Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

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HarperCollins, Feb 1, 2008 - Business & Economics - 280 pages
30 Reviews

  • Why do our headaches persist after taking a one-cent aspirin but disappear when we take a 50-cent aspirin?
  • Why does recalling the Ten Commandments reduce our tendency to lie, even when we couldn't possibly be caught?
  • Why do we splurge on a lavish meal but cut coupons to save twenty-five cents on a can of soup?
  • Why do we go back for second helpings at the unlimited buffet, even when our stomachs are already full?
  • And how did we ever start spending $4.15 on a cup of coffee when, just a few years ago, we used to pay less than a dollar?

When it comes to making decisions in our lives, we think we're in control. We think we're making smart, rational choices. But are we?

In a series of illuminating, often surprising experiments, MIT behavioral economist Dan Ariely refutes the common assumption that we behave in fundamentally rational ways. Blending everyday experience with groundbreaking research, Ariely explains how expectations, emotions, social norms, and other invisible, seemingly illogical forces skew our reasoning abilities.

Not only do we make astonishingly simple mistakes every day, but we make the same types of mistakes, Ariely discovers. We consistently overpay, underestimate, and procrastinate. We fail to understand the profound effects of our emotions on what we want, and we overvalue what we already own. Yet these misguided behaviors are neither random nor senseless. They're systematic and predictable—making us predictably irrational.

From drinking coffee to losing weight, from buying a car to choosing a romantic partner, Ariely explains how to break through these systematic patterns of thought to make better decisions. Predictably Irrational will change the way we interact with the world—one small decision at a time.


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Excellent insights into behavioral economics - Goodreads
Full of insights and materials for you to brood over. - Goodreads
A well written, well-researched book. - Goodreads
Ariely has an easy, conversational writing style. - Goodreads

Review: Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

User Review  - Haplea - Goodreads

I enjoyed the book from beginning to end. The subject is the objective experimental study of the irrationality of many of our decisions: why we are manipulated by gimmicks like free offers, initial ... Read full review

Review: Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

User Review  - Carol. [All cynic, all the time] - Goodreads

Yet another book I'm recommending to Goodreads staff. I will write up a long review when it's done, but I think this is worth chewing on: According to the author of Predictably Irrational, we live ... Read full review


Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Why We Are Happy to Do Things but Not When
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
The Power of Price
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13

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About the author (2008)

Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University, with appointments at the Fuqua School of Business, the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, and the Department of Economics. He is also the founder of the Center for Advanced Hindsight and a visiting professor at MIT's Media Lab. Over the years he has won numerous scientific awards. Dan wrote this book while he was a fellow at the Institute for Advance Study at Princeton. His work has been featured in leading scholarly journals in psychology, economics, neuroscience, medicine, and business, and in a variety of popular media outlets, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, the Boston Globe, Scientific American, and Science. He has appeared on CNN and CNBC, and is a regular commentator on National Public Radio. He currently lives in Durham, North Carolina, with his wife and two children.

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