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The Crowd Paperback – 31 Mar 1995

4.4 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers; 1 edition (31 Mar. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560007885
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560007883
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.4 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,058,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"Insightful for its apprehension of the primitive nature of crowds..." --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Gustave Le Bon (7 May 1841 – 13 December 1931) was a French social psychologist, sociologist, and amateur physicist. He was the author of several works in which he expounded theories of national traits, racial superiority, herd behavior and crowd psychology. His work on crowd psychology became important during the first half of the twentieth century when it was used by media researchers such as Hadley Cantril and Herbert Blumer to describe the reactions of subordinate groups to media. He also contributed to controversy about the nature of matter and energy. His book The Evolution of Matter was very popular in France (having twelve editions), and though some of its ideas—notably that all matter was inherently unstable and was constantly and slowly transforming into luminiferous ether—were used by some physicists of the time (including Henri Poincaré), his specific formulations were not given much consideration. In 1896 he reported observing a new kind of radiation, which he termed "black light" (not the same as what modern people call black light today), though it was later discovered not to exist. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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I have read one or two books which struck me as profound and troubling. The reason some books are troubling is that they reveal a harsh truth. They dig deep into the parts of ourselves which we prefer to remain hidden. I now understand why well reasoned fact heavy arguments rarely persuade the majority of anything. People prefer a entertaining, colourful, charismatic tyrant who reflects back the populist mindset. People really do judge a book by its cover. In fact it would seem that our entire mental libraries contain little else. This applies equally to academics, statesman and priests once they are in the thrall of a crowd.

I had just finished Patrick Buchanans book-Churchill, Hitler and the unnecessary war. That book posited the failure of politicians and foreign policy, but I see there were no errors as such. The reality is the absolute domination of crowd sentiment which drives events and actions of even the most resilient individual.
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This is one of those books that will completely give you a different and more coherent understanding of what's passing around you in the world of today and of what has passed in the world of the past. Humans like to think that they're in control of their own actions and thoughts but, in reality, at least in civilizations, every one of them is subject to the power of crowds.

Crowds are characterized by their impulsiveness, irritability, incapability, incapacity to reason, the absence of judgment and of critical spirit, the exaggeration of sentiments and of extreme credulity. These are caused by the disappearance of the sense of responsibility, the contagious nature of feelings, thoughts and actions in crowds, and the complete loss of individual conscious personality as he is immersed in a crowd, similar to what results from being hypnotized.

Crowds are not only those anonymous gatherings on streets; they can be juries, parliamentary assemblies, castes (eg. military, clergy), classes, etc. Electoral crowds and parliamentary assemblies, in particular, have an extreme lack of foresight. Policies that go along with democratic ideals and sem beneficial for everybody in the short-term are most likely unsustainable in the long-term but the effects seem far off in the future and politicians don't want to lose their vote. Indeed, the general characteristics of crowds are to be met in parliamentary assemblies: intellectual simplicity, irritability, suggestibility, the exaggeration of sentiments and the preponderating influence of a few leaders

Crowds need a leader: one that is able to excite them, making general assertions, presented in striking terms, invoking images in their minds and selling them illusions: "Crowds never thirsted after truth.
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I would say anyone with some degree of "knowing themselves" would see Le Bon's text as often stating the obvious. Nevertheless, published in 1895, maybe worth a read - given we live in the age of the crowd ( AKA mass media, social media, the Internet )

But oh dear! Pretty early on Le Bon speaks of "inferior evolutionay forms".........you've guessed it - women! Nevermind.

Just another one of those cheap little ebooks that will inform and possibly amuse anyone with an interest in psychology......and lovers of Monty Python perhaps.
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This book should be read by everyone! I cannot say enough to recommend it. It doesn't matter what your political bent , or religion is.... He exposes it all for what it is.
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Classic. Should be interesting for modern narrative specialists to learn that much of it all was known already some time ago.
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Too true!
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Good book!
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Excellent book well written.
Want to be dehypnotised? Read this great book.
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