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Publisher's Summary

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 the dot-com mania to the real-estate bubble, people have always been caught up in frauds, conceits, and wild guesses - often with devastating results. Now Bonner and co-author Lila Rajiva show groupthink at work in an improbable array of instances throughout history and reveal why swimming against the current pays. They explain why people so often abandon good sense and good behavior to "follow the crowd" and show you how to avoid getting caught up in the public spectacles around you.

If an investor merely recognizes the way mob sentiment works, he is far ahead of others. Ordinary people turn billions of dollars worth of their hard-earned money over to brokers and fund managers daily, believing that these strangers will give them back even more. Why?

This audiobook demonstrates that investors are in fact caught between a rock and a soft place - between the private world they can understand and master and the misleading public spectacle of the markets. "The farther away you get from your investments, and the less you suffer the consequences if they go bad, the worse your performance will be," say Bonner and Rajiva. "That's why 'collective' investments like index-linked funds, mutual funds, hedge funds, insurance funds, and pension funds are usually so bad. The investors are too far from the facts, and the managers are too far from the consequences."

©2007 Wiiliam Bonner and Lila Rajiva; (P)2007 Gildan Media Corp

Critic Reviews

"Entertainingly and irreverently investigates the "do-gooders" and "world-improvers" who stir up mass hysterias, unjustified wars and financial crises, while at the same time it warns readers how to better protect themselves and their pocketbooks." (Ron Paul, U.S. congressman and presidential candidate)
"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 investment newsletter)

What members say

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  • Overall
  • morton
  • Rego Park, NY, United States
  • 12-13-07

Great, Witty, Thought Provoking Audio

I laughed out loud and thoroughly enjoyed listening to this enlightening audio, about a very serious subject. The authors give a great lesson in market behavior and how we as investors can protect ourselves. It's a wonderful listen.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Not worth the time

As I near my 100th audio book I have listened all the way through to all but one. This will probably be the second I do not finish. Too bad, the basic premise has potential. Somewhere about disk three it has degraded to fancy language about how stupid mankind is (there are some special people singled out for special criticism). Still in all the dribble about how we can never really know anything the author apparently knows everything. I keep waiting for him to tell us what it is he knows, but there is just more and more about how stupid we are as a society (and how particular leaders and journalists are particularly stupid). If you are one of the people who views George Bush as evil personified there may be enough Bush bashing in this book to keep you interested, otherwise download something else. I will continue to endure for 3 more disks if it improves I will get back. Still there is so much great stuff on audible that in comparison this is one that is not worth your time.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Thomas
  • e. hartford, CT, USA
  • 11-08-08

Entertaining, useful but unfocused

Yes, I liked it overall. At some points it seemed the authors were being a bit mean-spirited, or they wandered a bit much. And in spite of the title, the book didn't feel like it was focused very clearly. That said, their contrary viewpoint was informative and amusing. The book entertained me and taught me some lessons.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • peter
  • Houten, Netherlands
  • 01-24-08


A truly wonderful book, written with humor for people who love freedom. All the fraud of the war racket exposed, the failure of government programs from early history to today. Why new nuclear submarines are bought which the navy does not even want.
The only thing that could have made it even better would be the argument from morality:violence is immoral and therefor the state is immoral. You can't ask for minimum wages enforced with state violence, without getting the paper money financed war racket along with it. It always was a package deal and always will be. Violence becomes violence

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jason
  • Hillsboro, OR, USA
  • 12-17-07

Ramblingly Vitriolic

This book was a complete waste. It's like listening to a "professional" blogger going off against other bloggers -- professional and otherwise -- using the Wikipedia for proof. They use far too many words for the few points that they try to make and they play fast and loose with their credibility (very obviously starting with the lemmings). But what's worst about this book -- which I had hoped would be depressing in an amusing and interesting way -- is that it's depressing in a despairing way that laments the human condition before wallowing in it for another blathering anti-punditry chapter.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Well read and fascinating

What did you love best about Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets?

The extremely broad coverage that describes how mobs behave, how messiahs are mindlessly followed, and how all this relates to the markets. I especially loved the use of simile and metaphor permeating the book. I had to laugh at the constructs and comparisons. They help drive home the message of the book with humor.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Hands down it is the anti-hero Greenspan. He is shown to be a hypocrite and ambitious toady to the administrations he served.

Have you listened to any of Erik Synnestvedt’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

He is a great reader. His voice and tone and pace keep the book lively and never boring.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, but it was a long haul. It is in three parts.

Any additional comments?

I have listened to this book several times and especially Part 3, which I keep repeating in order to better understand all the nuances of what has been done to our economy and our nation.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Crowd control

Attempts to explain the dynamics of politics, religion, and the market via fresh perspectives counter to some other popular authors such as Friedman (The World Is Flat) and Surowiecki (The Wisdom of Crowds). He points out the good theories of both authors but attacks them head on as not representing the true un-flat world with its uneducated masses pulled down to the lowest level by a fear to stand out and buck against the majority. Interesting read.

  • Overall
  • Stebin
  • Bellerose, NY, USA
  • 01-30-08

Excellent Book

Very insightful book that puts two and two together.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Paul
  • Cary, NC, United States
  • 02-02-08

Worst audible book yet

Worst audible book yet.

This book is like meeting someone at a dinner party who goes on and on about how they see the world, and you don't know how to stop them. Worst of all, you know what they are saying isn't quite right, or is quite trite.

The basic point of the book is a good one, however, you can get all you need by reading the summary.

2 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

The most myopic and deluded book of the year

This book is not only tasteless and narrow minded but is also extremely ill founded and moderately illogical. The primary good that can be said of it is that the writer has a knack for aggrandizing and painting a vivid picture even if it is based on misinformation. I will concede that there are a few well founded points but it is taxing to have to wade through so much material to glean so little. My greatest regret is that I supported his attempts though my purchase of this book. It has been both a waste of time and money.

2 of 10 people found this review helpful