The Great Connections for Working and Retired Adults

The Great Connections Weekend Seminar for Working and Retired Adults

Join us in Chicago this Fall for…

“The Great Connections” Weekend Seminar for Working and Retired Adults
Our theme: Reason and Power

Thursday evening, October 1 to Sunday midday, October 4, 2015


Would you like to experience the ideas, books, thinkers,
and intellectual stimulation you may have missed out on
when you went to college – an
d meet some of the most interesting people?

Well here’s your chance!

I hear it so often: People wistfully express regret for what they didn’t accomplish in their college years – the courses they should have attended, the books they should have read, the discussions they didn’t have. Some even guiltily wish they had spent more time in class instead of sleeping, drinking, or otherwise slacking off.

It’s never too late! Now you have a second chance. Armed with renewed motivation and seasoned with the experience of a lifetime, you have a new perspective that will make this “return to college” genuinely worthwhile and rewarding.

Join us to chew over some of the most intriguing works by the world’s great thinkers, and come to your own conclusions about them – entirely for your own satisfaction and pleasure. No tests, no assignments, no other pressures.

Moreover, with our evidence and logic-based methodology, you will strengthen your first-hand judgment, your confidence in your own thinking, and your ability to collaborate with others – all great skills in work and life.

We’re offering a mix of challenging readings, provocative discussions, and entertaining and informative excursions to Chicago’s cultural attractions.Our theme this fall will be Reason and Power. We’ll examine works such as:

"The Spearman" Grant Park, Chicago

  • The ancient Stoic, Epictetus, who managed to have power even though a slave.
  • Machiavelli, on the social power of the Roman republic.
  • James Madison, on the political separation of powers.
  • Ayn Rand, on conflicting views of ethical power.

City of Chicago by the river.


We’ll discuss the power of art and architecture, and             examine some remarkable examples while exploring the  city of Chicago on a beautiful fall weekend.

We’ll watch and discuss selections from two famous films, aimed at influencing opinion – one by the Nazis, another by Americans.

You can see the entire schedule here. To get a flavor of what the fall seminar will be like, you can watch a video of our 2010 weekend seminar for adults here.

Meet the faculty…

Tibor Machan, Ph.D.

On Saturday night, we’ll have a gala dinner together and listen to philosopher, Tibor Machan, talk about his life from communist Hungary to fame as a thinker and staunch advocate of freedom.

After Dr. Machan was smuggled out of communist Hungary he immersed himself in American culture, focusing on political philosophy.  Influenced by Ayn Rand, he helped create the Reason Foundation and forged a career as an independent scholar, influential professor, writer, and speaker. He will discuss his life as well as issues of timeless concern to us all, such as the importance of thinking objectively.

Ray Raad

On Sunday, we’ll hear psychiatrist and research fellow at Columbia University, Raymond Raad, M.D., M.Ph., explain the research evidence for free will, and the power of self-awareness. Dr. Raad, himself, has attended several Great Connections seminars. Dr. Raad, himself, has attended several Great Connections seminars. He said:

“Every time I attend one, I gain deeper insight into an idea I thought I already knew well. These seminars have changed the way I read.”

I will be leading the program. You can read more about me here.

The instructors won’t simply deliver a lecture and depart but will be available for face-to-face discussions, both in and out of class. Furthermore, Dr. Machan and Dr. Raad will both join us as participants for our seminar discussions.

One caution: Because of the high level of personal and individual attention that the faculty will devote to each attendee, registration is strictly limited to 20.

Practical Accommodations…

We’ll reside at an attractive downtown location, The Hotel Blake, surrounded by great restaurants and stunning sights. This stylish downtown hotel is set in a 19th-century beaux arts building in the Printers Row historic district, steps away from some of the city’s most magnificent attractions; Millennium Park, The Harold Washington Library, The Art Institute, The Board of Trade, Willis (Sears) Tower as well as some of the city’s best shopping, restaurants and entertainment.

In your room, you will discover complimentary internet access, free local phone calls with no access fees, Hotel BlakeLavAzza coffee makers, hairdryers, iron & ironing boards and complimentary water.  There’s a casual coffee and juice bar downstairs. Our guest may also take advantage of our large spacious, well equipped complimentary fitness center and complimentary wireless internet in the lobby, and 24-hour business center.

We’ve arranged for a special conference price of $189 per night for your room (available until September 1st, then market rate). Or book a room at one of the other many nearby facilities in Chicago’s dynamic city center.

At The Great Connections, you’ll benefit from the same distinctive learning method, absorbing curriculum, and top-notch faculty that has won rave reviews from the students who have participated in our “undergraduate” events every summer the past six years.

Stretch your mind…

Experience an atmosphere of enjoyable collaboration resulting from our specially crafted, evidence-based discussion methodology, in which reason is the only authority. You’ll come away enlightened, with your powers of reasoning and first-hand judgment strengthened. And you’ll have forged “great connections” with the other fascinating people who will attend.

As a physicist from Stanford who has attended our programs several times said:

Imagine you’re into yoga, but you do it by yourself – then you find this group where everyone is doing it! The high level of cognitive functioning, the intellectual stretching – that was really valuable to me. “

The program’s cost for the weekend is $475. But if you register by August 25th, you can pay $425.

Or, if you can’t take the time to join us for the entire weekend, attend our dinner on Saturday night and hear Dr. Machan. Dinner and the talk cost $90.

Three Easy Ways to Register…

1. Go to this link and register now to save money. Payments for the seminar or the dinner only can be made at this link.

2. If you prefer, print out this form and send your payment by check to:

RIF Institute

9400 S. Damen Avenue

Chicago, IL 60643

3. Call 773-677-6418 to register and pay by credit card.

For even more information about the program, visit the event page here.

Please contact me if you have any questions: or 773-677-6418.

It’s time to unlock your hidden potential!

Most people have vast potential they haven’t even begun to realize. Here’s an opportunity to expand your horizons and release the capabilities you didn’t even know you possessed!

Seize this opportunity to fulfill your intellectual curiosity, purely for the love of knowledge. You’ll stretch your mind and enrich your life.

Let’s face it: The world is complex and confusing. Sometimes it’s hard to make sense of anything. But this is precisely where the greatest thinkers of all time can help.

During our provocative seminar, you’ll learn the timeless, fundamental truths that help you make the world comprehensible. You’ll emerge with a better grasp of the meaning of current events and news headlines. You’ll build your confidence and be able to hold your own in any discussion.

Moreover, you’ll reap real-world rewards, both personal and professional. You’ll be equipped with tools for success, living well, and achieving your goals. You’ll sharpen your skills in reasoning, thinking, arguing, debating. You’ll make better decisions, increase your creativity, solve problems more rapidly and efficiently.

The “Great Connections” seminar is a unique “total immersion” experience and intellectual adventure packed into three days of intensive learning, interactive sessions, off-campus explorations, and rewarding camaraderie. Join us.


Marsha Familaro Enright



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