Markets, Mobs & Mayhem: How to Profit From the Madness of Crowds

ISBN 10: 0471718882 / ISBN 13: 9780471718888
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Synopsis: In this fascinating tour through cultural, global, economic, and business history, icon of the financial world Robert Menschel explores the phenomenon of crowd psychology and its effects on business and culture. Explaining how crowd psychology creates market bubbles and irrational exuberance, Menschel mines world history—from the rise of the Nazis in Germany, to the fanatical love of brands, to the Dutch tulip craze of the seventeenth century, to America’s 1990s Internet bubble—to reveal how the behavior of crowds negatively affects the business world. Championing the causes of individuality and common sense, Markets, Mobs & Mayhem offers real wisdom for investors who want to keep their wits when everyone else is losing theirs.

From the Inside Flap: "After heavy doses of 'irrational exuberance' and 'infectious greed,' I was happy to read such a witty and, at the same time, sensible and wise book written by someone with the unusual combination of a stylish pen and a great investment track record."
-Peter G. Peterson
Chairman, The Blackstone Group
former Secretary of Commerce
Chairman, Federal Reserve Bank of New York

A few years ago the Nasdaq was flying high and dot.com millionaires were a dime a dozen. The American economy appeared to be riding an endless wave of soaring stock prices and huge IPOs. Television's talking heads said that nothing like the tech boom had ever happened before and that there was no reason to think it would ever end.

In fact, it was only the latest version of an important story: group hysteria. Ever since 1630s Holland became the center of a massive explosion in tulip speculation, bubbles and busts have shaped history- economically, socially, and politically. Today, with the scope of the media and the ease of obtaining information, we are more at risk than ever. Elections are won or lost on hype alone; scandal can go global in a matter of seconds on the Internet. Keeping your head has never been harder.

In Markets, Mobs, and Mayhem, Robert Menschel chronicles some of the most memorable instances of mob thinking in history. He touches on the lynch mob and the Nazis, but his main focus is those well-meaning, intelligent folks who were simply swept up in a wave-fearful that their mail would be tainted by anthrax, or sure that the Nasdaq would never deflate. Bouyed by the crowd or the spreading rumor, we are later hard pressed to remember or rationalize our actions.

From Ponzi's scheme to the bursting of the Internet bubble, Menschel presents enlightening and often entertaining evidence of the danger inherent in surrendering one's position to the crowd. Most important, Markets, Mobs, and Mayhem offers expert advice on staying cool in the midst of panic-advice that works just as well in a Wall Street meltdown as it does in a theater on fire.

Whether you're a savvy investor looking to dodge the next crash, or just want to stoke your independent spirit, Markets, Mobs, and Mayhem is an insightful historical survey of the dark side of human nature.

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