Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

Front Cover
Harper Collins, 2008 - Business & Economics - 280 pages
3590 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.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
1143
4 stars
1537
3 stars
712
2 stars
171
1 star
27

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

User Review  - Prateek Gupta - Goodreads

There are times when author has to write in a language which everyone can understand. Dan made a similar attempt while writing this book. It may not be as exhaustive as Daniel Kahneman's work, but it ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Malcolm Carvalho - Goodreads

This was an engaging read. Through simple social experiments - some might argue these are simplistic, I'm not qualified to judge - Dan Ariely reveals the quirks in human behaviour. Why do we value ... Read full review

Contents

I
xi
II
1
III
23
IV
49
V
67
VI
89
VII
109
VIII
127
IX
139
X
155
XI
173
XII
195
XIII
217
XIV
231
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

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.

Bibliographic information