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
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Konstantinos on 01-04-18

interesting but very basic

well written and presented but very basic overview for the absolute beginner, good for a first introduction

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2 out of 5 stars
By Arpad Takats on 13-12-17

title is misleading,

I have struggled to finish it. Narration was okay. I would have changed the title to the basics of uncertainty. It wasn't much about complex economics, not to talk about the economical cycles...

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Philo on 25-09-15

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.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Anonymous on 14-04-17

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.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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