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The Wave Principle of Human Social Behavior and the New Science of Socionomics Hardcover – January 1, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

Comments from the Author: Robert R. Prechter, Jr.

The social sciences today are where the physical sciences were three hundred years ago: on the verge of a revolution. Ralph Nelson Elliott discovered that social mood, impelled by an unconscious herding impulse, fluctuates in a recognizable pattern reflecting a natural growth principle, which he called the Wave Principle. Socionomics is the study of these patterns and their effects, i.e., social action and the events of history. Because it has a mathematical base, the Wave Principle is to sociology what Newton’s laws were to physics. It provides a basis and framework within which to study and quantify social behavior and thus serves as an anchor for the undertaking of true social science. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Author Bio: Robert R. Prechter, Jr.

Robert R. Prechter, Jr. has achieved worldwide fame as an author, investment analyst, businessman and social commentator. In 1978, he co-authored with A.J. Frost Elliott Wave Principle: Key to Market Behavior. The book sold more than 300,000 copies and became a Wall Street Best Seller. Three other books have followed, all of them achieving similar success. In addition to his books, he is the editor of the Elliott Wave Theorist, an award-winning newsletter that has enjoyed immense popularity in its 20 years of publication. In 1984, Prechter disproved any doubters that the Elliott Wave Principle was a window to financial opportunity when he set an all-time record in the United States Trading Championship. Using the Wave Principle as his only method of analysis, he returned 444.4% in a monitored, real-money options account in the four-month contest period. His success did not go unnoticed, and in December 1989, Financial News Network named him, “Guru of the Decade.” A flood of radio, television, and written interviews followed, including the cover of Time Magazine and Fortune. On the heels of this success, he founded Elliott Wave International, a successful technical investment analysis company located near Atlanta, Ga. Now, after years researching and studying the psychology and science behind the Wave Principle, Prechter delves deeper than ever before into the reasons for its existence and its universal implications. In his most recent book, The Wave Principle of Human Social Behavior he formulates his theories into a new branch of science he calls “socionomics.” The book is being hailed as a tremendous success by both general readers and academic scholars.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 463 pages
  • Publisher: New Classics Library (January 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0932750540
  • ISBN-13: 978-0932750549
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #918,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

For Robert Prechter's full biography, please visit

Robert R. Prechter, Jr., is a financial and social theorist and a market analyst. He is the President and CEO of Elliott Wave International and has written 14 books. Prechter is known for making a very bullish prediction in 1982 for a 1920s-style stock market boom which he detailed in his 1978 book, Elliott Wave Principle. Elliott Wave Principle with A.J. Frost (1978) forecasted the great bull market of the 1980s and 1990s. His 2002 New York Times best seller, Conquer the Crash, predicted the current debt crisis. It is the only book that advised readers to avoid all investments and hold safe cash. Prechter's two-book set Socionomics (2003) shows how his social and financial theories weave together with his market forecasting approach: Waves of group mood determine the tenor of society's actions, from more inward, dark, bearish expressions to more outward, sunnier and bullish endeavors. Prechter's website,, explains his socionomics hypothesis and how it applies to various human arenas.

Prechter has dedicated much of his career to employing and enhancing R. N. Elliott's financial pricing model called the Wave Principle. He began his career as a Technical Market Specialist with the Merrill Lynch Market Analysis Department. Prechter is President of Elliott Wave International, the world's largest market forecasting firm. EWI serves institutional and private investors around the world.

Financial Theory
Prechter's theory of financial causality proposes a separation between finance and economics. In the economic realm, goods and services have utility value and mostly are priced rationally via the Law of Supply and Demand. This leads to rough equilibrium. In the financial realm, investments are priced non-rationally, with changes fueled by uncertain future demand and according to the Law of Patterned Herding. This approach generates speculation and unceasing dynamism. Only once the analyst recognizes this divergence can he properly view financial pricing, Prechter asserts.

Prechter's theory of socionomics says that trends and events across a broad spectrum of human interaction are impelled by a common immutable force: social mood. With its claim that mood impels action and events, socionomics is unique; most social theories posit the reverse.
The Wave Principle
As a market analyst, Prechter applies the Wave Principle, a financial pricing model identified and described by Ralph Nelson Elliott in the 1930s. According to this model, financial market prices develop in a series of five- and three-wave forms and produce a fractal. Prechter has written and/or edited a dozen books on the Wave Principle. Prechter began applying the Wave Principle to financial markets in 1972. Prechter's firm, Elliott Wave International, analyzes every major financial market in the world, 24 hours a day, according to the Wave Principle.

Using the Wave Principle, Prechter won the U.S. Trading Championship in 1984 with a then-record 444% return in four months in a monitored, real-money options trading account. Prechter has won numerous speaking, timing and publishing awards, and in 1989, he was named "Guru of the Decade" by the Financial News Network (now CNBC). In 1999, Prechter received the Canadian Society of Technical Analysts' first annual A.J. Frost Memorial Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Development of Technical Analysis. In 2003, Traders Library granted him its Hall of Fame award.

