In my opinion, Charles Mackey's "The Tulipomania from Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" had been the most important to me. It was a perfect example of Americas constant search to have the most and be the best without any rational explanation. For example in his story he explains how everyone wants the 'rare' items such as the tulip. Rare items that can only be purchased by the wealthy and the want of everyone to look at them for being wealthy. It is the want of the status symbol, "In the course of ten or eleven years after this period, tulips were much sought after by the wealthy, and paid the most extravagant prices for them."
When everyone wants something more and more people want to get in the business, seeing a big profit. However the problem is that when everyone is part of something it is no longer rare and therefore not desired.
The great demand for the tulips had people thinking that they could make a quick buck. They started liquidated their assets that have REAL value to raise tulips. "People of all grades converted their property into cash, and invested it in flowers. Houses and lands were offered for sale at ruinously low prices, or assigned in payment of bargains made at the tulip-mart." This eventually became the norm and so the tulips were not worth as much and not as desirable.
People fell into the "make money fast," way that just does not exist, "the tulip-jobbers speculated in the rise and fall of the tulip stocks, and made large profits by buying when prices fell, and selling out when they rose. Many individuals grew suddenly rich. A golden bait hung temptingly out before the people, and one after the other, they rushed to...