Summary of The First Crash

Lessons from the South Sea Bubble

Princeton UP, more...

Buy the book

The First Crash book summary
The rise and fall of the South Sea Company bubble was the 1700s version of the high-tech burst – from mania to misery.


8 Overall

6 Applicability

8 Innovation

7 Style


This is a fascinating book about a fascinating time, the early eighteenth century. You will find greed, corruption, romance, duels, kings, regents and stock-jobbing scoundrels, often described by such astute contemporary chroniclers as Daniel Defoe. But this book rests on a foundation, sometimes a little too evident, of solid and painstaking financial analysis. It is perhaps the first book, certainly the first recent book, to present in great detail the analysis of Archibald Hutcheson. Hutcheson seems to have been a lone voice for sobriety and reason in the mad epoch of the South Sea Bubble. Author Richard Dale carefully draws a remarkable number of clear parallels between the first bubble in history and the most recent - the tech splat of the 1990s. believes that anyone who is involved in the financial markets should read this book. It is particularly timely in bull markets.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How the South Sea Company collapse, the first Western stock market bubble, happened;
  • Who predicted it; who suffered from it; who paid for it; and
  • What historic parallels and implications this 1700s bubble teaches today.


How Little Has Changed
The 1720 burst of the South Sea Bubble in London and the almost simultaneous pop of the Mississippi Bubble in Paris have much in common with recent financial bubbles, such as the great dot-com bubble of the 1990s. In the old historic bubbles as in that contemporary...
Get the key points from this book in less than 10 minutes. Learn more about our products or log in

About the Author

Richard Dale is Emeritus Professor of International Banking at Southampton University, U.K. His books include Risk & Regulation in Global Securities Markets, International Banking Deregulation and The Regulation of International Banking. A financial regulatory policy expert, he has advised Parliament and testified before U.S. Congressional committees.

Comment on this summary

More on this topic

Contained in Knowledge Pack:

Customers who read this summary also read

More by category