Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

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Prometheus Books, 2001 - History - 724 pages
6 Reviews
More than a century before Alan Greenspan coined the phrase "irrational exuberance" to describe the speculative bubble inflating technology stocks, Charles Mackay was recording the history of "tulipomania," a speculative madness surrounding the value of tulips in the 18th century that was the ruin of many Dutch and English investors. This is only one of the "extraordinary popular delusions" documented by Mackay in a fascinating study of group psychology. He also describes notorious witch hunts, haunted houses, the Crusades, beliefs in fortunetellers and in the magical power of alchemy, veneration of relics, bogus health cures and health scares, and many other examples of human credulity and flights from reason. This work is a true classic in the study of paranormal beliefs, a funny, shocking, and unbelievable yet true history of human gullibility.

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Review: Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

User Review  - 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  - Goodreads

It's been too long since I've read this, but there's a reason it's been in print since 1841. Among other things, it has a classic account of the Dutch tulip mania, one of the first (but far from the ... Read full review

Contents

THE MISSISSIPPI SCHEME
1
THE SOUTHSEA BUBBLE
46
THE TULIPOMANIA
89
Copyright

11 other sections not shown

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About the author (2001)

Charles Mackay (1841-1889) 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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