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The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind Paperback – January 8, 2002
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Top Customer Reviews
"A hundred petty crimes or petty accidents will not strike the imagination of crowds in the least, whereas a single great crime or a single great accident will profoundly impress them, even though the results be infinitely less disastrous than those of the hundred small accidents put together.
The epidemic of influenza, which caused the death but a few years ago of five thousand persons in Paris alone, made very little impression on the popular imagination. The reason was that this veritable hecatomb was not embodied in any visible image, but was only learnt from statistical information furnished weekly.
An accident which should have caused the death of only five hundred instead of five thousand persons, but on the same day and in public, as the outcome of an accident appealing stronly to the eye, by the fall for instance of the Eiffel Tower [sic], would have produced, on the contrary, an immense impression on the imagination of the crowd.
... To know the art of impressing the imagination of crowds is to know at the same time the art of governing them."
What came into my mind after reading that passage? Airplanes and collapsing towers. This book is a must read for any thinking person.
The Book is divided in three parts. You can leave the third unread. It deals with classifications of different kinds of crowds with examples which very much relate to the 19:th century and also displays a little too much of Le Bon's fear of socialism. I'm no friend of socialism but this feels dated. The first two parts are at the same time extremely cynical and completely brilliant. Even if the language is old-fashioned it becomes wholly clear for every reader that group psychology hasn't changed a bit in 115 years. Any study of crowd behaviour should start here.
There are too many interesting topics in the book to cover in a review but one of the important ones is how a collective mind, separated from the individual minds of those constituting the group, forms as the individuals repress traits and knowledge of their own. Temporarily the individual mind could almost be dissolved. As the incorporation in a group is driven by feelings and the very emotional state makes analysis extremely difficult the collective mind is emotionally driven.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Evaluation of crowd psychology. An excellent and informative presentation. Helps to explain a few things that don't make sense otherwisePublished 2 days ago by OlGreySurfDude
Everyone should read this book if you want to understand why politics are the way they are.Published 1 month ago by Lawrence Roscoe
This is an amazingly interesting book about the power of the collective mind. I would highly recommend it!Published 2 months ago by Kathleen
Nice analysis of the dynamics of crowd and it was pretty clean to read. Bought this book new and read it, would probably reread again at some point.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Not an easy read but amazingly insightful. Written nearly 200 years ago and contains accurate and modern realities of our time. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is a historical accounting of the ways in which crowds can be influenced. More like a news report than any novel. Read morePublished 4 months ago by John C. Judy Jr.
One of the most profound books I have ever read.
By Crowd Le Bon does not just mean an immediate gathering, but any type of group conscious, such as a nation, a... Read more
This is a classic. It's good to have it in Kindle form. I've got it in paperback somewhere.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer