Tuesday, July 06, 2010

What We're Reading - Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.
By Charles Mackay
Call Number 001.9

Don’t you just love the title?

This is a meander through the manic social foibles of the past. The chapter about Tulip Mania in the early 1600s is especially interesting and distressingly relevant.

Triste

First off, a big thank you to Triste for the recommendation. Second, this is a book first published in 1841, yet it still has relevancy and interest today [old does not equal boring or out-of-date]. Last, below is a summary from the publisher that may hook you into reading it. I'm intrigued, how about you? [ye old blog editor]

First published in 1841, this book is often cited as the best book ever written about market psychology. This edition includes Charles Mackay's account of the three infamous financial manias--John Law's Mississippi 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 defense 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for disaster, and with the benefit of hindsight, he produced a record that is at once a riveting thriller and absorbing historical document.--From publisher description.

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