Watch and Learn I was looking around the Internets this morning trying to find a really simple rundown of how banking works. (You can’t avoid banking if you’re thinking or writing about energy efficiency financing.) Of all the various videos and resources out there I found the ones created by the Khan Academy most helpful. It’s the public service creation of Salman Khan, a retired hedge fund analyst. He is an awesome teacher, a newfound hero of mine, and so sharp it seems like he can explain just about anything—including math. Here’s a recent report on the Academy that ran on the PBS News Hour: 

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  • Keep in mind, I am a philosophy major who avoided math (much to my regret) whenever I could. Kahn’s simple videos are really captivating, and are a quick download for anyone who is trying to understand some basic principles about complicated things. Take the concept of the fractional reserve banking system, a topic that is confounded by conspiracy theorists:

    Now, the Academy is not a replacement of getting a degree in finance or math, but for those of us trying to understand the economics of the big systems and issues that affect sustainability, the Kahn Academy can be just what we need. If you’re working on a problem and you’re stumped, I recommend stopping by the Academy as a start. Plus, it’s really satisfying to watch a guy doing what he loves, and doing it so well.