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Extraordinary Popular Delusions - Charles Mackay

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Title
Extraordinary Popular Delusions
Author
Charles Mackay
format
Paperback / softback
Publisher
Templeton Press
Language
English
UK Publication Date
20000128

Today, as in the time of the South Sea Bubble, human nature is drawn like a moth to flame by the speculative fads of the marketplace. The excitement of new glamour issues in electronics or medical technology, the general euphoria over a rising market; these lure even many experienced investors. Their optimism overcomes their better judgment. They abandon critical analysis of the investment's fundamental value. Like gamblers in a casino they play against the odds, paying inflated prices and dreaming of quick profit." - from the foreword by John Marks Templeton

Mackay's classic, first published in 1841, studies the psychology of crowds and mass mania throughout history, including accounts of classic scams, grand-scale madness, and deceptions. Some of these include the Mississippi scheme that swept France in 1720, the South Sea Bubble that ruined thousands in England at the same time, and the tulip mania of Holland, when fortunes were made and lost on single tulip bulbs.

Other chapters deal with fads and delusions that often spring from valid ideas of causes, many of which still have their followers today: alchemy and the philosopher's stone, the prophecies of Nostradamus, the coming of comets and judgment day, the Rosicrucians, and astrology.

Time and again we can avoid disastrous pitfalls and learn to profit by seeing the ways that history repeats itself. Fascinating, mesmerizing, strikingly strange, and amazingly shrewd, this book will never be forgotten and cannot be ignored.

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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.


Type
BOOK
Edition
1st edition
Country of Publication
Pennsylvania
Number of Pages
744

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