Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds
Between the three of them, these historic episodes ...more
Be the first to ask a question about Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds
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
By Charles Mackay 1814-1889)
Charles Mackay was a Scottish poet, journalist, author, anthologist, novelist, and songwriter remembered mainly for his book 'Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds'.
The themes of the madness of the crowds are mostly situated in the eighteenth to the nineteenth century.
The Mississippi scheme:
Louis XIV died in 1715. The heir to the throne is an infant of only seven years of age,
The Duke of ...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.
Ta, L. ...more
I am a little disappointed after reading Charles Mackay’s book, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds, for the title promised (to me, at least) so much! I was sure to find an extensive psychological study on the subject of crowds’ psychology, but what I found is only a (true, pretty impressive) collection of many follies crowds had been prey of over time, accompanied by some candid comments from a bewildered author, usually in the spirit of the following:
When the world begins...more
I liked the book, BUT, there were issues. So do not read it uncritically.
Will return to this later. ...more
We see in this volume echoes of the enthusiasms that prop ...more
3.5 stars for the first three sections which core on the specific bubbles that occurred in France, England, Holland during the centuries of early cross Atlantic ships.
I've read entire books before about the tulip mania which is the 3rd one in time analyzed/ detailed here.
The book itself which has immense history of individuals who lived their lives obsessed with the turning of base metals into gold or sought composition of the philosopher's sto ...more
I disagreed on some aspects of his worldview, namely that I believe there is a spiritual world beyond our natural realm and the two sometimes mix. I ...more
Most bub ...more
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
Nils Bohr once said that science is the gradual removal of prejudices. Looking back on the kind of shit our ancestors did, like dueling instead of court trials, is absolutely barbaric. However, there is a part of our monkey brain thinking we can never leave behind, which becomes the topic of all psychology b ...more
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
"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
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
Mackay became a journalist in London: in 1834 he was an occasional contributor to The Sun. From the spring of 1835 till 1844 he was assistant sub-editor of the Morning Chronicle. In the autumn of 1839 he spent a mont ...more