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Publisher's Summary

Professor Connel Fullenkamp of Duke University guides listeners through four centuries of economic disasters - from tulip mania in the 1600s to the Great Recession of 2007-2009. Each of his 24 lectures covers a notable incident of financial misfortune or folly that is worthy of a Hollywood thriller. You hear how Charles Ponzi conducted the moneymaking scam that bears his name; how mining companies in the Old West sprang up like Internet start-ups, with a similar imbalance of winners and losers; how hyperinflation destroyed Germany’s economy at the beginning of 1920s and how its resulting stock market crash nearly sank America’s stock market.

You also hear how the Great Depression deepened through a wave of bank panics; how, in more recent times, the US savings and loan industry went belly-up; how Orange County in California went bankrupt, how Japan’s hard-charging economy came to a screeching halt; how currency crises swept the globe; how subprime mortgages nearly sparked a second Great Depression; and much more. You also learn how technology has transformed stock trading, how cryptocurrencies work, and why we live in an era of financial instability.

As well as entertaining you with riveting stories, Professor Fullenkamp inoculates you against the gullibility, overconfidence, and herd mentality that have trapped even Wall Street professionals in misguided investments that lost billions. You won’t have any trouble staying awake through these stimulating lectures. And, armed with the knowledge of how to stay out of harm’s way, you may even sleep better at night.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2018 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2018 The Great Courses

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    53
  • 4 Stars
    17
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    44
  • 4 Stars
    18
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    44
  • 4 Stars
    15
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Philo
  • San Diego, CA, United States
  • 09-22-18

BEST explainer out there hits a new high level

When a professor has really done his/her homework, really reached comprehension and then carefully crafted descriptions, and is gifted to begin with, things of astonishing complexity can be explained with great clarity. Such is the case here, non-stop, end to end. Are you curious about John Law's innovations and misadventures crashing the French economy circa 1720? The South Sea Bubble? The US banking system, into and including the genesis of the Fed? On and on it goes, marching right into the present, with not a word out of place. I have read, heard and seen accounts of all these things, and none has come close to this crystal clear, yet complete, yet compact, delivery. My lesson has been, in the world of financial books, often a story (probably because of the economics of book publishing, or mediocre editing) is stretched into the format of a 250-page book which can make the story less clear than it needed to be. Prof. Fullenkamp explains each segment batter than many of these books, in a concise way that makes it even more understandable than the big tomes do. I could have saved myself a lot of time and money had I gone straight to this one. But it is a tremendous refresher, meanwhile surpassing the earlier accounts I have seen, or pulling each of the stories together neatly. I was a fan of Fullenkamp already, having never been disappointed by him. But he surprised me, on the upside, here. That is a high bar to start with. (Let me be clear where some raving reviewers aren't: I have no affiliation with Great Courses or this Professor, and have never met him, etc.)
Something that works great here is the very good mix between colorful stories and little tutorials, where needed, at a basic level but crystal-clear, on the nuts and bolts of the deals and financial innovations involved. These are among the best basic explanations I have heard. Learn (with very simple math that does not need video or graphics, the voice works great(, the workings (and sometime misfires) of swaps, puts, VAR, convergence trades, actions of rogue traders, etc. A pattern I notice that makes the explanation crystal clear is that the good professor almost always boils everything down (in the course of the story) to its simplest possible view: if Situation A happened the trader would make money, but if Situation B happened the losses would explode -- in ways very readily understood. We see that the crash side of things comes into play most often when so;me sort of large one-way bet has been made, whether by a single trader or by a whole industry or sector of the economy.
Now, if audible would release Great Courses / Fullenkamp's "Understanding Investments," we could almost call it a day.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great but very modern

This was a terrific and interesting series. It does a fantastic job covering the economic stumbles of the late 20th and early 21st century.

I have one complaint and then one warning.

