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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.
Best-selling author Ulrich Boser explores how we and the institutions we rely on have much to gain from emphasizing and rebuilding trust.
A Nobel laureate reveals the often surprising rules that govern a vast array of activities — both mundane and life-changing — where money plays little or no role.
A Nobel laureate reveals the often surprising rules that govern a vast array of activities — both mundane and life-changing — in which money may play little or no role.
If you’ve ever sought a job or hired someone, applied to college or guided your child into a good kindergarten, asked someone out on a date or been asked out, you’ve participated in a kind of market. Most of the study of economics deals with commodity markets, where the price of a good connects sellers and buyers. But what about other kinds of “goods,” like a spot in the Yale freshman class or a position at Google? This is the territory of matching markets, where “sellers” and “buyers” must choose each other, and price isn’t the only factor determining who gets what.
Alvin E. Roth is one of the world’s leading experts on matching markets. He has even designed several of them, including the exchange that places medical students in residencies and the system that increases the number of kidney transplants by better matching donors to patients. In Who Gets What — And Why, Roth reveals the matching markets hidden around us and shows how to recognize a good match and make smarter, more confident decisions.
Were not supposed to trust others. Look at the headlines. Read the blogs. Study the survey data. It seems that everyone is wary, that everyone is just looking out for themselves. But a sense of social trust and togetherness can be restored.
In The Leap, best-selling author Ulrich Boser shows how the emerging research on trust can improve our lives, rebuild our economy, and strengthen society. As part of this engaging and deeply reported narrative, Boser visits a radio soap opera in Rwanda that aims to restore the countrys broken trust, profiles the man who brought honesty to one of the most corrupt cities in Latin America, and explains how a college dropout managed to con his way into American high society. Boser even goes skydiving to see if the experience will increase his levels of oxytocin, the so-called "trust hormone.”
A powerful mix of hard science and compelling storytelling, The Leap explores how we trust, why we trust, and what we can all do to deepen social trust. The book includes insightful policy recommendations along with surprising new data on the state of social trust in America today.
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.
Table of Contents
Authors Note ix
Part I: Why We Trust
1. The Social Instinct 3
2. The Chemical of Trust: Love, Sex, and Hormones 18
3. Reciprocity, Indirect Reciprocity, and What We
Can Learn from Hector Ramirez 29
4. How We Trust: The Lessons of Clark Rockefeller 51
5. Whats Fair Is Fair: The Art of Equity 66
6. Trusting Too Much: Risk, Reason, and Diversity 77
7. Can We Trust Again?: Learning from Rwanda 90
Part II: How We Can Improve Trust
8. Teams: “Go on Faith and Knowledge” 107
9. Markets: Why Trade Builds Trust 116
10. Government: Trusting the Tax Man 126
11. Democracy: “Encouraging You to Be Nasty” 139
12. Technology: Communication, Community,
and Couchsurfing 152
13. Path Forward: Sometimes We Need to Leap 164
Trust by State 179
Toolkit for Policymakers 181
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