Professor Muller exquisitely weaves the historical dialectic between the eminent thinkers of capitalism with the contexts surrounding it. He evenhandedly addresses each thinker and elucidates why each one was so influential. You will come away with a more nuanced view of capitalism after listening to this course. Leftists will move right and rightists will move left. Prof. Muller constantly intrigues with his knack for storytelling and explication of ideas, never allowing for a boring moment. Highly recommended.
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.
I didn't live in the 60s so maybe I'm unqualified to judge Thompson's satirical prowess, but the book didn't really seem that effective at satirizing anything. He did a lot of drugs and had a bizarre time in Vegas. The story was weird and interesting but also meandering and seemingly pointless. Perhaps there wasn't supposed to be a "point" but I was waiting for something biting or insightful and it never came. I was still entertained though. People are saying the narrator did an awful job, but I thought his narration was compelling with its tone of impending insanity. The book was very much like an acid trip, except you don't get the fleeting, overwhelming epiphanies.
I feel that everyone should take this course just so we know that we're all on the same page when it comes to conversation structure and etiquette. Much of the information was basic and familiar, but Curzan nonetheless finds a way to make it entertaining and insightful. This course isn't necessary if you feel that you are already pretty good at conversation and how to negotiate one, but it does bring interesting linguistic ideas to bear on conversation structure. I do feel an urge to evangelize about how the conversation floor and backchanneling work after listening. Good, short course.
Anne Curzan is a masterful teacher. She is organized, yet conversational. She gives you a cornucopia of linguistic and lexicographical information that is both fascinating and instructive. She is funny and adept at giving felicitous examples to support her point. You will learn so much about the English language in this course. I just can't rave enough about it. It's far better that John McWhorter's meandering courses. I think I learned more from Curzan's few lectures about English's history than McWhorter's entire course about the subject. This is one of the best Great Courses.
In the vein of Freakonomics, Professor Taylor, undoubtedly one of the best Great Courses lecturers, provides you with a novel perspective on a variety of issues. Kidney transplants, traffic congestion, terrorism, marriage, procreation, discrimination, addiction, obesity, and voting; Prof. Taylor gently but fascinatingly analyzes all of these areas with economics in mind. He doesn't tell you what to but how to think more clearly about these subjects. Highly recommended.
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.
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