Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (Google eBook)

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Harriman House Limited, 2003 - Business & Economics - 114 pages
16 Reviews

First published in 1841, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds is often cited as the best book ever written about market psychology. This Harriman House edition includes Charles Mackay's account of the three infamous financial manias - John Law's Mississipi Scheme, the South Sea Bubble, and Tulipomania.


Between the three of them, these historic episodes confirm that greed and fear have always been the driving forces of financial markets, and, furthermore, that being sensible and clever is no defence against the mesmeric allure of a popular craze with the wind behind it.


In writing the history of the great financial manias, Charles Mackay proved himself a master chronicler of social as well as financial history. Blessed with a cast of characters that covered all the vices, gifted a passage of events which was inevitably heading for disaster, and with the benefit of hindsight, he produced a record that is at once a riveting thriller and absorbing historical document. A century and a half later, it is as vibrant and lurid as the day it was written.


For modern-day investors, still reeling from the dotcom crash, the moral of the popular manias scarcely needs spelling out. When the next stock market bubble comes along, as it surely will, you are advised to recall the plight of some of the unfortunates on these pages, and avoid getting dragged under the wheels of the careering bandwagon yourself.

  

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Review: Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

User Review  - Pinar - Goodreads

I really enjoy reading history books and this is no exception eventhough it is a classical investment book. Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds is a very old and also very contemporary book. Easy to read and enjoy. Read full review

Review: Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

User Review  - Andrei Gavrila - Goodreads

I hesitated between a 2 and a 3 star. As always the rating system means different things to different people. I guess I rated it a 2 star since 2 stars means on goodreads - it was ok. Didn't like it ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

THE MISSISSIPPI SCHEME
1
THE SOUTHSEA BUBBLE
55
THE TULIPOMANIA
105
Copyright

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Page vii - IN reading the history of nations, we find that, like individuals, they have their whims and their peculiarities ; their seasons of excitement and recklessness, when they care not what they do. We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit ; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first.

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About the author (2003)

Charles Mackay (1814-1889) was born in Perth, Scotland. His mother died shortly after his birth, and his father, who had been in turn a Lieutenant on a Royal Navy sloop (captured and imprisoned for four years in France) and then an Ensign in the 47th foot taking part in the ill-fated Walcheren Expedition where he contracted malaria, sent young Charles to live with a nurse in Woolwich in 1822.


After a couple of years' education in Brussels from 1828-1830, he became a journalist and songwriter in London. He worked on The Morning Chronicle from 1835-1844, when he was appointed Editor of The Glasgow Argus. His song The Good Time Coming sold 400,000 copies in 1846, the year that he was awarded his Doctorate of Literature by Glasgow University.


He was a friend of influential figures such as Charles Dickens and Henry Russell, and moved to London to work on The Illustrated London News in 1848, and he became Editor of it in 1852. He was a correspondent for The Times during the American Civil War, but thereafter concentrated on writing books.


Apart from Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, he is best remembered for his songs and his Dictionary of Lowland Scotch.

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