There were some helpful tips here and there but the course plodded with lots of platitudinizing. I felt like he could've effectively communicated everything he wanted to in 3 hours or less.
I just listened to this course for the second time. Taylor covers all of the main happenings in the global economy in the past half-century. You really get a bang for your buck. There's just so much good information in this course. Check to see the outlines of all the topics covered at the Great Courses website.
This was a riveting look at America's recent economic history. Taylor is really good at providing interesting statistics to illuminate trends. He disabuses the listener of common economic fallacies and inculcates the economic way of thinking about a host of important issues. A major theme throughout the course is the dramatic increase in the size of government over the century. Taylor analyzes different policies and gives the consensus economist view on most of them. I highly recommend this course.
This was an excellent survey of the basics. Taylor establishes where economists agree, and highlights where they don't (mostly macroeconomics). He really knows how to explain economic thinking. He focuses on the intuitions at the heart of economics. Trade-offs are everywhere and we need to understand what these trade-offs are. He rids the listener of zero-sum thinking, as I think many people who don't understand economics succumb to. Any good citizen should be familiar with the basics of economics and this book is a superb deliverer of those basics. Graphs and complex mathematics are unnecessary for the most part. Taylor's Great Courses lectures on economics are also fantastic. I highly recommend them for anyone seeking to understand the world.
This book was an absolute joy. Dennett is a fantastic writer. He's really good at mixing astute analysis with insightful quotes from luminaries. The narrator was the best I've heard on Audible, far and away. He inflects his voice perfectly, making even seemingly dry material fresh and profound. I didn't think this book was too dense for audio and I thought the part on Gould was essential to the thesis. Darwin expunged teleology from nature and Dennett guides you through this deep insight and its discontents. Many have said this is a classic and I would agree.
I really wanted to like this book. I'm sympathetic with the thesis, but Howard just persistently talks at the listener in a condescending manner. He provides a few cases here and there of maddening rule abuse but doesn't offer any in depth analysis of why the culture of excessive rules is the way it is. It's as if the whole book he is repeatedly saying, "Bah! Look at this! Isn't this crazy??" Yes it is, Howard. So do the intellectual work that I thought I was paying for and tell me why it's like this. It's hard to believe this guy is an accomplished writer. If you want a more scholarly, persuasive book about dumb laws and government failure in general, read Why Government Fails So Often by Peter Schuck. He actually gives a more comprehensive analysis of the dumb law phenomenon and it's only one section of his book! Plus, you get way more for your money!
This is a phenomenal book. Peter Schuck, a self-described independent who has always voted for Democrats, has shown why government consistently fails in systematic ways. He covers many, many programs and provides astute analysis for each. The book is never boring, despite being so comprehensive. The narrator is excellent, with perfect intonation to match the prose. I hope this book is more discussed. Unfortunately, as Schuck has regretted in interviews, left-leaning media has ignored this book for the most part. That's a shame. America needs to have this conversation.
This course was just a meandering series of quotes from the forefathers followed by vacuous reverence. It felt like the professor just threw something together at the last minute.
Ridley makes the very important point that the modern world is fundamentally built on trade and the specialization of labor. This idea can often be overlooked. Many people seem to think that we would be better off doing everything ourselves. Ridley shows that this is deeply misguided. However, I agree with William Easterly's review in that there are numerous rants throughout the book that don't really advance any idea and instead chafe otherwise sympathetic listeners. This book could've been a lot better. I was hoping this book would be a nice complement to Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature but it paled in comparison to Pinker's rigor and depth.
This book was enjoyable. It focused primarily on technology while mostly ignoring economics and governance. Sometimes the authors seemed levelheaded and other times they seemed techno-utopian. I wasn't sure what to expect based on the somewhat mixed reviews. If you're looking for a comprehensive analysis of human progress, this isn't the book for you. If you want to learn about potentially promising technologies in the near and far future, then you'll love this book.
I've listened to almost all of the economics Great Courses and this might be the best one. I just finished listening to it a second time. I wish Robert Whaples did more courses. His survey of economists' opinions is a great supplement to the data and arguments he provides for the respective issues. Every lecture is packed with data and powerful arguments backed by economic theory. The Walmart lecture was very enlightening. Prof. Whaples disabuses the listener of the many misconceptions about the company and provides the economists' consensus analysis regarding its huge benefit to society. He convinced me that the Postal Service needs to be privatized, the inflation rate is egregiously overstated year after year by the CPI, and the U.S. poverty rate is in need of serious revision. I learned so much from this course. Prof. Whaples really makes you think about things that you don't often think about. I'm going to have to keep returning to it to retain all the information. After listening to this course you'll want to investigate all of these issues further. I can't recommend this course highly enough.
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