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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very readable and very relevant
For a book so old, Extraordinary Popular Delusions is still a very easy read (untranslated French aside) and very relevant to the modern day. It traces the origins of "animal magnetism" for example, still around as magnet therapy bracelets and so on, and an excellent example of the conditions which lead people to believe the bizarre. The section on the Alchymists is a...
Published on 14 May 2006 by Alexander Whiteside

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting content, archaic style
First, ignore the review that says 'This edition only contains extracts on John Law, the South Sea Bubble, and the Tulip mania in the Netherlands...'. That review relates to a different edition. This paperback edition contains all the sections referred to in the summary. The content is wide ranging, from financial manias to the Crusades, witch trials, poisonings and so...
Published on 18 April 2009 by philstuart


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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very readable and very relevant, 14 May 2006
By 
For a book so old, Extraordinary Popular Delusions is still a very easy read (untranslated French aside) and very relevant to the modern day. It traces the origins of "animal magnetism" for example, still around as magnet therapy bracelets and so on, and an excellent example of the conditions which lead people to believe the bizarre. The section on the Alchymists is a real highlight: a history of the field told through potted biographies of its practitioners, covering both the real and legendary aspects of their lives and characters.

The tone is dryly witty with a subtle sarcasm, and once you push through the unengaging subject matter of the opening three chapters (the first two covering fairly similar financial schemes, and the third the "Tulipomania") it's an amazingly compulsive read.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining review of half-forgotten crazes., 9 April 1999
By A Customer
This book is an entertaining review of a number of popular crazes that occupied the minds of the English during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Some of its subjects are well known but others, like the passion for the catchphrase "What a shocking bad hat!", now long forgotten. Although around a hundred years old this book's continuing relevance is demonstrated almost daily by the proliferation of fads, crazes and popular delusions in our own time. It is pleasing to reflect that in another century such modern preoccupations as crop circles, alien abductions and satanic ritual abuse will appear as bizarre and absurd as duelling, tulipomania and the South Sea Bubble do now.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting content, archaic style, 18 April 2009
First, ignore the review that says 'This edition only contains extracts on John Law, the South Sea Bubble, and the Tulip mania in the Netherlands...'. That review relates to a different edition. This paperback edition contains all the sections referred to in the summary. The content is wide ranging, from financial manias to the Crusades, witch trials, poisonings and so on, so it's a fascinating selection. My only warning would be that the book was written nearly 200 years ago, so the language and style is a bit archaic nowadays. The author is prone to 19th century meandering thoughts on the nature of man and his behaviour, when you just want him to get on with telling the story! Well worth a try though.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars People never change, 21 April 1997
By A Customer
Remember when you were in 8th grade and a cool saying was making its way around? Knowing the saying made you feel cool. How cool do you feel when you hear that in 18th century London, for four months the word "Coz!" would reduce bystanders to giggling lumps of jello? Why? "Coz!"
Feeling good about the stock market? Can't suffer more than a 20% correction, right? Because all the experts say so. You'll feel so much "better" after learning of the 17th century "tulip" market.
This book teaches you, in hilariously engaging fashion, with a voice speaking across the centuries, that fads are part of the human condition, not a 20th century phenomenon. Read it and learn.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Harriman House edition is a well-presented severe abridgement, 4 July 2008
The Harriman House edition is an abridgement, or to be more precise, an excerpt of the more juicy bits of the book. The original 3-volume book covers many subjects with plenty of gentle 19th-century musings. This edition only contains extracts on John Law, the South Sea Bubble, and the Tulip mania in the Netherlands, in a very slim little pocket volume.

The edition however looks and feels fine, and would perhaps do as a present to someone who is unlikely to be seriously interested in reading the book, but more in browsing it in a casual leisure moment, and having it sit on their coffee table or their living room bookshelf.

This fact is, shall we say, not immediately obvious from the blurb on Amazon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars should be read by everyone, 15 May 2010
This book should be given a read by everyone. Some of the crazes he writes about are boggling to the mind, it is hard to take it in that they happened at all. We are a crazy species and this book shows just how crazy we can get if we arn't careful. If they included this in the school curriculum I don't think people would be easily manipulated by modern crazes and political propaganda etc.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We are no different from our ancestors, 15 Nov 2009
By 
Mariusz Skonieczny "Author" (classicvalueinvestors com) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I wanted to read this book to learn more about our current financial crisis. And I learned that if you think that the current financial crisis is an extraordinary event and our government will place proper regulations to prevent this from happening again, then you can keep on dreaming, or read this book instead. You will learn that manias such as what we experienced in the housing market and during the internet bubble are nothing new.

In this book, the author takes readers through the history all types of manias such as The Mississippi Scheme, The South Sea Bubble, and The Tulipomania. I found it amazing that we are no different from people 300 years ago. We are greedy and irrational and looking for quick ways to get rich. And unfortunately, we do not learn very well from history. This book is fabulous and I found it very interesting.

- Mariusz Skonieczny, author of Why Are We So Clueless about the Stock Market? Learn how to invest your money, how to pick stocks, and how to make money in the stock market
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bible for Skeptics Everywhere!, 7 Jan 2002
By A Customer
This is a wonderful book. Although 161 years old, it could describe trends in 2002 - irrational exuberance in the stock market, astrology, Psychic Friends Network - you get the point. Worth reading for the Crusades and Witch Mania histories alone. Some of the evil done in the name of religion will shock you!
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy this edition!, 16 Nov 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a heavily abridged edition which excludes 13 of the original 16 chapters, including some mentioned in the very misleading product description.
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5.0 out of 5 stars History Repeats, 25 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Our financial mess has all happened before.
This guy worked it all out centuries ago. Required reading for all investors.
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Extraordinary Popular Delusions
Extraordinary Popular Delusions by Charles Mackay (Paperback - 1 Sep 2003)
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