Author Topic: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!  (Read 5605 times)

grantmeaname

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Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« on: October 12, 2012, 01:48:00 PM »
As a college kid, I recently added an Accounting major to my Anthropology major. Now, I'm a smart if sometimes immodest guy, so I'm pleased to report that said major has been going very well for me. I love what I'm learning, I'm good at it, and it uses at its core skills I really had to stretch to use in Anthropology. So that's all great... the problem is, I can't take fun, interesting classes without paying a very unmustachian fee (boo!) for going over the hour cap. Luckily for me, and everyone else with a brain and an internet connection, there are now alternatives to paying a ton of money to learn things. There's the Khan Academy, which I can't recommend highly enough (and may make a new throwdown around someday). But I was looking for something a little more college-course like. iTunes U, Coursera, and several OpenCourseware sites exist; I selected from these Open Yale Courseware, not because of my love of Yale but because a course being offered there, Financial Markets (2011), is being taught by intellectual giant Robert Shiller.

I want to explore the viability of starting a Mustachian Course Club in the vein of this book club, so I'll be recording my experiences as I go through the course. I'm not looking specifically for anyone to join me in this, though I would be thrilled if anyone wanted to join me in this endeavor. If not, I'll be keeping an eye on the administrative stuff involved in the course. And if it sucks, maybe I'll think about a way to structure something around a Khan Academy video series instead--then it's 7-10min videos instead of 75min videos. (Did I mention it's a colossal time commitment? It's a colossal time commitment.)

TLV

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2012, 03:52:12 PM »
That's too bad about the extra fees. Is it for taking too many credit hours in a semester, or for taking too many total credits without graduating? (At the university I went to, they charged by the credit hour for the first 12 each semester, 12-18 was no extra charge, 18-21 also no extra charge but needed permission from your major's department. The only penalty for too many total credit hours was for financial aid/scholarship eligibility).

I love that the financial markets class has transcripts of the lectures. I, for one, can learn both faster and better by reading than by listening.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2012, 04:03:36 PM by TLV »

kolorado

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2012, 04:25:03 PM »
I'm with you! I'm all about life-long education. :)
I just wrapped up a 12 week course from Coursera, "Introduction to Finance". I absolutely agree with the huge time commitment involved in applied science courses.
I always leaned heavily on the humanities in my education and since those come fairly easy to me, the time invested was never overwhelming. In the course I took, there were no stated prerequisites and a time invested estimate of 6 hours a week. Wow, was that not true! By week three I was spending more than 10 hours a week on the course lectures, assignments, Google researching and reading my textbook and was still not able to grasp nearly enough of what the course purported to offer. I had to crash course learn how to use open office spreadsheets, basic calculus and statistics. The quizzes were absurdly difficult and poorly worded with no precedent set in the video lectures. The course left me very frustrated. I wanted to quit but that's not my style. There's always something to learn, no matter how confusing the presentation of materials may be. In the end I scored 55% on the final and an average of 65% throughout the course even though I consistently poured in double the time suggested on learning the materials. Realistically I needed about two more years of high school math to be able to calculate the things needed in the course. The course was also to blame for being poorly structured and monitored.
Honestly, I went into it thinking it would be mostly about concepts, not number crunching. The lack of stated prerequisites made me lean that way. But I'm also extremely glad I took the course. I now know more than I did a few months ago about higher math and I have always wanted to take more math courses. I really love math but it is a struggle to learn it on my own.
The concepts covered were things I already knew well and that's the only reason I got a decent score on anything. The number crunching questions were mostly a bust.
Right now I'm taking Greek & Roman Mythology through Coursera(I'm signed up for almost a dozen courses through them well into next year).
This course is awesome. We're reading through The Odyssey now(never read it as it always seemed to be a boy book). Quizzes are easy if you take good notes in lectures and pay attention to your readings. Plus the professors' group running the class hosts a bonus chat lecture every week to answer questions on the course that have been posted on the discussion forums. It really makes it feel more like a university course when the instructors care about class feedback.
And comparing the two courses got me to thinking about the way applied science classes and humanities classes are so differently presented. There should be a balance between the mind as a computational tool and as a communication device. But it seems like courses seem to appeal to only one side of learning spectrum. If your brain understands the B side better you are out of luck trying to learn from the A side because the A side has no idea how to present it to you. I'm convinced that this is why my husband won't read books and why I get panicky when I see math professors speedily writing batches of numbers and letters on a giant board.

sheepstache

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2012, 05:09:01 PM »
Um!  I would like to join you in this endeavor, Grant!  What's your planned timeframe for going through the course?

