I listened to this to help me gain a deeper understanding of what the hell it is that the Fed and other central bankers do. It helped somewhat. Salemi’s explanations are clear and he’s unbiased in his presentation (unlike, say, Ron Paul’s End the Fed). The topics cover more territory than just central banking. Here are the lecture titles to help you know what the course covers:
1. The Importance of Money
2. Money as a Social Contract
3. How Is Money Created?
4. Monetary History of the United States
5. Local Currencies and Nonstandard Banks
6. How Inflation Erodes the Value of Money
7. Hyperinflation Is the Repudiation of Money
8. Saving—The Source of Funds for Investment
9. The Real Rate of Interest
10. Financial Intermediaries
11. Commercial Banks
12. Central Banks
13. Present Value
14. Probability, Expected Value, and Uncertainty
15. Risk and Risk Aversion
16. An Introduction to Bond Markets
17. Bond Prices and Yields
18. How Economic Forces Affect Interest Rates
19. Why Interest Rates Move Together
20. The Term Structure of Interest Rates
21. Introduction to the Stock Market
22. Stock Price Fundamentals
23. Stock Market Bubbles and Irrational Exuberance
24. Derivative Securities
25. Asymmetric Information
26. Regulation of Financial Firms
27. Subprime Mortgage Crisis and Reregulation
28. Interest Rate Policy at the Fed and ECB
29. The Objectives of Monetary Policy
30. Should Central Banks Follow a Policy Rule?
31. Extraordinary Tools for Extraordinary Times
32. Central Bank Independence
33. The Foreign Exchange Value of the Dollar
34. Exchange Rates and International Banking
35. Monetary Policy Coordination
36. Challenges for the Future
For what it’s worth, I had a really hard time finishing this, taking almost four months. I’m generally not a fan of the Great Courses (I listened to two others on cybersecurity and critical decision-making). The courses seem to share the same strength: organization/conceptual clarity in surveying the various topics you might expect to find under the topic’s umbrella. But they also share the same weakness, i.e., a certain superficial quality. I did not think that Salemi dumbed down the lectures as I felt with the other Great Courses. But, IMHO, he did not linger long enough on some difficult issues.
Also, you should know that this lecture series comes from a video. Salemi references many graphs, charts, and formulas that you obviously can’t see. In some cases (e.g., the explanations of several formulas), the absent visuals made the lecture quite hard to follow.
Salemi, while an excellent lecturer, is one of the slowest speakers you’ll find on Audible. At 2x speed, he sounded like a normal lecturer.
All in all, while I’d recommend passing, I’m not sure what book out there is better as a survey of these topics.