Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds and Confusion

  • by Charles Mackay, Joseph de la Vega, Martin S. Fridon
  • Narrated by Victor Bevine
  • 7 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Charles Mackay covers many types of delusions, among them financial manias like the South Sea Company bubble of 1711-1720, the Mississippi Company bubble of 1719-1720, and the Dutch tulip mania of the early 17th century. According to Mackay, during this bubble, speculators from all walks of life bought and sold tulip bulbs and even futures contracts on them. Allegedly some tulip bulb varieties briefly became the most expensive objects in the world during 1637. Mackay's accounts are enlivened by colorful, comedic anecdotes, such as the Parisian hunchback who supposedly profited by renting out his hump as a writing desk during the height of the mania surrounding the Mississippi Company. Financier Bernard Baruch credited the lessons he learned from Mackay with his decision to sell all his stock ahead of the financial crash of 1929.Other chapters are devoted to Alchemists, scientists and pseudo scientists who attempted to turn base metals into gold. Mackay notes that many of these practitioners were themselves deluded, convinced that these feats could be performed if they discovered the correct old recipe or stumbled upon the right combination of ingredients. There are also extensive treatments on the Crusades, Witch Mania and Trials and other forms of mass delusion.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

This is not what it seems to be

What was most disappointing about the authors’s story?

There were only three chapters out of many.
(+Confusions)


Any additional comments?

You probably are not aware of it but Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds has many chapters most of which are completely missing in this edition.
See wikipedia...

Chapters present:
- Mississippi Company
- South Sea Company
- Tulip mania

Chapters MISSING:
- Alchemists
- Modern Prophecies
- Fortune-Telling
- The Magnetisers
- Influence of Politics and Religion on the Hair and Beard
- Crusades - Witch mania
- The Slow Poisoners
- Haunted Houses
- Popular Follies of Great Cities
- Popular Admiration of Great Thieves
- Duels and Ordeals - Relics

As a bonus there is:
- Confusion of Confusions from 1688 (Which is a different book btw)

Read full review

- Lukas

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-04-2010
  • Publisher: Audible Studios