(review of an uncorrected proof) - This is an extremely timely book in light of the fact that the SEC is investigating whether any Wall Street bank was spreading rumors about Bear Stearns in an effort to drive its share price down. Author Nicholas DiFonzo (professor of psychology, Rochester Institute of Technology) has written a very readable study of rumors; easily accessible to the layperson.
DiFonzo starts by identifying three types of rumors: wish rumors, those concerning hoped-for outcomes (school will be canceled tomorrow because of snow); dread rumors, those concerning feared outcomes (such as the rumors surrounding the SARS virus in 2003); and wedge driving rumors, those that feed on hate and try to divide people (just about any rumors about political figures or ethnic groups fall into this category). He then shows examples of these rumor types and discusses how and why they are spread as well as how they die. His final chapter examines ways to manage rumor and slow the spread of false rumors.
The book includes extensive notes. The sources are well identified and would be easy for other researchers to follow. All-in-all, this is a very interesting book on a fascinating subject.