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Paperback Mobs, Messiahs, Markets P Book

ISBN: 0470474807

ISBN13: 9780470474808

Mobs, Messiahs, Markets P

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Book Overview

An insightful look at how to succeed by going against the crowd

Collectively, people think and act in ways that are different from how they think and act as individuals. Understanding these differences, says William (Bill) Bonner-a longtime maverick observer of the financial world and the vagaries of the investing public-is vital to preserving your wealth and personal dignity. From the witch-hunts of the early modern world to the...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Very Interesting, Very Important, and Very Readable

"Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets" by William Bonner and Lila Rajiva is a fascinating work which considers how people think and behave, privately and collectively, and the effects these different modes have within the public sphere. I haven't quite decided which specific literary genre this book falls into; maybe that is inconsequential anyway. There's a lot of history, much economics and politics and, well, almost every other recognized social science comes into play. The main theme, however, seems to be well illustrated in the subtitle of the book: "Surviving the Public Spectacle in Finance and Politics." This is not, therefore, merely an academic inquiry into group dynamics, but a very practical one as well. In the interest of full disclosure, I have received Bill Bonner's "Daily Reckoning" financial newsletter via e-mail for a number of years, so I am somewhat familiar with his writing style and his viewpoint regarding matters economic and political. This is the first time, however, that I have read a book which he has authored or co-authored. Fortunately for the casual reader, this book is not the least bit "dry" or dull, as all too many books dealing with this or similar topics seem to be. In fact, there are many times in this work where the authors relate or allude to something that is downright hilarious. Be that as it may, this is a serious look at an important phenomenon in the human condition. Mob psychology is one of the most interesting topics to study and reflect upon. Even a brief inquiry into the dynamics of crowd behavior raises all sorts of interesting questions. And then there is the notion of so-called "groupthink," a term used by Bonner and Rajiva in their book. I particularly liked their colorful way of describing that notion. Referring to it as the "shifting bog of groupthink," it is "not only completely different from private thinking but is an illusion, piled on top of a fraud, stacked on a foundation of humbug, built in the mud of misconception with the building blocks of lunacy." Couldn't have said it better myself! As for me, someone who is just as fearful of a "mobocracy" as of an "autocracy, that description is more than satisfying. Many insights into crowd psychology are provided during this journey into human thinking and behavior and the historical range of illustrative topics is broad and sweeping. Why do so many otherwise intelligent people jettison their common sense and rational thinking in order to just "follow the crowd"? Why do so-called "do-gooders" go so bad? Why do "witch hunts" occur so often, even in sophisticated and intellectually advanced societies? How do Hitlers and Stalins come to captivate the attention of and accumulate power over otherwise intelligent and rational human beings? How does "groupthink" affect those involved in the financial markets, such as investors and advisors? Moreover, how can one avoid getting caught up in the frenzy of mob psychology, whether in economics or politics or a

Irrationally Exuberant

Here's a book that's off-beat, thought-provoking, and calculated to stand conventional thinking on its head. The question, "Why do crowds behave the way they do?" may have been tackled many times before, but probably never quite this way, connecting child sex abuse scandals, the Che legend, animal experiments, and adjustable rate mortgages. For the authors, mob- thinking is hard-wired into the brain, but it also takes "do-gooders" and slogans to keep it going. There's a lot of "irrational exuberance" in this book, some of it cheerfully offensive. But the conclusions are surprisingly independent. One more thing: the book lays out the history of US financial markets in the last few decades excellently and gives readers some great rules of thumb for investing. Highly recommended.

Mobs, Messsiahs, MarketsT

Mobs and Messiahs should be required reading for every adult in the United States. It is unbelievable how much information these two cram into these two division of the book. This is stuff we should all know. But we dont. Stuff that w ould change the shape of the nation. If only the people would read it. Would that some rich uncle would buy million of them and give them away on the street corners ---where ever candidate for president is speaking... We as a nation as a people that are supposed to know something aabout oour heritage. Will find out we are jusst plain dumb. My prayer is that ever adult in the United States...woould stand up and brag...I read that book.. and ...it changed my life. It is ceertainly changing mine. Cordous L morris Jr

Grand Slam

Bonner and Rajiva have hit a home run with the bases loaded on this collaboration. I used to think that anything which came under the category of "economics" was meant be used as a remedy for insomnia. Writers like Rajiva and Bonner changed all that. They are both technically gifted writers. Beyond that, their passion for truth telling, no matter how unpleasant the medicine may be, comes through as always. My home schooled daughter recently asked about a new history book to study. I recommended this one and she is now at it feverishly. I only wish there'd been something so entertaining and educational when I was 14. I would have been much better informed about life if it had. In "Mob's Messiahs, and Markets" the reader is entertained while being given insider, little-known historical anecdotes to drive home clear economic principles. "Mobs, Messiahs and Markets" has all the fun of enjoying a gourmet meal without the expensive tab, the hit to your health or the hang over.

On "follow the crowd" syndrome!

Ever since Malcolm Gladwell wrote the "Tipping Point", group thinking and social epidemic has been a topic of interest , not only among the academics , but also among investors and entrepreneurs. The success of social networking websites and wikipedia are all can be traced all the way down to the so called "follow the crowd" syndrome. But William Bonner and Lila Rajiva have come up the with a brilliant idea to explore the flip side of social epidemic and the ripple effects it has on those who simply follow the crowd. Investors wanted to follow the stocks "Warren Buffett" was buying. Guess what? It was too late. Home buyers wanted to buy houses with a crowd. Guess what? Most of them were late in the game and over-paid. Every college undergrad thought an IT degree would be the best. Guess what? There were too many programmers, and not many civil engineers and nurses. A large group of investors thought every brick-and-mortar business could be replaced with a dot.com. Guess what? Companies like WebVan.com were able to convince venture capitalists that vegetables can be sold online!! Banks jumped on the sub-prime mortgage bandwagon. Guess what??? "Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets: Surviving the Public Spectacle in Finance and Politics" is a welcome addition to this ever interesting topic of "follow the crowd" syndrome. What makes this book click is the witty presentation and the practical approach of the authors. Bonner and Rajiva have done a fantastic job of presenting the nuances of "public spectacle' in a manner that is light-hearted as well as thought provoking. They have done a truly amazing job of striking at the center of conventional wisdom to explain why swimming against the current pays rather than following the crowd. Their best advice: "When the higher math and the greater greed come together, watch out below!" Go read this book. It's funny, brilliant, thought provoking and often offensive, too!! N.Sivakumar Author of: America Misunderstood: What a Second Bush Victory Meant to the Rest of the World
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