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Publisher's Summary

Economies are deeply complex systems. The marketplace involves many economic actors behaving in rational and irrational ways, sustaining a dizzying array of interconnected activity. Because of the number of participants involved, the unpredictability of their actions, and the sheer variety of possible actions, some degree of economic uncertainty is inevitable.

In one of the most dramatic displays of economic uncertainty in our times, a wave of toxic loans almost brought down the American financial system in 2008-2009, and with it jobs and savings. Few experts forecast this catastrophe, which stands as a lesson in the power of economic forces to defy our predictions. This event may have been exceptional, but every day we are all at the mercy of economic uncertainty in matters such as the stock market, insurance, and career and retirement planning.

Uncertainty also plagues us in smaller ways. For example, everyone is familiar with rising prices, but the Internet now makes it possible for online shoppers to be charged more based on their buying history, adding a new level of unpredictability to pricing. And anytime you hire someone for a service - from roofing to dentistry - you face the principal-agent problem, in which the person hired may take unethical advantage of your lack of expertise.

Indeed, these large and small risks are so pervasive that it is all too easy to conclude that nothing can be done. But economic uncertainty is like the weather: You can't stop storms from happening, but understanding how and why they happen allows you to be prepared. In the same way, economic uncertainty is beyond our control, but we're in a much better position to respond if we know what's happening and why.

In 24 practical and empowering half-hour lectures, The Economics of Uncertainty takes the mystery and dread out of uncertainty, giving you the tools to deal with risk in every phase of your life.

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

©2015 The Great Courses (P)2015 The Teaching Company, LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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  • Story

Very simplistic compared to other Great Courses

What disappointed you about The Economics of Uncertainty?

I usually learn a lot from a Great Courses audiobook, but this book feels more like an intro to statistics class. For example, one whole lecture was on how to calculate expected value and standard deviation, so if you already know those two things that is a half hour not worth listening to.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Boredom. I listen to audiobooks during my commute. There were some lectures that I just turned off completely and drove in silence. I guess it is a good way for Audible to make money, though, since as soon as I got home I bought a different audiobook to listen to instead, and this one sits unfinished on my phone.

Any additional comments?

If you have listened to other Great Courses books on business or finance, understand that this one is much more simplistic than the others. Clearly I chose this book with different expectations than those people who are giving 5-star reviews.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Phil O.
  • San Diego, CA, United States
  • 09-25-15

A good, wide-ranging, plain-language intro to risk

This is a very good entry point to thinking about and measuring risk and employing various tools to deal with it. It is not confined to business but addresses plenty of issues in personal finance and decision-making. Lots of vocabulary is here with straightforward explanations. I like this professor as a source of solid work and very professional delivery.
I have moved on to other works on risk management and found this background useful.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Too simplistic, suitable for children almost

Perhaps you would find this worth your time if you had never ever read or spent any time thinking about probability theory and stuff like that. But I found this way too simplistic to be interesting and I will not be able to finish it. The narrator is OK even though I'm a bit allergic to not very funny pre-written jokes accompanied by hints of chuckling.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Very well thought through analysis of how to deal with uncertainty

This book is a reasonably complete analysis of how to deal with the uncertainties that we face in our life. This would include health, money, relationships, and much more.
There is a significant amount of good advice about dealing with investments, insurance, and even your job outlook!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Excellent materia for those interested.

the audio needs to be edited. the narrator makes several mistakes during his delivery which confuses you. otherwise, the material is excellent. a lot of statistics if you can follow and understand it as well as examples.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Not what I expected, but still good

I expected this course to be along the lines of a Nassim Taleb book but with more Economics jargon. I also expected it to cover a lot of topics I had never heard before in other economics textbooks or courses.
But it turns out that this this course has mostly mainstream and standard economics stuff. that being said, the quality of the coverage was quite good and there were a few of what I would call non standard topics covered. Also, Frank Knight was given his due as the chief pioneer of the field of the economics of uncertainty and that made me smile.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Great content, one caveat.

Just wanted to mention how annoying the sing-song, artificial tone of the lecturer gets. That said, the lectures are slow-paced but have plenty of really interesting ideas ranging from decision/game theory to finance. Definitely worth it.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Good but not what I was expecting and a little adv

advanced theories for the everyday Joe

some useful concepts but little practical application

worthwhile if you have a passion for this but not something you can just pick up

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Outstanding!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This is a college-level course on finance. Prof Fullenkamp is crystal-clear and understandable.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Not applicable

Which character – as performed by Professor Connel Fullenkamp – was your favorite?

Not applicable

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Not applicable

Any additional comments?

Another outstanding lecturer by The Great Courses is Timothy Taylor; he lectures Economics.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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great... but...

I loved this course! Professor Fullencamp spoke eloquently and passionately. Not only does he cover major economic issues, (with regard to uncertainty), but then gives practical advice on how you could apply these macroeconomic issues to your own life! Very engaging! My only quibble is that he did not to my knowledge address the huge uncertainty of our matastisising federal debt.