I was going to do a course on Development Economics through MRUniversity which is another open teaching platform just being started by the guys who do the blog Marginal Revolution, but the course you're talking about is actually much more like what I was looking for.

grantmeaname

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2012, 07:48:59 AM »
That's too bad about the extra fees. Is it for taking too many credit hours in a semester, or for taking too many total credits without graduating
It's for taking too many hours in a semester. Considering the fee didn't exist when I agreed to go to the school on a full-tuition scholarship, and the fee largely affects the high-achieving students on similar scholarships, I'm more than a little pissed that student financial aid isn't willing to waive or reduce it. On top of that, they're also starting to charge proportionally more per credit hour for computer labs and recreational facilities, as if students in 21 hours  use 25% more computer lab than everyone else or something.

I'm with you! I'm all about life-long education. :)
Hell yeah! Glad to see you're interested in joining me, and it's good to hear about your Coursera experience. Like I said, I'm new to this, so if this time doesn't work out I'd be interested in switching to another format when I finish this course.

Um!  I would like to join you in this endeavor, Grant!  What's your planned timeframe for going through the course?
Well, it looks like there are a whole freaking ton of reading requirements for the course and the lectures are 75 minutes each, so maybe following it at the Yale pace of 2 lectures per week is a bit ambitious (or maybe not, would you guys be interested in doing it that fast?). Maybe we could do 1.5 lectures a week, so three every two weeks? Or really slow it down, and do one every week?

Oh, and we'll need a delay for everyone to get the materials in from the libraries (hopefully there will be minimal purchasing involved).

grantmeaname

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2012, 08:26:06 AM »
I'm starting to put the syllabus and course listing info into a spreadsheet to help everyone keep track and figure out what's required. Like Yolfer's bike challenge spreadsheet, this one is in Google Drive and everybody's welcome to edit it if they feel changes are needed.

What would everyone think of an instant messenger or IRC chat standing appointment every week (internet recitation?) to discuss the week's readings?

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2012, 09:05:09 AM »
I'm in. I changed the book list so it's sorted by first lecture of use, but if you don't like it I can put it back. Discussing the readings would be nice. I'd prefer to go full-pace so the course won't run into next semester too much, but if you guys are busy and want to slow it up I'll deal.

grantmeaname

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2012, 08:41:33 AM »
Alright, so the materials are up on Google Drive and my book's in the mail. Anybody else want to weigh in on the speed and start date, or are we going to go full speed ahead (two lectures per week) starting in the next week or so?

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2012, 08:48:09 AM »
full speed ahead (two lectures per week) starting in the next week or so?

Preferably this, but if you guys want to take it slower or somebody doesn't have their books by next week I don't mind slowing up a bit. You all are probably a lot more busy than I am, and I don't want to push it too fast.

sheepstache

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2012, 06:44:21 AM »
"If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well
It were done quickly"

I may fall behind and end up doing a lousy job, but that would be par for my academic track record so far, nothing a slower pace would solve.

My textbook's ordered.  I was confused about the other books but did everyone find this?
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCMQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.provenimpactclub.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2011%2F02%2FSyllabus.pdf&ei=IM99UN7-EKX20gHy0IDYDA&usg=AFQjCNFY4LaKT1kldwwGYp4z-lCe2BmWsQ&cad=rja
The course packet from 2011 which has links to pdfs of a lot of the articles.

grantmeaname

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2012, 06:53:06 AM »
I didn't find that, actually, but I'm definitely downloading it now! Good find!

The books other than the textbook were used only minimally, so you should be fine getting most of them from the library and reading the one or two chapters you need from them, then returning them.

So shall we start next week?

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2012, 08:29:08 AM »
grantmeaname, the following idea is no good for a course club, but another option is to audit extra courses at your school.  The university I work at charges a minimal fee ($25 I think).  You can go to the lectures and read but can't get credit or turn in assignments and tests.  [Officially.  Unofficially, the instructor has control--I once audited a course where the instructor required me to turn in all the writing assignments because getting to read the writing assignments was the whole reason he taught the course.  Another instructor refused to sign the form because he didn't want me to even pay the $25.  Another instructor wouldn't let me audit because she said the course was useless if you didn't do the work (I thought I could do the work on my own computer and not turn it in, but it is true that I would not have gotten the feedback of grading).]

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2012, 10:27:21 AM »
I had 21 credits once and had the same problem of being charged more. Yay double majors!

Anyway, I took the Yale Financial Markets course on my own during the summer, so I won't be joining you. It was absolutely fantastic and I can't wait to get my hands on his book. Have fun.

