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The Crowd

A study of the popular mind

Gustave Le Bon

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The Crowd Summary

Hi, welcome to Bookey. Today we will unlock the book The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind.

In life, you may have encountered people with obviously strong convictions, but they follow others once they get into a crowd. You may also have met some apparent gentlemen who would become brutal and fanatical once in the midst of a crowd. To give a more typical example, British men are well-known as gentlemen, who never spit out a single dirty word in front of women. However, they are also, deservingly so, known as “football hooligans.” The “Heysel disaster” in 1985 is a classic case. In the European Cup Final, Liverpool of Britain and Juventus of Italy met at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels. UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) allocated a stand behind the goal to Liverpool fans before the game, and many Juventus fans also bought tickets for this stand. Throughout the game, fans of both teams continued to commit violence and throw items against each other. As there were not enough policemen in the stand to maintain order, the conflict escalated and eventually turned into a fight. The British football hooligans acted in an extremely manic and even brutal manner throughout the skirmish. They knocked down the barbed wire attached to the stand, held bricks and steel pipes, and strode to another stand to chase and beat the Juventus fans. There were 39 people killed and over 300 injured in this conflict. This is the notorious “Heysel Disaster” in the history of football. On hearing this, you must be wondering why these British gentlemen became so brutal in an instant. What made them lose their minds and become “football hooligans” in public? By reading the book, you will find the answer.

The author of this book, Gustave Le Bon, is a famous French social psychologist and the founder of crowd psychology. He has published many works, such as The French Revolution and the Psychology of Revolution, The Psychology of the Great War, and The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind. These works have contributed to the theory of psychology and anthropology, among which “The Crowd” is a milestone work in crowd psychology research. Since its publication in 1895, the book has been a best-selling world classic. It successfully predicted all psychological and political developments in the 1920s. It also influenced Freud, Jung, and other scholars, as well as Roosevelt, Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, and other political figures. We can use the book’s analysis of crowd phenomena to interpret many social events around us. This book speaks the truth that we cannot help but admit, that is, we intend not to, but always unconsciously become part of “the crowd.”

Next, we will explain the key insights of this book to you in three parts:

The first part: what are the psychological characteristics of crowds?

The second part: what influences the psychological characteristics of crowds?

The third part: how do leaders make a crowd follow their commands?

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