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

ISBN: 978-0-470-11232-8
432 pages
August 2007
Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets: Surviving the Public Spectacle in Finance and Politics (0470112328) cover image

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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Part One. Mobs.

Section One. A Critique of Impure Reason.

Chapter One. Do-Gooders Gone Bad.

Chapter Two. Love in the Time of Viagra.

Chapter Three. The Transit of Venus.

Section Two. Witch Hunts and War Drums.

Chapter Four. The Devil Made Them Do It.

Chapter Five. Words of War.

Part Two. Messiahs.

Section Three. Militant Messiahs.

Chapter Six. War and Remembrance.

Chapter Seven. Empire of Delusion.

Chapter Eight. Heroes of the Revolution.

Part Three. Markets.

Section Four. Flattening the Globe.

Chapter Nine. The Number Game.

Chapter Ten. The Flat Earth Society.

Chapter Eleven. What the Yonghy Bonghy Bo Didn't Know.

Section Five. The Bubble Kings.

Chapter Twelve. Fin de Bubble.

Chapter Thirteen. The Million Dollar Trailer.

Chapter Fourteen. Central Bank Bamboozle.

Chapter Fifteen. The Mother of the Mother of All Bubbles.

Section Six. Far From the Madding Mob.

Chapter Sixteen. How Not to be Chumped by Wall Street.

Chapter Seventeen. The Dupe of Hearts.

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William (Bill) Bonner is President and CEO of Agora Inc., 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 contributing editor/writer at Agora Publishing Group and the creator of the blog, The Mind-Body Politic (www.lilarajiva.com).

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"…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

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Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets: Surviving the Public Spectacle in Finance and Politics (US $27.95)

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