HOWEVER, anyone who wants another, slightly more tech-focused option should join me in the Computational Investing I course that is starting on Coursera in... 4 days :p Sign up fast!  I'm using it for a primer for some HFT jobs I'm applying for, but I think it could be interesting for anyone who wants to pair math, programming, and money!
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grantmeaname

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2012, 05:30:47 PM »
grantmeaname, the following idea is no good for a course club, but another option is to audit extra courses at your school.
At OSU, that's full priced, which I think is a scam. I did think about it though, and I am thinking about auditing courses "under the table" from professors that know and like me.

HOWEVER, anyone who wants another, slightly more tech-focused option should join me in the Computational Investing I course that is starting on Coursera in... 4 days :p Sign up fast!  I'm using it for a primer for some HFT jobs I'm applying for, but I think it could be interesting for anyone who wants to pair math, programming, and money!
That sounds incredible! I'm so overextended right now that I won't be able to join you, but I'd love to hear how it goes... maybe drop in here from time to time to update us? Oh, and I'm glad to hear good things about the Financial markets course!

grantmeaname

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2012, 06:36:11 AM »
My Fabozzi book came in today! Is everyone else's going to arrive before next week?

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #15 on: October 20, 2012, 07:18:51 AM »
I hope so, but no guarantees. Both my books have estimated delivery dates of Oct. 19 - Nov. 3

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2012, 08:38:57 AM »
Got 'em! I'm good to go whenever you all are.

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2012, 08:42:06 AM »
My Fabozzi book came in today! Is everyone else's going to arrive before next week?

Mine might be mid-week but might be next week too.  I'm not too discomfited by the idea of starting the lectures and catching up on reading if everybody else is ready.

grantmeaname

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2012, 09:25:22 AM »
Let's go ahead and start with next week then. Two a week, and I'm thinking I'll be doing them on Monday and Thursday (those are the most open for me).

We could put together some text chat "recitations" really easily, I bet. I wonder if we'll need them.

grantmeaname

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #19 on: October 21, 2012, 07:34:30 PM »
Finance and the Good Society is interesting and well written, but the lectures are really quiet and Shiller doesn't talk quickly, so when I'm sitting listening to them I'm tapping my fingers and going "so what". The transcripts are probably a better fit for me. That said, it seems like I can understand where Schiller's coming from with much of his theoretical framework. His attempt to pander to the class by pointing out that financial professionals are well paid seemed pretty uncharacteristic and not at all convincing, though.

Edit: He closes on a really mustachian note:
Quote
I don't want you to give a billion dollars to your children and grandchildren, which they will then squander in conspicuous consumption. The idea is a moral purpose. And that's one thing I wanted to try to convey, partly with outside speakers, maybe with other examples that I can give, that I think that many people who are wealthy and who have succeeded in finance really don't care about spending the money on themselves. They really do have a purpose.
Paging Dr. Sol.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2012, 12:13:50 PM by grantmeaname »

grantmeaname

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2012, 05:57:22 PM »
I'm on lecture 2 now-- that is, I'm not behind yet in the first week of the course. TLV's right: the transcripts save a colossal amount of time. If I were watching 150 minutes of video a week it would be really rough.

How's it going, everyone? Anyone else keeping up with it?

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #21 on: October 25, 2012, 06:58:23 PM »
I'm finishing up reading the assignments from the first lecture. Lecture 2 is scheduled for tomorrow or Saturday, depending on how busy I am tomorrow at work ;). I don't have much free time during the week, but have plenty on the weekends, so my plan going forward is to spread one lecture out over the work week and bang out the other one in a day or two over the weekend.

I'm loving the books. Way better than the wall of equations I'm used to from my engineering texts.

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #22 on: October 27, 2012, 04:58:15 PM »
Ha ha, I have a second, freelance, job this week that's adding another 35 hours to my full-time one, so I'm behind but I'll catch up. 

The text book is kind of slow going for me because I'm new to all of the concepts in it but it's just what I'm interested in learning about right now.  During a couple hours between jobs I killed some time reading at the library and was pleased to learn it was one of the ones Andrew Carnegie provided funding for!

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3427/3864559177_5285037762_o.jpg

grantmeaname

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #23 on: October 28, 2012, 09:42:41 AM »
During a couple hours between jobs I killed some time reading at the library and was pleased to learn it was one of the ones Andrew Carnegie provided funding for!
Oh, that's awesome!

The textbook is totally new to me and going slowly here as well. I think it's pretty interesting despite that (and the density).

This week's reading requirements are a lot lower (especially if the library books don't come in on time), so it'll be nice to spend a bit less time on it.

