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The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the Dark Side of Cute [Kindle Edition]

Zac Bissonnette

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“Equally heartwarming and heartbreaking, this accessible work will captivate.”
Library Journal, Starred review

“Bissonnette (Debt-Free U) 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

“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, author of Rin Tin Tin“In spare, elegant prose, Zac Bissonnette tells the riveting story of how Ty Warner ruthlessly built Beanie Babies into a mania as misguided and regrettable as the 1637 Dutch tulip craze and
mortgage-backed securities in 2008. You won’t be able to put this book down.”—WILLIAM D. COHAN, author of Money and Power“The amazing story of the time the world lost its mind over little beanbag critters named Punchers, Humphrey, and Wingless Quackers. Zac Bissonnette takes us on a journey into the secretive world of the man behind the mania, Ty Warner.”—BILL DEDMAN, coauthor of the bestselling biography Empty Mansions


In the annals of consumer crazes, nothing compares to Beanie Babies. With no advertising or big-box distribution, creator Ty Warner - an eccentric college dropout - become a billionaire in just three years. And it was all thanks to collectors. The end of the craze was just as swift and extremely devastating, with "rare" Beanie Babies deemed worthless as quickly as they'd once been deemed priceless. 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 most extraordinary craze of the 1990s.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 9271 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 274 Seiten
  • Verlag: Portfolio (3. März 2015)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Aktiviert
  • : Aktiviert
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #461.345 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.7 von 5 Sternen  68 Rezensionen
25 von 25 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Beanie Baby drama 28. Dezember 2014
Von K. Polzin - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
I had a hard time putting this book down. There are so many fascinating aspects of the Beanie Baby craze, and Zac Bissonnette covers them all - from the owner of company that made them, Ty Warner, to the collectors.

I don't want to give away too much, but there are stories about people who have killed over Beanie Babies, collectors who invested fortunes (a soap opera actor who spent $100,000 on them), a group of housewives who build a business around their Beanie collecting and become "experts" on their value, and a college student who set up a website that brought collectors together and fueled the craze.

Ty Warner is a fascinating subject, and the stories of his childhood, his relationships and how he built and ran his business are strange, bizarre and fascinating. A great read.
19 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen What a tale of woe - Ty Warner is like Ebenezer Scrooge without the happy ending 14. Januar 2015
Von TooManyHobbies - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
I was never a big Beanie Baby collector, but this book on the Beanie Baby Bubble was fascinating none the less. It is a tale of how something innocent can be morphed into something ugly because of greed, obsession, and market manipulations. The book is a biography of both Beanie Babies and their creator: Ty Warner. It tells the story of Ty's troubled youth, his first jobs, and his obsession with becoming the most powerful person in the plush toy industry. The book chronicles the people that help Ty Warner build his empire and how he systematically jettisoned each person when he thought they gained a little too much influence or when they asked for a small portion of the companies growing wealth.

The book also chronicles the first independent Beanie collectors and how they were instrumental in driving the Beanie fad that followed. The book highlights various “collectors” and how their lives were negatively impacted by the Beanie mania. There is even a section on how the pursuit of Beanie Babies lead to murder.

The Great Beanie Baby Bubble is one huge tale of woe. Apparently everything and everyone who touched the Beanies seemed to end up with heart-ache. The only criticism I have of the book is that it doesn’t show anyone that profited from the fad other than Ty Warner himself. I have to believe that some happy stories related to Beanie Babies. I have to hope that the cute little Beanies brought some joy to their owners.

So The Great Beanie Baby Bubble is really a fascinating story, and it will make you look at those innocent looking Beanie Babies in a whole different way. Now instead of cute little faces I see greed, devastation, and ruined lives. Every time I see a Ty tag I think of Ebenezer Scrooge. But sadly in the Beanie Baby version there is no epiphany at the end. Ty Scrooge ends up unbelievable rich but also completely alone. So sad.
14 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Very readable and entertaining 2. Januar 2015
Von Graves - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
In the early 1600's Holland was caught in a tulip craze. Vast fortunes were invested in and speculations made on these flowers. Colors and such were all the cause of wild claims and plans for financial security, but in very short order, the market collapsed when someone said "but they're just flowers." In the 1990's a similar thing happened with adorable little plush toys. Sure Beenie Babies were cute but people were putting thousands of dollars into buying them. Investing in toys as a retirement fund, and then the bottom fell out when someone said `they're just toys.' Well not that directly but pretty close.

I work in finance. I give people advice on buying stuff and all too often try to waive them off buying stuff that is clearly not going to work. So I thought reading this would be a professional exercise in spread sheets and stuff that I could slog through and then translate into English for clients the next time they came in with a hair brained scheme. Ah, no. Zac Bissonette has written a very good, very readable work on the mess and focuses closely on the life of the chief architect of it all Ty Warner.

His turn of phrase is easy and fun to follow. Rather than the dreaded pages of technical details Iexpected and had learned to get my licenses I found a book that talked about people and ideas and mistakes and...heck it was just fun to read. It wasn't a book I read for my profession, it became something I wanted to get back into.

Going through this all though there is a thread that this doesn't just apply to the Beanie Baby craze of the late 1990's. The same nonsense that happened then happened just a couple of years ago in the real estate bubble. Sure houses have a heck of a lot more value that a stuffed white elephant but the same mindset was noticeable in those people `flipping houses' as investing their kids' college fund in plush animals.

