Dot.Con: The Real Story of Why the Internet Bubble Burst

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9780141006666: Dot.Con: The Real Story of Why the Internet Bubble Burst

This is a sceptical history of the internet/stock market boom. John Cassidy argues that what we have just witnessed wasn't simply a stock market bubble; it was a social and cultural phenomenon driven by broad historical forces. Cassidy explains how these forces combined to produce the buying hysteria that drove the prices of loss-making companies into the stratosphere. Much has been made of Alan Greenspan's phrase "irrational exuberance", but Cassidy shows that there was nothing irrational about what happened. The people involved - fund managers, stock analysts, journalists and pundits - were simply acting in their own self-interest. Technology provided the raw material for the boom, but that is only part of the story. "Dot.con" describes and explains the all-too-human behaviour of the stock market bubble: how it got going; sustained itself for longer than anybody expected; and then, just when people were starting to think it might not be a speculative bubble after all, went pop.

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Review:

John Cassidy's Dot.con is the most sweeping and definitive assessment published thus far of the stock market mania that swept this country in the late 1990s. Cassidy, who covers economics and finance for The New Yorker finds many seeds for the boom: Vannerver Bush's "memex" machine, the "intellectual forerunner of the World Wide Web"; increasing popularity of 401K and IRAs, which introduced millions of Americans to the equity markets, giving rise to a "stock market culture"; and the attention and hype in the late 80s and early 90s surrounding the "information superhighway" promoted by the likes of Al Gore, Newt Gingrich and Nicolas Negroponte. When Netscape went public in 1995, the Internet-mania began a five-year run that was fueled in part by the media, the policies promoted by Alan Greenspan and the Federal Reserve, the rise of day trading and the deluge of IPOs brought to market by firms such as Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch and their analyst cheerleaders Mary Meeker and Henry Blodget. For anyone who got caught up in the mania and foundered in its eventual crash, Dot.con is a bittersweet trip down memory lane that Cassidy captures just perfectly. -- Harry C Edwards

Review:

“ For those who thought we knew it all already, it’s the book we wish we had written” -- The Observer

“ John Cassidy has written the definitive history of the dot.com boom” -- The Sun

“Admirably lucid and comprehensive” -- The Guardian

“Thoroughly persuasive” -- The Economist

“a story about pre-millennial America, its hopes, fears and unquestioned assumptions.” -- The Sunday Times

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Cassidy, John
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