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Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets: Surviving the Public Spectacle in Finance and Politics Hardcover – August 31, 2007

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Editorial Reviews


"…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) 2007)

"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." -- Abram Bergen at Blog Critics, December 31, 2007

From the Publisher

Comments in advance:

"The book strikes at the center of conventional wisdom. It is brilliant, deep, and fun to read."

-- Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of the legendary international best-seller, "Fooled By Randomness" and "The Black Swan."

"Learn about Fed bubbles, and make Ben Bernanke unhappy: Read this book."

-- Lew Rockwell, President of The Ludwig von Mises Institute.

"Entertainingly and irreverently investigates the "do-gooders" and "world-improvers" who stir up mass hysterias, unjustified wars and financial crises, while at the same time it warns readers how to better protect themselves and their pocketbooks."

-- Congressman Ron Paul, Presidential Candidate.

"A classic for the student of the current period in history...If I had to name just one book investors should read, this is the one I would select."

--Dr. Marc Faber, editor of the maverick "Gloom Boom and Doom Report" and author of the Amazon best seller, "Tomorrow's Gold- Asia's Age of Discovery.

"As fun to read as it is thought-provoking," -- John Mauldin, author of the New York Times best seller, Bull's Eye Investing and editor of "Thoughts from the Frontline.

"A cock-eyed, frolicking hell of a read."

-- Dr. Mark Skousen, Professor of Economics and editor of The Worldly Philosophers.

"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. "Think for yourself!" this book screams.

-- Steve Sjuggerud, editor of True Wealth, one of the world's most widely read investment letters.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (August 31, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470112328
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470112328
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,098,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

155 of 189 people found the following review helpful By M. L Lamendola VINE VOICE on October 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets provides insights that run counter to the propaganda spewed by the mainstream media. Thought-provoking and myth-challenging, it will delight those who value liberty. People who believe the government is "here to help you" or that the tooth fairy really does leave coins under your pillow won't like Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets. That's their problem.

Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets looks at how and why people do stupid things en masse. Understanding how mass manipulation works can help you avoid trotting off the cliff in a herd of lemmings, so this stuff is good to know. One of the tools of mass manipulation is the really big lie. Quite adroitly, Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets looks at specific lies and gives them a sound thrashing.

An example of a really big lie
Let's look at example of one such lie: Alan Greenspan did a great job as Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Anyone who has paid the slightest bit of attention to the economic data knows that's false. But prior to reading Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets, I thought he was just incompetent. The truth is far worse. The truth is that Alan Greenspan's collusion with the Clintons amounted to a theft of half our assets and half our income. He accomplished this theft by undermining our currency so much that the dollar lost half its value during his "reign of reverse gain."

Look around. Now, imagine someone barges into your home and burns half of everything you own--including half your home. While the flames are still roaring, they access your investments, retirement accounts, and any other liquid or not so liquid assets of yours and take half of those, as well. Just as the fire trucks roll up, your boss calls and tells you that from now on your wages will be 50% less--after taxes.
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47 of 55 people found the following review helpful By JSB Morse VINE VOICE on September 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
At first glance, this book appears to be the antithesis of a favorite of mine, The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki-- the authors Bonner and Rajiva criticize the efficacy of mob rule and the intelligence of the group. Further in the read, however, it is clear that "Mobs" is not the antithesis of "Crowds", and actually agrees with one of the central principles of Surowieckis book, but has just a fraction of the scope, despite the great read that it is.

After bashing group-think, as a true Socratic would, in a methodical and convincing manner, the authors turn their focus on another popular American pastime of late--Bush bashing, then go on to describe the impending collapse of the entire world economy. It's evident that mobs are irrational and tend to do some regretful things (like killing a famous Athenian philosopher) and Bonner and Rajiva have no quarrel here, but to say that the negatives of group-think refutes "The Wisdom of the Crowds" is like saying Socrates wasn't wise because he asked more questions than gave answers. As Surowiecki explains, crowds are only more intelligent than their constituent parts if they are made up of independent thinkers, not mobs. Bonner and Rajiva would surely agree to that and do to an extent in their book.

After a bit of Bush bashing and anti-Iraq-war sentiment, the authors deflate the Che Guevera revolution succinctly. But George and Che are the minions of a larger-picture chess match, in which there is a larger antagonist--Alan Greenspan. The authors make the case against Greenspan's lowering of interest rates to try to stave off a recession as the creation of the "Mother of the Mother of All Bubbles".
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Jonathan Dolhenty on October 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
"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.
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