Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets: Surviving the Public Spectacle in Finance and Politics

Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets: Surviving the Public Spectacle in Finance and Politics

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By (author) Will Bonner, By (author) Lila Rajiva

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  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 424 pages
  • Dimensions: 142mm x 218mm x 33mm | 454g
  • Publication date: 6 October 2009
  • Publication City/Country: Chichester
  • ISBN 10: 0470474807
  • ISBN 13: 9780470474808
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Illustrations note: , black & white line drawings, figures, charts, graphs
  • Sales rank: 127,888

Product description

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 war on terror, from dot-com mania to the real estate bubble, people have always been caught up in frauds, conceits, and wild guesses-often with devastating results. In Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets, Bonner and coauthor Lila Rajiva show groupthink at work in an improbable array of instances throughout history and reveal why swimming against the current pays. Shares the deeper secrets of investing and pushes you to question what this means for your financial well-being Explains why people so often abandon good sense and good behavior to "follow the crowd" Offers concrete advice on how you can avoid the "public spectacle" of modern finance The authors' cautionary tale of bubble economies reveals how the gush of credit let loose by Alan Greenspan has wreaked havoc on our lives-but their thoughtful and always entertaining approach also offers some sound investing principles for avoiding the pitfalls of the public spectacle, thinking for yourself, and protecting your money, your sanity, and your soul.

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Author information

William (Bill) Bonner is President and CEO of Agora Financial, one of the world's largest financial newsletter companies (www.agorafinancial.com). He is the creator of the Daily Reckoning, a contrarian financial newsletter (www.dailyreckoning.com). Bonner is also the author, with Addison Wiggin, of the international bestsellers Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt . Lila Rajiva is a political journalist and the author of The Language of Empire , a groundbreaking study of the media coverage of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. She is a contributor to Agora Financial (www.agorafinancial.com) and the creator of the blog, The Mind-Body Politic (www.lilarajiva.wordpress.com).

Review quote

.,."extremely timely...irreverent but thought-provoking examination of the goings on in international finance today... packs a serious punch." ("The Independent") "To say that this book is skeptical or contrarian is like saying Warren Buffett has money....entertaining criticism of anything and everything...I read the full 400 pages in just a few days.."-Rob May at "Business Pundit (Top 10 business site) http: //www.businesspundit.com/50226711/mobs_messiahs_and_markets.php"(Nov. 2007) .,."the recent market instability stemming out of subprime woes makes this book extremely timely." ("Gulf Business," February 2008) ""Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets" by William Bonner and Lila Rajiva is a fascinating work....downright hilarious...a serious look at an important phenomenon in the human condition."- Dr. Jonathan Dolhenty of the highly rated philosophy site, Radical Academy (Oct. 2007) "a sharp-witted jaunt through the mass hysteria that's defined markets and people through the ages" -Money Week (Sept. 2007) "William Bonner and Lila Rajiva provide the answers in this exhilarating -- if somewhat depressing -- book. Although their insights will often make readers laugh out loud, they will also find themselves wriggling uncomfortably at the manifold idiocies of human behaviour." -The National Post, Canada (Nov. 07) "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles MacKay would be a better choice to begin. Without that context for this book, you'll find yourself gobbling caviar without knowing what it is." - Donald Mitchell, author of The 2000 Percent Solution, December 18, 2007 "A fascinating book," - Alan Caruba in Book Views, December, 2007 "Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets is a tragi-comedy, full of sharp observations, delivered with equally sharp wit. This book's dark and disturbing revelations could leave one depressed and disillusioned, were it not so damn funny." -- Adam Bergen at Blog Critics, December 31, 2007

Back cover copy

Praise forMobs, Messiahs, and Markets"This book strikes at the center of conventional wisdom. It is brilliant and fun to read." --Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of "Fooled by Randomness" and "The Black Swan""As fun to read as it is thought-provoking and filled with fascinating insights into how the world really works." --John Mauldin, President, Millennium Wave Advisors, LLC and author of "Bull's Eye Investing" and "Just One Thing""Learn about Fed bubbles and make Ben Bernanke unhappy: read this book." --Lew Rockwell, President, the Ludwig von Mises Institute"A cock-eyed, frolicking hell of a read." --Dr. Mark Skousen, Professor of Economics and author of "EconoPower""I laughed aloud, I learned, and I was even offended. Behind the crafty writing, the authors share the deeper secrets of investing and push us to question what we believe." --Steve Sjuggerud, Editor of the investment newsletter "True Wealth""Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets is one of the funniest and most entertaining books I have ever read. If I had to name just one book investors should read, this is the one I would select." --Dr. Marc Faber, contrarian guru, author of "Tomorrow's Gold, " and Editor of the "Gloom, Boom & Doom Report""Entertainingly and irreverently investigates the 'do-gooders' and 'world-improvers' who stir up mass hysteria, unjustified wars, and financial crises, while at the same time it warns readers how to better protect themselves and their pocketbooks." --Ron Paul, United States Congressman

Flap copy

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 war on terror, from the dot-com mania to the real estate bubble, people have always been caught up in frauds, conceits, and wild guesses--often with devastating results. In Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets, Bonner and coauthor Lila Rajiva show groupthink at work in an improbable array of instances throughout history and reveal why swimming against the current pays. They explain why people so often abandon good sense and good behavior to "follow the crowd" and show you how to avoid getting caught up in the public spectacles around you. If an investor merely recognizes the way mob sentiment works, the authors point out, he is far ahead of most others. Ordinary people, for example, turn over billions of dollars' worth of their hard-earned money to brokers and mutual fund managers every day--immediate, tangible, personal money--believing that strangers will give them back even more. Whatever would make them think so? Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets demonstrates that investors are in fact caught between a rock and a soft place--between the private world they can understand and master and the misleading public spectacle of the markets. "The further away you get from your investments, and the less you suffer the consequences if they go bad, the worse your performance will be," say Bonner and Rajiva. "That's why 'collective'investments like index-linked funds, mutual funds, hedge funds, insurance funds, and pension funds are usually so bad. The investors are too far from the facts--and the managers are too far from the consequences." The authors' cautionary tale of the current bubble economy warns that the gush of credit let loose by Alan Greenspan is fraught with perils for the unwary--but their thoughtful and always entertaining approach also offers some sound investing principles for avoiding the pitfalls of the public spectacle, thinking for yourself, and protecting your money, your sanity, and your soul.

Table of contents

Part One: A Critique of Impure Reason. Chapter 1. Do-Gooders Gone Bad. Chapter 2. Love in the Time of Viagra. Chapter 3. The Transit of Venus. Part Two: Witch Hunts and War Drums. Chapter 4. The Devil Made Them Do It. Chapter 5. Words of War. Part Three: Militant Messiahs. Chapter 6. War and Remembrance. Chapter 7. Empire of Delusion. Chapter 8. Heroes of the Revolution. Part Four: Flattening the Globe. Chapter 9. The Number Game. Chapter 10. The Flat Earth Society. Chapter 11. What the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo Didn't Know. Part Five: The Bubble Kings. Chapter 12. Fin de Bubble. Chapter 13. The Million-Dollar Trailer. Chapter 14. Central Bank Bamboozle. Chapter 15. The Mother of the Mother of All Bubbles. Part Six: Far From the Madding Mob. Chapter 16. How Not to Be Chumped by Wall Street. Chapter 17. The Dupe of Hearts. Notes. Index.