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Publisher's Summary

This course is an introduction to the stock market and stock investing for novices and experienced investors alike. Professor DeGennaro uses simple analogies to explain the origin of stocks and other securities, as well as their relative risks. He stresses the danger of trying to beat the market by trying to pick winners, predict price trends, or otherwise find opportunities that other investors have missed. Far better, he counsels, to own a well-diversified portfolio of individual stocks or stock funds, which tend to grow as the economy grows. He offers detailed guidance on how to pursue this course.
Among the topics covered in these 18 lectures are how to open a brokerage account and choose a financial advisor; the essentials of mutual funds, including index funds, and exchange traded funds (ETFs); how to trade individual stocks, including how to use options; the relative advantages of traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, and 401(k) plans; how to minimize transaction costs and use tax laws for your benefit; the dangers of frequent trading; and the basics of corporate balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements.
For anyone who owns stocks or is thinking of entering the market, this course provides indispensable advice. If you entrust the management of your assets to a financial advisor, this course will give you the background you need to communicate more knowledgeably with him or her and be an informed participant in your own financial well-being.

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
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By M. Acker on 02-03-15

Must read for everyone outside of the industry

What did you love best about How the Stock Market Works?

This book breaks down the structure of the stock market, dispels most of the myths and traps, and gives you a solid recommendation on how to manage your own stock portfolio.

Specifically this book does an amazing job discussing how money managers try to tell you they've beat the market average and so you should bring your business to them. Very few people, if any, have beaten the market consecutively over any larger span of time. Your best bet is an index fund and to avoid fees and transactional charges.

What does Professor Ramon P. DeGennaro bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He is very enthusiastic and knows the material so well it just flows out of him. It's very easy to follow him and it gave me a ton of confidence and ability to shut out all the noise of the industry.

Any additional comments?

Like I said this book should be a mandatory read for every graduating high school kid and should absolutely be on your reading list.

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16 of 16 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Eric Dudeck on 08-23-14

Bad analogies and useless anecdotes

What disappointed you about How the Stock Market Works?

Bad analogies and useless anecdotes made this lecture series feel like it was trying to fill time. Since it was already one of the shorter Great Courses lectures, I felt myself getting irritated every time the narrator went off on some long tangent that added nothing to my understanding of the subject material. In the end, I felt as though I learned little more than I had picked up by talking to the investment adviser at my bank that handles my IRA. I think the first half of the course is intended for people with absolutely no understanding of business or investing.

Would you ever listen to anything by The Great Courses again?

Yes. This is my 6th Great Courses purchase, and it is the only one so far that I found unsatisfying.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Professor Ramon P. DeGennaro?

Since the narrator is the professor that actually teaches the course, I don't think a narrator change could help.

What character would you cut from How the Stock Market Works?

I would cut the useless analogies and anecdotes, such as (paraphrasing):

Some people think it's unfair to factor in the performance of the stock market during its early years when calculating the average market returns. If you wanted to determine your average weight, you wouldn't start from the day you were born. (A couple more minutes of different methods you could use to measure your average weight.) ...And so using the average returns over the life of the market may not be the best way of measuring current performance.


I had a student who was bored in class. When I asked him what he did for a living, he said he flew jets off an aircraft carrier. (A couple of minutes of describing whats involved in flying jets off an aircraft carrier.) ...So I'm willing to bet that he would be more comfortable with a higher risk portfolio than some of my other more conservative students.

Any additional comments?

Too much filler material, and very little useful advice. I'll admit that SOME of the advice and insight the professor offered was very helpful, but overall the course felt diluted and, at times, condescending. For example, he explains how a corporation works by describing them as "a bag of goodies." It certainly didn't feel like a college level course, and I thought the material was pretty elementary even for laypersons.

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56 of 69 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Customer near Manchester on 06-04-14

Highly recommended

The course starts off with the basics, explaining what a share is with easy to follow examples. Each lesson builds on concepts introduced in previous lessons, you are introduced to concepts like Options trading, mutual funds, etf and more. The only lesson not completely relevant to uk listeners is the one about US tax free saving accounts, but some of the principles there are still valid with the UK's ISA accounts.

Anyone interested in investing in the stock market should learn all the concepts in this course, and I think this course is one of the best way to learn the basics about them.

Highly recommended.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By critical friend on 12-23-16

Good introduction to the principles, but USA bias

Would you consider the audio edition of How the Stock Market Works to be better than the print version?

No. I found the canned applause at the beginning and end of each lecture irritating and unnecessary. A star removed for this. Forced to listen in order, which was useful, but with print could read in different order or even skip a chapter. Graphs and visual reinforcement would have been better to illustrate or enhance points made.

Who was your favorite character and why?

No characters, but favourite concept was not wasting investment money on high degree of churn (dealing charges) in portfolio.

What about Professor Ramon P. DeGennaro’s performance did you like?

Knowledgeable passion.

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

No. It also encourages listener to digest and think about the content of each lecture.

Any additional comments?

Is geared to the USA audience so section on tax is not relevant outside USA and these and legal considerations may go out of date very quickly. There are still some fundamental and general concepts worth knowing and employing.

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