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)

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- Lukas

Not what I ordered!

I had purchased this book sometime during 2016 but have only found the time to listen to it now as I believed that I could spend the 5-7hours of my day pottering around whilst listening to the book; killing two birds, or more, with one stone.

I am very disappointed indeed. Not for the reader; as I believe that his soothing voice is very nice to listen to, plus he pronounces his words with eloquence including foreign names, places and passages.

Let me explain. I brought this audiobook because most of the time I actually have the physical version but feel it easier to listen, at times, and revisit where I have reached on the actual book, and at times read along with the audiobook. This book is 'not' what I had purchased as it only gets to page 97 of 702! before diverting to something different (I believe this is the 'confusion' part (no pun intended!)

I am sorry that I didn't listen to it before; as I see that another reader has commented on this in May 2017 and I could have saved him the trouble of making the same mistake as I have.

I am not even interested in the rest of the audiobook because I now have over 600 pages to read of the Extraordinary Popular Delusions and I have only dipped the iceberg.

Needless to say, and it is no consolation to me at all, that the first 96 pages of my book was very good. It is a shame that it did not continue as it had started.

(For information purposes; I had read the information provided and compared the cover to the one I have before purchasing. This clearly is not what is advertised).
Read full review

- MelC

Book Details

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