Prechter was born in 1949. He attended Yale University on a full scholarship. In 1979, Prechter founded Elliott Wave International and began publishing monthly market analysis under the masthead, The Elliott Wave Theorist. He was a nine-year member the Market Technicians Association's board and was the MTA's President in 1990-1991. Prechter employs a staff of analysts who apply the Wave Principle, real-time, to every major market in the world. He recently created the Socionomics Institute, which elucidates socionomics, and he underwrites the Socionomics Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting socionomics-related academic research. Elliott Wave Principle has been translated into a dozen languages, and Conquer the Crash was a New York Times bestseller. Prechter has made multiple speeches and media appearances around the globe. In 2008, the Georgia state legislature asked Prechter to testify before the legislature's Joint Economic Committee regarding the developing real estate crisis. Bob is a member of the Triple Nine Society, the Shakespeare Oxford Society and the Shakespeare Fellowship.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Donna K. Hayward on August 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
As someone who is extremely interested in how the brain works and why we 'do what we do', as "rational" human beings, I found this book to be extremely compelling. I simply could not put it down. Prechter takes a huge compilation of material (from neuroscience, psychology, fractal anaylsis to technical stock market analysis) and boils it down into a beautifully written and fascinating look at how our mind and society is shaped and guided by an underlying mathematical pattern that is the foundation for all living systems.
We are lead by Prechter through a basic understanding of Ralph N. Elliott's Wave Principle - a technical method of stock market analysis Elliott discovered during the 1930's - and come to find that this pattern is fractal based, and not only indicates where the NASDAQ is going to go tomorrow, but shows us where we will go as a society!
This book is a must read for anyone studying brain function, psychology, or philosophy AND for the beginning and seasoned trader! I wish I had found this type of information years ago.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Eugene Morrow on August 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Imagine you were one of the first people to look through a telescope - and you suddenly found out that the sky was not merely wallpaper. You would have known that the discovery was a breakthrough, but what would happen would be spooky to think about.
That's how I feel reading Prechter's book about the new science of Socionomics. The telescope made sense of the jumble of lights in the night sky, as well as strange events like eclipses. The new science of Socionomics makes sense of a huge jumble of information in financial markets as well as strange events like crashes, manias, fads and fashions. The personality of markets and societies is linked directly to how our brains respond to certain types of input.
It is also a book that stirs up the back of your mind - are we really as independant in thinking as we imagine ourselves to be: how strongly are we influenced by the society around us? The book shows frightening evidence that our brains are hard wired to respond immediately to impulses stimulated by the human herd.
Overall, the book is like reading about the first observations from telescopes - it is a spooky glimpse into a world right in front of our faces that we've not understood until now. If you read it thoughtfully, the book will be both unsettling and inspiring in its implications.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Donald N. Mazeau on August 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If you use Elliott Wave in your investment analysis you know it works. If you try to point this out to a non-waver you feel like the round earth advocates must have felt 500 years ago defending their position to the flat earthers. After all it does look flat; and stock charts do just look like a bunch of squiggly lines.
After reading this book you begin to understand the science that is at work in Elliott Wave Theory, and believe me, they are not just a bunch of squiggles. Mr. Prechter makes his case brilliantly.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Woody Dorsey on November 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover
About twenty years ago, I was sitting in the office of a blue blood firm on Wall Street. The elderly partner closed the door, opened his desk drawer and asked: "Do you know about this?" I expected that the book he was handing me was either erotica or esoterica. It was the Elliott Wave Principle by A.J. Frost and Bob Prechter. Yes, I had heard of it, but not everyone had. Now, aspects of it are available on almost every investor's computer. It has become something of a universal language. But, one can order coffee in different cultures and in different cafes, but be served very different qualities of coffee. It depends on the Barista! Elliott wave may be known, but it may not be cognized. It is invariably associated with Bob Prechter. But he has always acknowledged that he was developing other people's ideas. Prechter has been famously known as being a fabulous bull and infamously regarded as a dire bear. Elliott wave is burdened with the Taboo of being "Technical." Many barbs against Technicals are conveniently anchored against Elliott. Elliott was, in part, developing the preliminary theory of Charles Dow whose eponymous average we wrestle with every day. Whether or not the majority recognizes the Elliott wave paradigm, there are patterns in markets which cryptozoic market speculators use every day.

Bob Prechter's new book, The Wave Principle of Human Social Behavior, subtitled the New Science of Socionomic([...] may represent his defining contribution to finance. It includes Elliott Wave but delves much further into the frontiers of finance. Investor psychology (the "Psychologicals," as I call them) are subsumed under the larger scale of Sociology (the "Sociologicals?") His book provides new material on Herding and Mood which are the pith of Behavioral Finance.
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20 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Joseph O. Polimeni on December 26, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Maybe I'm missing something but all I saw was cherry-picking examples to support a hypothesis that Fibonacci sequences and their .618 ratios are fundamentally related to human behaviors including the stock market. I understand there are thousands of guys analyzing previous trends claiming to have found the Holy Grail; statistically a portion will forecast correctly and therefore convince themselves the're on to something. As a neuroscientist interested in certain aspects of group dynamics, I found the psychology parts weak. Again, the author quotes from mostly ambitious/famous scientists claiming to be able to distill complex scientific problems with a clever quip. I don't feel confident enough to completely discount the hypothesis but I'm at least 61.8% sure you can pass this book up.
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