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Showing 1-10 of 18 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 26 reviews
on January 4, 2017
This book is a collection of news letters and articles the author wrote over the 1950s and early 1960s. Most are relating to world and domestic economics and politics. To me this book was seldom interesting and I had to force myself to finish reading it. The best part of it is the very last chapter written by Samuel Pettengill. I can't say that I learned anything significant from reading this book. I could not find anything that helps or teaching contrary thinking beyond plain encouragement to think contrary.
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on December 30, 2016
Great idea on that nagging feeling of always wanting to be the one person in the room and avoiding group think. Book is part book and collection of essays that allows for pick up and go reading but can be fragmented if you read through for a whole.

Note to the Editor: The spelling errors are frustrating as I am catching them that Word Spell check could have fixed. Shows laziness.
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on August 12, 2014
This book will have you looking at things in a completely different way. After reading it, you wont always assume something just happened. You will wonder why it happened. Did the small plane just crash or did someone tamper with the engine so it would crash shortly after take off? Give things some might change your mind and realized things don't often look as they appear.
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on August 23, 1999
Mr Neill lays out in short, specific chapters, his arguments for why popular opinions often times turn out to be wrong, while the opposite, contrary opinion, would turn out to be corrrect. The historical examples he uses make one wonder if the "New Economy" of the 1990's is really just a precursor to the types of events seen in the late 1920's/early 1930's and the early 1950's, when prominent economists touted a New Era of prosperity (we all know what the happened afterwards).
Mr. Neill also cites past writers who analyzed the behavior of man, and how he gets caught up in the "herd". While sometimes getting off the subject, Mr. Neill lays out a clear framwork of how one assesses what the "popular" opinion is, and how to teach yourself not to get caught up in the herd and to think independantly.
A highly recommended book for those who wish to understand how contrary minds think, or for those who need a "refresher" (getting your mind out of a rut according to Neill).
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on January 25, 2014
This is a really good read illustrating the madness of crowds and the virtues of contrarian thinking. I would suggest anyone with a bit of time on their hands interested in expanding their independent thought process to have a look at this book.
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on October 24, 2016
Probably very good for the audience for whom it was written. I was looking for a social context, but this is economic. For someone who is a "Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary", non-conformist, in every-day life, this is not the book you are looking for.
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on April 3, 2016
too many typo's at least 100 that I found that made reading difficult, other than that a good read
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on November 2, 2015
As a thinker owning a Mensa card I admire and appreciate contrary consideration of ideas, attitudes, notions and policies.
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on February 26, 2012
This book is a great work in so many ways. Neill lays out a formula for thinking, decision-making, understanding demographic reaction, leveraging value, and predicting the future that is nearly flawless, to the extent that anyone can. Most of our behavior is spent watching the reactions of others and desperately trying to find a way to fit in or join them. Very often we are late to recognize value, and even later to recognize the erosion of it.

Neill reveals his thinking philosophy and methodology proven in his own life as applied to investment and business. His theory that the herd (the vast majority of people) is usually wrong at both ends of the spectrum is demonstrated by examples, and the bell-shaped Gaussian curve. Neill instructs that herd is generally correct in normal times to significant degree, which is represented by the center hump (2 standard deviations) of human performance in the center. But, it is the tails of either end that an opportunity to reverse course and go in the opposite direction. Choosing an oppositional course strategy places you individually in a place to either capture increasing value from the herd joining you later, or anticipates the bubble bursting and gets you out before you lose that same escalating or leveraged value in the swift decline that follows.

Quality of thinking is improved by always looking for the contrary. Then all options are available for choice. If the herd always reverses, then we must be suspicions by their labels. When a brand is considered the "best," it is actually a signal that it is time to scrutinize that belief with a glance at the facts. The erosion has probably already started and decline is on the way.

This book helps explain the public, market, and reaction to innovation or fad. It is also useful to understand stocks, real estate, or even politics. In Neill's 1950's world, he favors the old style conservatism of Republicans. The kind I used to rely upon and enjoy. But, oddly, every complaint about Dems of his time, appear to be accurate against the present day Republicans. This is clearly an example of how herd behavior can change and how the pendulum swings over time. Unwittingly, I did not change, but the Republicans left me as they swung away from sound conservative practices and principles.

Neill explains how the crowd can think it is the same, even though it has gone too far. The herd changes by increment over time. Facts change in life, which requires modification to accompany, sometimes even in thinking. Neill explains how and why this occurs. Then the bubble pops and the opposing philosophy is actually the correct one. Save yourself from losing, and take advantage of the good by letting the herd go. They eventually learn when the stock crashes and the once cherished value becomes worthless.

This book should be read by every standardist, investor, consumer, homeowner, teenager, and businessperson.
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on November 29, 2015
A classic for all of you economists and a hard to find book. Thanks for a smooth transaction.
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