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Agora #2: Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets: Surviving the Public Spectacle in Finance and Politicsby William Bonner
Synopses & Reviews
Why Going Against the Grain Pays.
Bestselling author Bill Bonner has long been a maverick observer of the financial and political world, sharpening his sardonic wit, in particular, on the vagaries of the investing public. Market booms and busts, tulip manias and dotcom bubbles, venture capitalists and vulture funds, he lets you know, are best explained not by dry statistics and obscure theories but by the metaphors and analogies of literature.
Now, in Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets,Bonner and freelance journalist Lila Rajiva use literary economics to offer broader insights into mass behavior and its devastating effects on society. Why is it, they ask, that perfectly sane and responsible individuals can get together, and by some bizarre alchemy turn into an irrational mob? What makes them trust charlatans and demagogues who manipulate their worst instincts? Why do they abandon good sense, good behavior and good taste when an empty slogan is waved in front of them. Why is the road to hell paved with so many sterling intentions? Why is there a" fool on every corner and a knave in every public office?
In attempting an answer, the authors weave a light-hearted journey through history, politics and finance to show group think at work in an improbable array of instances, from medieval crusades to the architectural follies of hedge-fund managers. Their journey takes them ultimately to the desk of the chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank and to a cautionary tale of the current bubble economy. They warn that the gush of credit let loose by Alan Greenspan and multiplied by the sophisticated number games of Wall Street whizzes is fraught with perils for the unwary. Boom without end, pronounces The Street." But Bonner and Rajiva are more cynical. When the higher math and the greater greed come together, watch out below!
Mobs, Messiahs, and Marketsends by giving concrete advice on how readers can avoid what the authors call the public spectacle of modern finance," and become, instead, private investors -" knowing their own mind and following their own intuitions. The authors have no gimmicks to offer here -"" but instead give a better understanding of the dynamics of market behavior, allowing prudent investors to protect themselves from the fads and follies of the investment markets.
Book News Annotation:
Financial consultant Bonner and journalist Rajiva point out that history is rife with people following everyone else to their mutual doom, and prove it with a good number of examples. They also show that taking the lead or at least knowing when and when not to follow seems to be the best course for financial and thereby personal success. They recommend that investors become as educated as possible about the specifics of their respective markets and thereby develop a good nose for the right thing, not the next big thing. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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.
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.
Praise for Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets
"This book strikes at the center of conventional wisdom. It is brilliant, deep, and fun to read."
—Nicholas Nassim Taleb, author of the legendary investment classic, Fooled by Randomness, and the recent bestseller on probability, The Black Swan
"As fun to read as it is thought-provoking and filled with fascinating insights into how the world really works. It will teach you a proper skepticism as to what we are told by the mainstream media."
—John Mauldin, President, Millennium Wave Advisors, LLC author of the New York Times bestsellers, Bull's Eye Investing and Just One Thing
"Learn about Fed bubbles and make Ben Bernanke unhappy: read this book."
—Lew Rockwell, President, the Ludwig von Mises Institute
"A cock-eyed, frolicking hell of a read."
—Dr. Mark Skousen, Professor of Economics and Editor, The Worldly Philosophers
"I laughed aloud, I learned, and I was even offended. Behind the crafty writing, the authors share the deeper secrets of investing and push us to question what we believe. 'Think for yourself!' this book screams."
—Steve Sjuggerud, Editor, True Wealth, one of the world's most widely read investment letters
"Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets is one of the funniest and most entertaining books I have ever read. A classic for the student of the current period in history. If I had to name just one book investors should read, this is the one I would select."
—Dr. Marc Faber, world-famous contrarian guru, author of the bestseller, Tomorrow's Gold, and Editor of the maverick Gloom Boom & Doom Report
"Entertainingly and irreverently investigates the 'do-gooders' and 'world-improvers' who stir up mass hysteria, unjustified wars, and financial crises, while at the same time it warns readers how to better protect themselves and their pocketbooks."
—Ron Paul, Congressman and Presidential candidate
About the Author
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).
Table of Contents
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.
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