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Why do otherwise intelligent individuals form seething masses of idiocy when they engage in collective action? Why do financially sensible people jump lemming-like into hare-brained speculative frenzies--only to jump broker-like out of windows when their fantasies dissolve? We may think that the Great Crash of 1929, junk bonds of the '80s, and over-valued high-tech stocks of the '90s are peculiarly 20th century aberrations, but Mackay's classic--first published in 1841--shows that the madness and confusion of crowds knows no limits, and has no temporal bounds. These are extraordinarily illuminating,and, unfortunately, entertaining tales of chicanery, greed and naivete. Essential reading for any student of human nature or the transmission of ideas.
In fact, cases such as Tulipomania in 1624--when Tulip bulbs traded at a higher price than gold--suggest the existence of what I would dub "Mackay's Law of Mass Action:" when it comes to the effect of social behavior on the intelligence of individuals, 1+1 is often less than 2, and sometimes considerably less than 0. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Charles Mackay was a British poet, journalist, and songwriter. He was born in Perth, Scotland, and educated at the Royal Caledonian Asylum, London, and at Brussels, but spent much of his early life in France. Coming to London in 1834, he engaged in journalism, working for The Morning Chronical from 1835 to 1844 and then became editor of The Glasgow Argus. He moved to The Illustrated London News in 1848, becoming editor in 1852.
He published Songs and Poems (1834), wrote a History of London, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, and a romance, Longbeard. He is also remembered for his Dictionary of Lowland Scotch.
His fame, however, chiefly rests upon his songs, some of which, including Cheer, Boys, Cheer, were in 1846 set to music by Henry Russell, and had an astonishing popularity. Mackay acted as Times correspondent during the American Civil War, and in that capacity discovered and disclosed the Fenian conspiracy. He had the degree of LLD from Glasgow in 1846. He was a member of the Percy Society.
Although the story itself is great and highly recommended, the text layout used by the publisher in this particular version is so closely spaced between the individual lines that... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Julian
The financial manias discussed in the book, are the areas most often referred too. The South Sea Bubble, The Mississippi Bubble, and the Tulip Mania, are financial episodes that... Read morePublished on June 24 2009 by Patrick Sullivan
This is a very good book, and it serves as a reminder to all that humans are in general , taken as a whole.. quite stupid.The chapters are amusing,terrible and apt. Read it now!!! Read morePublished on Sept. 15 2006 by Dangerous Dave
I read a lot of history books and I am a big fan of books dealing with the history of science and economics. Yet, I could not bring myself to finish this gargantuan book. Read morePublished on April 26 2004 by RV
Although the Bible teaches that where more than one person gathers, (supposedly in His name), the recognition of the more likely result is that where more than two persons is a... Read morePublished on March 2 2004 by Patricia B. Ross
Project gutenberg's free ebook versions are wonderful too.Published on Feb. 29 2004 by Mark Guzowski
An interesting book for history buffs.
For those interested in the history of financial manias, only the first three chapters are of interest. Read more
This is a famed work. The reprint comes with a forward by Bernard Baruch.
John Law was born in 1671. Read more
Despite the age of this book, it continues to be current as ever, especially after the dot-com bubble. Read morePublished on Feb. 17 2003 by Denis Benchimol Minev