Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds #1-3)
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First published in 1841, I think it has been in print continually ever since. Rare for a non fiction book.
I read it about once every 10 years to remind myself of mob psychology.
One of my favorite genres.
Also the author has a gift for storytelling.
About a dozen chapters, each one about a different set of events.
All examples of mob behavior.
How people can abandon critical analysis when "everyone else is doing it".
About the balance between Fear an ...more
I will list a few a few of the stories I liked best.
The first chapter teaches us about a Scottish character named ...more
And I see it is now available through Project Gutenberg and for free for one's Kindle, so Amazon will be my next stop tonight.
South Sea Bubble
I understand completely why this text was reissued: the parallels to contemporary events (like the dot-com bubble, the housing bubble, the crash of 2007 and frenzied investment in Iraqi infrastructure and petroleum projects) are so striking as to almost seem contrived. It's like history has conspired to bear out MacKay's thesis to perfection: you could hardly hope for better validation outisde of a laboratory!
The illumination cast by his thesis itself is probably worthy of a five-star rating, bu...more
Anyway, it was fascinating to read this. The author did a great job with it. The cases are rather horrifying and I thought it was interesting that the author wrote on the subject. This seems to be one of those things that the Church is determined to forget so you never really see much on the su ...more
"Let us not, in the pride of our superior knowledge, turn with contempt from the follies of our predecessors. The study of errors into which great minds have fallen in the pursuit of truth can never be uninstructive. As the man looks back to the days of his childhood and youth, and recalls to his mind the strange notions and false opinions tha
Written in 1841, "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" by Charles Mackay, the book is a great fun to read. Let me just quote wikipedia, "The subjects of Mackay's debunking include economic bubbles, alchemy, crusades, witch-hunts, prophecies, fortune-telling, magnetisers (influence of imagination in curing disease), shape of hai ...more
Originally written in the mid-19th century, Mackay was a Scottish writer who dabbled in poetry, journalism and even songs, but is primarily remembered these days for this massive look at the ways people get sucked into scams and hoaxes. His book covers a wide range of these, from money bubbles to witchcraft tri ...more
It was good after hearing about tulips for so many years to finally read a detailed report, and to learn about parallels in England, France, and so on. But I also liked ...more
So far I managed to work through the first volume and believe me, it's amazing. Mackay is an accomplished chronicler and his simple narration of events creates some subtle irony. He does make a personal comment once in a while, none of it amiss.
Things I learnt so far:
1) Futures Cont ...more
Most bub ...more
He covers a wide range of top ...more
What I didn't appreciate was the fact that the book was written over 150 years ago! The style of writing I also found difficult to follow. I didn't feel that it was particularly straight forward, it tended to get too descriptive in my opinion.
I did however enjoy the chapter about the crusades, having studied ...more
The content is as astounding as the style, but you can tell from the title alone whether or not you want to read this book -- it's exactly what it promises, a compendi ...more
the alchymist section was a bit long in my opinion, but it kind of brings home the fact that so many people over the centuries got drawn into this dream of finding the philosophers stone. The book is well written and is still very relevant today ...more
This book was not what I expected. It is a history book that focuses on some of the more idiotic episodes in human history. Which is interesting, if a bit dry. It does not explain the mass psychology behind the madness of crowds, which is what I was hoping for. Just be warned: It is a very dense read- lots of information- and is probable best read in short burs ...more