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Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Written by Scottish journalist Charles Mackay and first published in 1841, "Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" is an amazing chronicle of human recklessness.

The book chronicles various episodes in time when otherwise intelligent individuals have jumped, en masse, into hare-brained speculative frenzies such as the Tulip Mania, the South Sea Bubble and the Mississippi Bubble. The book is divided into three parts: "National Delusions", "Peculiar Follies" and "Philosophical Delusions", in which Mackay debunks not only economic bubbles, but other silly episodes in human history.

We may think that the Great Crash of 1929, junk bonds of the 1980s and the dotcom bubble of the 1990s are 20th century aberrations, but Mackay's classic shows that the madness and confusion of crowds knows no limits.

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