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



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

Will Bonner, Lila Rajiva

ISBN: 978-1-118-03915-1 December 2010 432 Pages



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.

Part One: A Critique of Impure Reason.

Chapter 1. Do-Gooders Gone Bad.

Chapter 2. Love in the Time of Viagra.

Chapter 3. The Transit of Venus.

Part Two: Witch Hunts and War Drums.

Chapter 4. The Devil Made Them Do It.

Chapter 5. Words of War.

Part Three: Militant Messiahs.

Chapter 6. War and Remembrance.

Chapter 7. Empire of Delusion.

Chapter 8. Heroes of the Revolution.

Part Four: Flattening the Globe.

Chapter 9. The Number Game.

Chapter 10. The Flat Earth Society.

Chapter 11. What the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo Didn't Know.

Part Five: The Bubble Kings.

Chapter 12. Fin de Bubble.

Chapter 13. The Million-Dollar Trailer.

Chapter 14. Central Bank Bamboozle.

Chapter 15. The Mother of the Mother of All Bubbles.

Part Six: Far From the Madding Mob.

Chapter 16. How Not to Be Chumped by Wall Street.

Chapter 17. The Dupe of Hearts.



"…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)

"...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