I just find this incredibly fascinating...

Will we *ever* learn from mistakes of the past? I'm guessing no. An excerpt from the executive summary of the book The Brand Bubble by John Gerzema:

Tulipmania and Inflated Brands

In 1841, Charles Mackay wrote a book
called "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds"
to describe various marketing phenomena. Of special note was
his passage on “Tulipmania,” an occurrence that took place
in Holland in the early decades of the 1600s. The madness
began when tulip bulbs imported from Turkey were found
to grow extremely well in Dutch soil. The Dutch aristocracy
acquired an immense taste for their beauty, and seeing
how much could be made from tulips, thousands of average
citizens sold their assets and began buying the bulbs.

People from all economic classes began trading in tulip
bulbs at exorbitant prices. Speculators even took out
futures contracts on unplanted bulbs, convinced that some
varieties were slated to become the most expensive
objects in the world. But at the height of the hysteria, the
craze for tulips suddenly withered, leaving thousands of
Holland’s most successful businessmen holding worthless
contracts while the less affluent who had invested in the
flower lost entire life savings over a bunch of dried bulbs.
Sound familiar? What really kind of pisses me off when I read this is not the fact that we, as a human species, never seem to learn from epic fails of our past... nor is it the fact that most people will read this book and continue to do business as usual.

No, what pisses me off is my high school history teacher never taught us anything nearly as fascinating or cool as the Tulip crisis of the 1600's.

No, Mr. Owens (he of the coke-bottle glasses and perpetually half-untucked shirt) was too busy teaching us (actually, more like talking AT us) about all of the most obscure battles, no matter how small or insignificant,  ever fought on US soil since the beginning of the universe. All of them, every last one. Not a single lesson or quiz about WWI, WWII, or even a mention of Vietnam. Nope. We got mind-numbing lectures on the Hatfields vs. McCoys and long forgotten Civil War skirmishes. Yawn.

I'm mad I got such a crap education when it comes to juicy history involving tulip futures trading.

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