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #24 on: October 31, 2012, 03:04:16 PM »
I had signed up for the Computational Investing course over at coursea as well, but when it in an offhand way mentioned that I needed to download and know how to program in Python on linux, or be able to install linux in a virtual session (which I can do, but hadn't planned on it right now), I opted out.  I'll take a Python course over at Code Academy first, then I can concentrate on the Investing part of the course.  Learning Python while learning investing was more than I wanted to do.  It didn't really make that much of a deal out of what was to me a major revamp of my computer and learning curve.

That said, I have signed up for 2 other courses over there.  Depending on how it goes, I'll give this course a look at later and I'm enjoying reading the comments here.
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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #25 on: October 31, 2012, 04:33:17 PM »
@Shadowmoss is that course still available?  That sounds like a blast and something I must sign up for.  You should also definitely learn Python, it's been growing on me more and more lately.

grantmeaname

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #26 on: October 31, 2012, 06:37:07 PM »
Looks like the current iteration is coming to an end.

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #27 on: October 31, 2012, 06:44:39 PM »
Ya I was disappointed when I saw that but was later excited when I found it he was probably referring to this.  Just signed up and am going through the first homework as we speak.

grantmeaname

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #28 on: October 31, 2012, 07:13:32 PM »
Woops, missed that.

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #29 on: November 01, 2012, 01:46:12 PM »
spider:  let me know how it goes.

oh, I'm a she.  :)
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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #30 on: November 01, 2012, 06:47:04 PM »
Oops, my apologies, your stubble threw me off.

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #31 on: November 05, 2012, 11:43:52 AM »
Spider:  How goes the course?  Did I chicken out too early?

Yeah, I get that the stubble throws people off all the time...  :)
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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #32 on: November 05, 2012, 04:44:17 PM »
Nowhere else would I get away with that explanation!

The course goes pretty well, the first assignment was actually just an Excel spreadsheet.  You should definitely try and watch some of the lectures even if you don't wanna go through the process of learning python.

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #33 on: November 10, 2012, 05:36:39 PM »
Thanks for posting this Open Yale link. I've finished the two opening lectures ... loving this stuff.

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #34 on: November 10, 2012, 08:51:45 PM »
Great, we have another! Welcome... and don't worry, it remains this fascinating at least as far as I've been.

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #35 on: November 13, 2012, 08:22:40 PM »
I am so bad at forums >.< Always forget they exist as soon as I leave.

spider, how did you like the week three stuff with the actual software? I think it has some promise, but seems to be primarily focused on testing plans against historical data. Not sure if there are more features or not.

I'm curious if they will be going this slowly the whole time. It's nearly halfway over at this point and there has only been 1 substantial assignment.

I'm glad everyone is enjoying the Financial Markets course as well!
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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #36 on: November 13, 2012, 09:54:21 PM »
Actually I failed, was planning to do my homework over the weekend and then it was suddenly 70s and sunny out so I just couldn't.  How did you like it?  Should I still continue with the class even though I'm behind now?

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #37 on: November 15, 2012, 07:10:27 AM »
I thought the software had some potential and I'm going to be self-studying it even if we don't go too deep into it with the rest of this course.

As for being behind, don't worry about it and go ahead and catch up if you want. They still haven't even released week 4's videos yet, and if you have some basic Linux experience then week 3's stuff was extremely simple.
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grantmeaname

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #38 on: December 02, 2012, 10:59:16 AM »
Is anybody doing the problems and exams? I sort of read through them, but I get the big picture and I haven't done them because I don't think they add too much (also, it's actual finals week for my real classes with grades).

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #39 on: December 02, 2012, 08:22:13 PM »
Is anybody doing the problems and exams? I sort of read through them, but I get the big picture and I haven't done them because I don't think they add too much (also, it's actual finals week for my real classes with grades).

Not me. I'm just doing the lectures (1/2 way done). I might go back and do some of the problem sets, I find that the practice of doing the math helps me remember what the ratios mean.

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #40 on: January 22, 2013, 06:39:11 PM »
I read lots of Fabozzi over my trip to Germany, and I'm getting back into the swing of reading the lectures as I settle into my real school schedule. There are just so many lectures, ya know?

Anyone else sticking with it?

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Re: Throwdown! Mustachian Course Club!
« Reply #41 on: May 15, 2013, 04:05:33 PM »
Welp, I didn't even remotely finish the course on schedule, but I've now finished all the readings from Fabozzi and from Shiller. In the next couple days I'll go through the last handful of lectures and the one-off readings, and then be actually done. I learned a ton, especially for how little it cost me!