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 many people study. However, MacKay also discusses other silly episodes in human history. The entire reason MacKay wrote the book, was to help people identify the madness of crowds. The mass movements of stupidity, seem to be a part of the human experience. MacKay is trying to warn the reader, about how not to get swept up in all the excitement. There always seems to be some sort of silly mania that is occurring in our lives. They also tend to vary in size and degree. In the late 1960s, people talked about the return of the Ice Age. In the 1970s people assumed the world was going to run out of food and oil. In the 1980s acid rain was the big trend. Today of course, the Global Warming movement has become one of the biggest manias of all time. Charles MacKay would be adding a chapter on Global Warming, to his timeless book, if he were still alive.
This book is a very slow read. The financial mania stories are worth owning. The other chapters you may want to just chop off one at time at the library, and spread it out over many visits.