My complaint is that this great course advertises itself as a series on economic pitfalls since 1600. Really the vast majority of it takes place in what I consider very moder times. It's still really good so I give it high praise, but I wish I came away knowing more about things like the economic recession of the late 1840s.

My warning is that, especially in the later lectures, I really wish I was watching this lecture, not listening to it. He goes into detail talking about graphs and charts a few times and I wish I could see them. Again, still really enjoyable and informative, but I just might have gotten 10% more out of this had I seen him on screen.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • PASADENA, CA, United States
  • 12-06-18

Very Well Done

The author is very easy to listen to. It started slow because he starts so far back in history, but as he got to more recent events it really picked up. By the second half I was enthralled and hanging on every word. Highly recommended. I will get his other books.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Good substance but very dry

The professor is quite knowledgeable. Many of the vignettes are interesting. Overall, his delivery is quite dry.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

informational and entertaining if a bit superficia

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. very educational, great narrator. perhaps a bit too superficial but I don't think the goal was to go much deeper anyway

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Very interesting listening, lot of of insights!!!

Very interesting listening, lot of of insights!!! Highly reccomended listening for financiral experts, as for eceryvidy involved in business activities anyhow.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Entertaining read about financial follies

Entertaining description of the history of financial bubbles. The author is an academic and regulator, so he is very sympathetic of the government, who's only fault is that they sometimes get too cozy with those shysters in the private sector. He quickly brushes past any discussion of how governmental social engineering via the asset markets played a part in the real estate bubble. Too-easy monetary policy is brought up several times, but the cause of that - Congress's dual mandate that requires the Fed to minimize unemployment subject to managing CPI inflation is never mentioned.

If you are a free-market type, you'll roll your eyes at some of his takes, but still it is a very entertaining and well-thought out book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A fine narrative of several "financial disasters"

Professor Fullenkamp strays into "econ-geek" from time to time... for example, relying on a verbal description of a bivariate graphic instead of just explaining his point... so, for someone not fully conversant in the tools, the presentation will be a bit illusive sometimes...
Granted that, he does a fine job of providing a series of narrative histories of financial disasters... interesting and useful -- and he ranges widely making the course more valuable as a result.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Philo
  • San Diego, CA, United States
  • 09-22-18

BEST explainer out there hits a new high level

When a professor has really done his/her homework, really reached comprehension and then carefully crafted descriptions, and is gifted to begin with, things of astonishing complexity can be explained with great clarity. Such is the case here, non-stop, end to end. Are you curious about John Law's innovations and misadventures crashing the French economy circa 1720? The South Sea Bubble? The US banking system, into and including the genesis of the Fed? On and on it goes, marching right into the present, with not a word out of place. I have read, heard and seen accounts of all these things, and none has come close to this crystal clear, yet complete, yet compact, delivery. My lesson has been, in the world of financial books, often a story (probably because of the economics of book publishing, or mediocre editing) is stretched into the format of a 250-page book which can make the story less clear than it needed to be. Prof. Fullenkamp explains each segment batter than many of these books, in a concise way that makes it even more understandable than the big tomes do. I could have saved myself a lot of time and money had I gone straight to this one. But it is a tremendous refresher, meanwhile surpassing the earlier accounts I have seen, or pulling each of the stories together neatly. I was a fan of Fullenkamp already, having never been disappointed by him. But he surprised me, on the upside, here. That is a high bar to start with. (Let me be clear where some raving reviewers aren't: I have no affiliation with Great Courses or this Professor, and have never met him, etc.)
Something that works great here is the very good mix between colorful stories and little tutorials, where needed, at a basic level but crystal-clear, on the nuts and bolts of the deals and financial innovations involved. These are among the best basic explanations I have heard. Learn (with very simple math that does not need video or graphics, the voice works great(, the workings (and sometime misfires) of swaps, puts, VAR, convergence trades, actions of rogue traders, etc. A pattern I notice that makes the explanation crystal clear is that the good professor almost always boils everything down (in the course of the story) to its simplest possible view: if Situation A happened the trader would make money, but if Situation B happened the losses would explode -- in ways very readily understood. We see that the crash side of things comes into play most often when so;me sort of large one-way bet has been made, whether by a single trader or by a whole industry or sector of the economy.
Now, if audible would release Great Courses / Fullenkamp's "Understanding Investments," we could almost call it a day.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Donald
  • 10-28-18

Great but very modern

This was a terrific and interesting series. It does a fantastic job covering the economic stumbles of the late 20th and early 21st century.