In the end Mr Bissonnette has managed to do something I though impossible. he's written a financial book that is actually fun to read. and like the old cartoon said "If you're not careful, you might learn something before you're done."
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Entertaining and enlightening, brought back memories of a more optimistic time, this was a fun read 8. Februar 2015
Von K. Gilleland - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
This was a very entertaining book for me - I had an aunt that gave close to a thousand for a beanie baby once when we were on a trip. I never understood it, which is why I picked out this title. I understand it a lot better now, and it seems even crazier.

At that time, when I saw several of my aunts going crazy over the toys, I could not believe it, and that's the way this book is- surprising, fascinating, absorbing and prone to making me stop, shake my head, and revel for a minute in fun, "Man, people are crazy!" sentiment. It's a fun read for anyone with memories of this crazy phenomenon, and I think anyone interested in marketing should read it as well.

Ty Warner and the whole crazy Beanie Baby saga is described through numerous voices and anecdotes through this book. Not everyone who had a story was really a fan of Ty Warner either, which makes it more interesting. What a crazy time. I had never thought about people seeing the Beanies as being an investment, as if they were a type of currency, only as something that some people seemed bound and determined to collect. I have a much more rounded view of the whole phenomenon after reading this book. A lot of things clicked as I read, vague memories of hearing the radio announcing stores having stuffed animals that were fixing to be retired- it all makes a lot more sense now of the mass psychology that was going on. Ty Warner was really a genius for manipulating supply and demand like he did. I had never thought about the nascent eBay playing into the value perception, but it really did.
Now it seems hard to believe that someone actually murdered someone over a beanie baby deal. The whole phenomenon is so weird, and that's what makes this book so fun- it captures that cultural optimism and insanity. It was quite entertaining.
12 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Only in America … 26. Januar 2015
Von DACHokie - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts (Was ist das?)
I remember watching two co-workers participate in the Beanie Baby craze of the late 90s and was entertained as well as frustrated by the amount of money they continued to sink into their Beanie “investments” (one had the means to support her “habit” … the other did not). Zac Bissonnette’s THE GREAT BEANIE BABY BUBBLE provides a very detailed understanding of the Beanie Baby mania and more importantly the shrewd, somewhat ruthless, dark and creepy man behind it all … Ty Warner.

Rather than simply chronicling the rise and fall of Beanie Babies, Bissonnette digs much deeper and presents all facets of the fad and most interestingly, a somewhat disturbing biography of Warner, the reclusive Beanie creator. I found THE GREAT BEANIE BABY BUBBLE to be far more interesting (and educating) than I anticipated it would be; I attribute this to Bissonnette’s ability to successfully merge Warner’s biography, economics, marketing and social aspects of the great Beanie Baby run in a colorful, informative, yet fun manner that keeps readers interested from beginning to end.

The “meat and potatoes” of the book is dedicated to Warner and it paints a somewhat unflattering portrait of the man. Considering the father of all things Beanie has avoided interviews for almost two decades, Bissonnette successfully worked around that roadblock and found more than enough people willing to divulge their experiences with Warner over the years … including two women romantically linked to him through the rise and fall of the Beanie craze. I found Warner’s path to immense wealth (he’s a billionaire) to be quite interesting … a masterful, shrewd salesman and marketing genius with added dashes of vanity, obsession (to minutiae) and control (of everything) … someone who liberally used people he found beneficial only to unceremoniously dump them when his use for them expired. On one hand, Warner’s obsessive nature is arguably attributed to his financial success as his dissatisfaction with something as small as a single stich in a Beanie Baby would result in it being removed from the market and replaced by the “improved” version (resulting in the “retired” Beanie Baby gaining value and stoking the Beanie mania fire). On the other hand, Bissonnette reveals Warner as an insecure, untrustworthy, self-absorbed loaner addicted to plastic surgery. Regardless of Warner’s fortune and success, it’s hard not to view him as somewhat icky.

The book reveals the business side of Beanies as a cautionary tale that is creepy in its own right. Bissonnette provides an ongoing history of the “plush” (stuffed animal) industry that led to Beanie Babies and it is a case of innocence gone awry. The simple concept of the Beanie Baby was to create a small, high-quality, bean-filled stuffed animal marketed for kids that was affordable … high quality at a bargain price. What started as cute, quickly became cult as the retired Beanies became collectables … and the adults began showing up to ruin everything. The book reveals the seediness of the Beanie craze as values of retired (rare) Beanies soared, sending collectors over the edge with a desire to find/buy the retired Beanies at all costs (whether it meant liquidating the kids’ college funds or even killing someone). The whole story is as shocking as it is pathetic … how something as insignificant as a cheap stuffed animal for kids could generate such hysteria … only in America. Bissonnette shares the stories of numerous people wrapped-up in the craze, from soccer-mom types hoarding Beanies to fund their futures to people jumping on the Beanie gravy-train by publishing self-made collectors guides sold to millions of like-minded Beanie nuts. The whole Beanie saga (from the beginning of the craze to its sudden crash) is strange, sad and unsurprising to a degree (as these “cute” fads seem to flare-up like a case of the shingles every few years). But, the money that was made during its multi-year run is staggering (Ty Inc. earned more from stuffed animals than mega-toymakers Hasbro and Mattel).

THE GREAT BEANIE BABY BUBBLE certainly proved to be an enlightening, unique read. Reading the book reminded me that we have several Beanie Babies laying around our home; don’t know if they have (had) value and don’t care … they were purchased for our kids (and I’ll bet the TY tags are bent, if not partially chewed from one of our Labs … gasp!). The book prompted me to check out the TY website (a gaudy ADHD-inducing visual carnival that Liberace may have designed from the grave) and after seeing the products (including a garish line of NASCAR Beanies), I still don’t understand the big deal.
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