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Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces…

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

by Dan Ariely

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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About the cognitive errors of our lives.
  Candl | Jun 6, 2013 |
This was a fascinating book along the lines of Freakonomics and a very easy read. I would highly recommend it--it makes you stop and think about why you do some of the things you do. Who knew that (behavioral) economics could be so interesting?
  walterqchocobo | Apr 8, 2013 |
The economic concept of a rational economic man is brought into question through various studies on how we make economic options to buy or sell.
I do not doubt that given the complexity of our choices today that always taking the best option is highly unlikely. Yet the market does make choices ie the rise of the I Phone at the expense of Blackberry. The studies on cheating are quite eye opening and larger than expected. ( )
  rsummer | Feb 6, 2013 |
Any book that seems to predict your behaviour is both intriguing and, let's face it, a bit scary. I started this book with a measure of cynicism - everyone seems to be cashing in on the self-help style book these days. Well, I don't mind eating some humble pie - I was wrong.

To start, this isn't a self-help book. It's a study of human nature. But that's not to say it doesn't offer some advice on how we can combat these 'hidden forces'. Each chapter covers an area of our 'predictable irrationality' and Ariely uses straightforward experiments to support his theories. For example, let me tell you one part of the book that applied to me.

I used to pick up a coffee on the way to work two or three times a week for about £1.20. It was decent enough coffee and a nice treat. One day I passed by my local Cafe Nero. I bought a cup for £2.15. It's a bigger cup, much nicer coffee. Next time I pass I'm buy it again. Soon I'm buying it five days a week because that's become normal. I don't even think about it - it's as habitual as my three meals a day.

Then I read this book and to tell the truth I felt slightly sick when I read the part of the book where Ariely describes exactly this type of scenario. I sat back and thought, "I've gone from spending £2.40 a week to £10.75". I went cold turkey and stopped my daily coffee!

It's a bit of a waffly point I know but what I'm trying to highlight is that Ariely's book holds up a mirror. Think you're above irrationality? Think again. I have a friend who has now bought the book and half way through she admits to being as freaked out as me.

It's well written, not too wordy, not condescending, funny in parts and I should imagine most people would be able to identify with some parts. The downside? Ariely offers some ways to rise above this 'predictable irrationality' but by the end of the book I almost felt like there was a sort of resigned 'well, we can try but we are who we are' feel. However, let's be fair, Ariely is one man and one man can only do so much.

An excellent book and one I would certainly recommend but don't be surprised if it makes you look a little harder at yourself. But you never know - it might save you the £8 a week it's now saving me, so it's got to be worth it! ( )
  donnambr | Jan 12, 2013 |
This was a fascinating book along the lines of Freakonomics and a very easy read. I would highly recommend it--it makes you stop and think about why you do some of the things you do. Who knew that (behavioral) economics could be so interesting? ( )
  walterqchocobo | Jul 2, 2012 |
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Another sign that times are changing is “Predictably Irrational,” a book that both exemplifies and explains this shift in the cultural winds.

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Dan Arielyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jones, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my mentors, colleagues, and students -- who make research exciting
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I have been told by many people that I have an unusual way of looking at the world.
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Book description
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   [book description from Amazon 9/17/2010]
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Why do smart people make irrational decisions every day? The answers will surprise you. 'Predictably Irrational' is an intriguing, witty and utterly original look at why we all make illogical decisions.

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