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

Not As Advertised

This is not the unabridged version of the book. While what was included was interesting, I am more interested in the full version.
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- B. Hardy

A classic in the real sense of the word.

Would you consider the audio edition of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds and Confusion to be better than the print version?

Probably equivalent.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

It seems this book is timeless.

What does Victor Bevine bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Victor Bevine' reading is very lively.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It's a book you can read bit by bit, taking time to think about it. Now I want to let it sink in and read it again in a few months.

Any additional comments?

This book makes you see society in a new light, and notice trends around you. Although the vocabulary and the style make it seem ancient, it's still very topical.

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- Michel

Book Details

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