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Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisionsby Dan Ariely
Synopses & Reviews
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 News Annotation:
Ariely (behavioral economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology) describes the effects of factors such as expectations, emotions, and social norms on human reasoning--such as how a more expensive medicine can seem more effective--and the resulting irrational decisions the mind makes. He explains how to break the pattern and therefore make better decisions. Each chapter is based on an experiment he conducted with colleagues, on topics such as supply and demand, the power of something that is free, the effect of sexual arousal, and procrastination. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
In the tradition of "Freakonomics" and "Blink," a behavioral economist argues that human behavior is often anything but rational--that thoughts are not random, but instead are systematic and predictable.
Intelligent, lively, humorous, and thoroughly engaging, "The Predictably Irrational" explains why people often make bad decisions--and what can be done about it.
About the Author
Dan Ariely is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Behavioral Economics at MIT, where he holds a joint appointment between MIT's Media Laboratory and the Sloan School of Management. He is also a researcher at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and a visiting professor at Duke University. Ariely 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 and a variety of popular media outlets, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, Scientific American, and Science. Ariely has appeared on CNN and National Public Radio. He divides his time between Durham, North Carolina, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the rest of the world.
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