I have one complaint and then one warning.

My complaint is that this great course advertises itself as a series on economic pitfalls since 1600. Really the vast majority of it takes place in what I consider very moder times. It's still really good so I give it high praise, but I wish I came away knowing more about things like the economic recession of the late 1840s.

My warning is that, especially in the later lectures, I really wish I was watching this lecture, not listening to it. He goes into detail talking about graphs and charts a few times and I wish I could see them. Again, still really enjoyable and informative, but I just might have gotten 10% more out of this had I seen him on screen.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • PASADENA, CA, United States
  • 12-06-18

Very Well Done

The author is very easy to listen to. It started slow because he starts so far back in history, but as he got to more recent events it really picked up. By the second half I was enthralled and hanging on every word. Highly recommended. I will get his other books.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • BF Palo Alto
  • 12-04-18

Good substance but very dry

The professor is quite knowledgeable. Many of the vignettes are interesting. Overall, his delivery is quite dry.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • V. T.
  • 11-30-18

informational and entertaining if a bit superficia

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. very educational, great narrator. perhaps a bit too superficial but I don't think the goal was to go much deeper anyway

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Janez
  • Slovenia
  • 11-19-18

Very interesting listening, lot of of insights!!!

Very interesting listening, lot of of insights!!! Highly reccomended listening for financiral experts, as for eceryvidy involved in business activities anyhow.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Brent Nyitray
  • 11-18-18

Entertaining read about financial follies

Entertaining description of the history of financial bubbles. The author is an academic and regulator, so he is very sympathetic of the government, who's only fault is that they sometimes get too cozy with those shysters in the private sector. He quickly brushes past any discussion of how governmental social engineering via the asset markets played a part in the real estate bubble. Too-easy monetary policy is brought up several times, but the cause of that - Congress's dual mandate that requires the Fed to minimize unemployment subject to managing CPI inflation is never mentioned.

If you are a free-market type, you'll roll your eyes at some of his takes, but still it is a very entertaining and well-thought out book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • M. T.
  • 09-28-18

A fine narrative of several "financial disasters"

Professor Fullenkamp strays into "econ-geek" from time to time... for example, relying on a verbal description of a bivariate graphic instead of just explaining his point... so, for someone not fully conversant in the tools, the presentation will be a bit illusive sometimes...
Granted that, he does a fine job of providing a series of narrative histories of financial disasters... interesting and useful -- and he ranges widely making the course more valuable as a result.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Philo
  • San Diego, CA, United States
  • 09-22-18

