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Publisher's Summary

Behavioral economics is the study of decision making, and of the related themes of valuation, exchange, and interpersonal interactions. Using methods from psychology, sociology, neurology, and economics, behavioral economics sheds light one of the most fundamental activities of human life:the decision process. In 24 insightful lectures, you'll learn how behavioral economists look at decision making and explore a set of key principles that offer deep insight into how we evaluate information and integrate different factors to make decisions. Most important, using real-life illustrations and case studies, each lecture offers practical tools, so that you can understand the patterns of decision making, the purposes they serve, and how to use your knowledge to make better and more satisfying decisions.

In grasping the underlying factors in decision making, you'll explore key topics such as decisions regarding probability, time-related decisions, managing risk, high-stakes medical decisions, and group decision making. Professor Huettel illustrates each concept with meaningful examples, analogies, and case studies, relating the material directly to the decisions all of us make as a central part of living. This unique course gives you essential knowledge and insights for one of life's most important skills.

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

©2014 The Great Courses (P)2014 The Teaching Company, LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Stating the Obvious

This course lists a lot of behavioral ideas we know but don't know we know, in excellent examples and words. Stimulating.

20 of 23 people found this review helpful

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Clear and effective

Great course! Clear, well structured, most useful.
The best way to teach is to stimulate the other own thought!
Glad I got this book. Only regret that it wasn't earlier...
Thanks Professor Huettel!

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • David F.
  • Fairfield, CT, United States
  • 04-07-15

Great to understand how we make decisions

This is a great exploration of how we make decisions, understand value and how to use those same concepts to make better decisions.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Love the topic

Would you listen to Behavioral Economics again? Why?

Would for sure- the topic is very interesting to me (intersection of economics and psychology).

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It'd be tough

Any additional comments?

Its a good lecture- give it a go if you have any interest in the topic

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Cynthia
  • Monrovia, California, United States
  • 07-04-15

The Unknown Unknowns

Merriam-Webster defines economics as "a social science concerned chiefly with description and analysis of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services." Theories and concepts are dense and often mystifyingly complex - see, for example, Thomas Piketty "Capital in the 21st Century" (2013).

Sometimes economics don't make monetary sense - and that's where Behavioral Economics comes in. Scott Huettel, PhD's "The Great Courses: Behavioral Economics: When Psychology and Economics Collide" (2013) is a series of 24 lectures, about half an hour each, on that fascinating subject. Huettel explains why money really isn't everything, especially when what seems 'rational' about spending doesn't override people's social behaviors. For example, it might be more important to punish a cheater or thief even if it costs the person meting out the punishment more money and time than it would have to walk away - see Lecture 2. As a litigator, I see this in action all the time - and benefit from it, quite frankly - but until I listened to Huettel's lectures, I wasn't sure why it was happening.

Because of Lecture 15, "The Value of Experience" I discovered why something I've thought for a long time was true: it's not the things that you buy but the things that you do that make a difference. A week ago, I was in Florida, traveling with a group and not quite on vacation. The airboats and alligators of "Wild Florida" were close, and, armed with the knowledge that we were going to remember the experience forever - and the psychology of why - I happily talked the group into going. I realized that the class helped me feel more confident about my own economic decisions.

Huettel's course is great listen for fans of Dan Ariely's "Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions" (2008).

The title of the review is from one of the lectures. It turns out that "known unknowns" and "unknown unknowns" make sense in Behavioral Economics, even if they don't for Donald Rumsfeld.

[If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]

29 of 42 people found this review helpful

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Great introductory primer to behavioral economics

Very approachable. Concept rich text broken up into topical lectures. Left off on the topic of "nudge" and will be the follow on book that I download: Nudge.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • LL
  • United States
  • 12-11-14

brilliant, perhaps, but definitely boring

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I loved the concepts and empirical work. I simply couldn't listen for more than about 15-20 minutes. Since I was driving I couldn't risk falling asleep.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Behavioral Economics?

The number of times he was able to illustrate that pop psychological notions about human behavior often couldn't be farther from the facts of the matter.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

His voice is essentially monotone, but he has a bit too much of self-importance (perhaps?). the fake clapping at the end of a chapter was over the top (and led me to the sense of his excessive self-importance--really, who needs fake clapping in a studio recording???).

Did Behavioral Economics inspire you to do anything?

Yes, question assumtions about motives and motivations.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Loved it

The narrators voice was pleasant to listen to and I loved the content. Easy to follow and informative.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Excellent coverage of material, but a bit dry

The same material is covered in a much more entertaining way by reading some of the source material. Specifically, The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis covers the work of Kahneman and Tversky, while Thaler's own work is covered in Misbehaving.

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Excelente

I truly enjoyed this course, highly recommended. This subject is really engaging. Great order and performance.

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  • Chris
  • 04-26-15

Quite interesting, but perhaps drawn out too much

This course covers the (relatively modern) field of behavioural economics, which is the study of how psychological and neurological effects impact on decision making. Starting with Prospect Theory, the first major theory of behavioural economics, Prof. Huettel outlines a wealth of experiments that display a huge range of counter intuitive effects that the brain has on decision making.

To get the most out of this course I would suggest people have at least a basic knowledge of classical economics, e.g. the great courses intro to economics, since this gives a much better context for why this field is so important and can have such wide reaching implications.

Many aspects of decision making biases are discussed, for example, how framing a question differently can completely change how we react to it. At each stage the professor suggests ways in which understanding these biases can actually lead you to make better decisions in your life, and I will certainly be using some of the tricks he suggests. For example, paying someone to do something that they used to do for free can undermine their incentive for doing it, e.g. paying for blood donations tends to decrease numbers of donated pints!

Whilst the course was very interesting, and I will be following up with one of the courses on psychology, I think the length is unnecessarily long. Sometimes the points made didn't need nearly as much time as they did, and it felt like a chore to get through a couple of the lectures.

Overall, worth a listen, some very interesting facts and experiments, but only worth it if you are particularly interested, and have some background knowledge already.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Cleon W.
  • 12-01-14

Covers some very interesting topics.

Any additional comments?

I think it is fair to say that every lecture in the series contained some interesting elements, though the last few were by far the most interesting in my opinion. <br/>I learned a lot and the course has left me with a lot to think about.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Gery Lynch
  • 04-20-17

Not my favourite

I have purchaed a number of courses both from Audible and directly through Great courses mostly I have really enjoyed them and found them instructive. However this one is a bit simplistic. It may be useful for someone with any prior knowledgeof Economics or psychology.

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  • CK
  • 03-23-16

Good but could have been better

Very interesting but a bit monotonous tone of voice, particularly because of the length of the reading that makes it heavy to assimilate after some time of listening. Otherwise very good and educational.

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  • MR
  • 12-13-17

Good information

Basically a mini psychology lecture. It's far more about decision making than it is about economics.