movements with practical tips for developing your own tai chi routine, as taught by Professor David-Dorian Ross.
  4. An Introduction to Drawing (from the course How to Draw)
    The first lecture in the art series covers the history of drawing and common misconceptions about talent and genius, as taught by Professor David Brody.
  5. Take Control of Your Automatic Brain (from the course Outsmart Yourself: Brain-Based Strategies to a Better You)
    A deeper look at the disconnect in our brains between actions and our consciousness of those actions, as taught by Professor Peter M. Vishton, Ph.D.
  6. History on a Geological Scale (from the course Introduction to Paleontology)
    The series opens with an overview of the 4.54 billion-year history of Earth starting with the earliest known bacteria, as taught by Stuart Sutherland, Ph.D.
  7. Europe on the Brink of the Black Death (from the course The Black Death: The World's Most Devastating Plague)
    A guide to the religious, economic and political structures of mid-14th-century Europe just prior to the onset of the Black Plague, as taught by Professor Dorsey Armstrong, Ph.D.
  8. Jesus-The Man Who Became God (from the course How Jesus Became God)
    The series begins with a look at how the divinity of Jesus was first conceived, a significant question affecting Western civilization, as taught by Professor Bart D. Ehrman, Ph.D., M.Div.
  9. Native America: A Story of Survival (from the course Native Peoples of North America)
    A tour of the original and still present cultures in North America separates fact from fiction, as taught by Daniel M. Cobb, Ph.D.
  10. A Tale of Two Ancient Cities (from the course The Big History of Civilizations)
    The guide to Big History begins with success stories of two of the world’s oldest cities, Jericho and Anau, as taught by Craig G. Benjamin, Ph.D.

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About The Great Courses Plus

The Great Courses Plus is a video streaming subscription service offering members unlimited access to more than 8,000 lectures online via connected television and mobile devices for a periodic fee. New members can sample the service without risk for a one-month free trial. Learn more at

About The Great Courses

The Great Courses is the nation’s leading developer and marketer of premium-quality media for lifelong learning and personal enrichment. Delivered in engaging, expertly produced video and audio (in convenient online, digital, video on demand and disc formats), these carefully crafted courses provide access to a world of knowledge from the most accomplished professors and experts. The content-rich, proprietary library spans more than 600 series with more than 14,000 lectures designed to expand horizons, deepen understanding, and foster epiphanies in the arts, science, literature, self-improvement, history, music, philosophy, theology, economics, mathematics, business and professional advancement. Creating unique learning experiences since 1990, The Great Courses is the premier brand of The Teaching Company, LLC of Chantilly, Virginia, which is owned by Los Angeles-based Brentwood Associates. More information can be found at


For The Great Courses
Kaitlen Murphy, 310-824-9000

Release Summary

The first top ten chart of 2017 from The Great Courses Plus shows Americans seeking insight from history and studying ways to self-improve. The streaming service tracks "What America is Learning."


For The Great Courses
Kaitlen Murphy, 310-824-9000