BEST explainer out there hits a new high level

When a professor has really done his/her homework, really reached comprehension and then carefully crafted descriptions, and is gifted to begin with, things of astonishing complexity can be explained with great clarity. Such is the case here, non-stop, end to end. Are you curious about John Law's innovations and misadventures crashing the French economy circa 1720? The South Sea Bubble? The US banking system, into and including the genesis of the Fed? On and on it goes, marching right into the present, with not a word out of place. I have read, heard and seen accounts of all these things, and none has come close to this crystal clear, yet complete, yet compact, delivery. My lesson has been, in the world of financial books, often a story (probably because of the economics of book publishing, or mediocre editing) is stretched into the format of a 250-page book which can make the story less clear than it needed to be. Prof. Fullenkamp explains each segment batter than many of these books, in a concise way that makes it even more understandable than the big tomes do. I could have saved myself a lot of time and money had I gone straight to this one. But it is a tremendous refresher, meanwhile surpassing the earlier accounts I have seen, or pulling each of the stories together neatly. I was a fan of Fullenkamp already, having never been disappointed by him. But he surprised me, on the upside, here. That is a high bar to start with. (Let me be clear where some raving reviewers aren't: I have no affiliation with Great Courses or this Professor, and have never met him, etc.)
Something that works great here is the very good mix between colorful stories and little tutorials, where needed, at a basic level but crystal-clear, on the nuts and bolts of the deals and financial innovations involved. These are among the best basic explanations I have heard. Learn (with very simple math that does not need video or graphics, the voice works great(, the workings (and sometime misfires) of swaps, puts, VAR, convergence trades, actions of rogue traders, etc. A pattern I notice that makes the explanation crystal clear is that the good professor almost always boils everything down (in the course of the story) to its simplest possible view: if Situation A happened the trader would make money, but if Situation B happened the losses would explode -- in ways very readily understood. We see that the crash side of things comes into play most often when so;me sort of large one-way bet has been made, whether by a single trader or by a whole industry or sector of the economy.
Now, if audible would release Great Courses / Fullenkamp's "Understanding Investments," we could almost call it a day.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Donald
  • 10-28-18

Great but very modern

This was a terrific and interesting series. It does a fantastic job covering the economic stumbles of the late 20th and early 21st century.

I have one complaint and then one warning.

My complaint is that this great course advertises itself as a series on economic pitfalls since 1600. Really the vast majority of it takes place in what I consider very moder times. It's still really good so I give it high praise, but I wish I came away knowing more about things like the economic recession of the late 1840s.

My warning is that, especially in the later lectures, I really wish I was watching this lecture, not listening to it. He goes into detail talking about graphs and charts a few times and I wish I could see them. Again, still really enjoyable and informative, but I just might have gotten 10% more out of this had I seen him on screen.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • PASADENA, CA, United States
  • 12-06-18

Very Well Done

The author is very easy to listen to. It started slow because he starts so far back in history, but as he got to more recent events it really picked up. By the second half I was enthralled and hanging on every word. Highly recommended. I will get his other books.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • BF Palo Alto
  • 12-04-18

Good substance but very dry

The professor is quite knowledgeable. Many of the vignettes are interesting. Overall, his delivery is quite dry.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • V. T.
  • 11-30-18

informational and entertaining if a bit superficia

I thoroughly enjoyed the book. very educational, great narrator. perhaps a bit too superficial but I don't think the goal was to go much deeper anyway

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Janez
  • Slovenia
  • 11-19-18

Very interesting listening, lot of of insights!!!

Very interesting listening, lot of of insights!!! Highly reccomended listening for financiral experts, as for eceryvidy involved in business activities anyhow.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Brent Nyitray
  • 11-18-18

Entertaining read about financial follies

Entertaining description of the history of financial bubbles. The author is an academic and regulator, so he is very sympathetic of the government, who's only fault is that they sometimes get too cozy with those shysters in the private sector. He quickly brushes past any discussion of how governmental social engineering via the asset markets played a part in the real estate bubble. Too-easy monetary policy is brought up several times, but the cause of that - Congress's dual mandate that requires the Fed to minimize unemployment subject to managing CPI inflation is never mentioned.

If you are a free-market type, you'll roll your eyes at some of his takes, but still it is a very entertaining and well-thought out book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • M. T.
  • 09-28-18

A fine narrative of several "financial disasters"

Professor Fullenkamp strays into "econ-geek" from time to time... for example, relying on a verbal description of a bivariate graphic instead of just explaining his point... so, for someone not fully conversant in the tools, the presentation will be a bit illusive sometimes...
Granted that, he does a fine job of providing a series of narrative histories of financial disasters... interesting and useful -- and he ranges widely making the course more valuable as a result.