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Extended Audio Sample The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the Dark Side of Cute, by Zac Bissonnette Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Zac Bissonnette Narrator: P. J. Ochlan Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A bestselling journalist delivers the never-before-told story of the plush-animal craze that became the mania of the 1990s

In the annals of consumer crazes, nothing compares to Beanie Babies. In just three years, collectors who saw the toys as a means of speculation made a billionaire of creator Ty Warner, an eccentric college dropout—without advertising or big-box distribution. Beanie Babies were ten percent of eBay’s sales in its early days, with an average selling price of $30—six times the retail price. At the peak of the bubble in 1999, Warner reported a personal income of $662 million—more than Hasbro and Mattel combined.

The end of the craze was swift and devastating, with “rare” Beanie Babies deemed worthless as quickly as they’d once been deemed priceless. Zac Bissonnette draws on hundreds of interviews, including a visit to a man who lives with his 40,000 Ty products and an in-prison interview with a guy who killed a coworker over a Beanie Baby debt, for the first book on the strangest speculative mania of all time.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The spectacular story of the strangest speculative bubble there ever was and the man behind it. A must-read for anyone looking to understand how manias start and markets go insane.”

    Liaquat Ahamed, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Lords of Finance

  • “Fascinating, strange, sad, funny, and entirely engrossing, The Great Beanie Baby Bubble is a smart, engaging book that’s as much about the odd saga of these plush toys as it is about the nature of obsession and desire.”

    Susan Orlean, New York Times bestselling author of Rin Tin Tin

  • “Enlightening…He writes fluently and has structured his tale artfully…Most impressive of all, Mr. Bissonnette refuses to gratuitously trumpet his story as an emblematic critique of American culture, human folly, or entrepreneurial greed—though of course it is all that and more.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “[An] entertainingly instructive book…With devastating detail, he walks us through the astonishing story of how the popularity of these cute furry playthings soon mutated into the currency of a mid-nineties speculative mania that eventually left the stuffed animals unwanted and the ‘investors’ holding the bag. Along the way, he tells the story of toy company owner Ty Warner, a college dropout who racked in an estimated $700 million in the year before the bubble burst. Editor’s recommendation.”

    Barnes&Noble.com, editorial review

  • “A fascinating account.,,Warner comes vividly to life in The Great Beanie Baby Bubble through stories from his sister, two ex-girlfriends, and dozens of former coworkers…Bissonnette’s research into the history of speculative markets helpfully situates the Beanie phenomenon in a larger framework. The story is a Greek tragedy served with a brutal twist of American capitalism.”

    BookPage, Top Pick

  • “Equally heartwarming and heartbreaking, this accessible work will captivate.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Thanks to Bissonnette’s balanced and thorough reporting, the account of Ty Warner, founder of the Babies, becomes a portrait of a creator obsessed with perfection, making money in a business he loved, in a company built on his dreams.”

    Booklist

  • “Bissonnette does a masterful job of tracing the rise and fall of the Beanie Baby phenomenon of the 1990s…This cautionary tale of elevated consumerism, with collectors fretting over what they didn’t have rather than taking pleasure in what they did, serves as a useful history lesson for today, told with wit and subtlety.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Bissonnette offers a crisp, investigative, and presumably unauthorized biography of creator Ty Warner, seventy, and a look at the rise of Beanie Babies and their swiftly ensuing three-year consumer craze…A spicy portrait of a taciturn toy magnate made entertaining with sensationalistic testimonial.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A BookPage Top Pick in March 2015 for Business
  • A Barnes & Noble Editor’s Recommendation
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