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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.
Trust is central to almost every human interaction—and even small attempts to improve our faith in others can have a big payoff. People who trust more are happier, live longer, and even have more sex.
To examine how and why we trust, Ulrich Boser visits a radio soap opera in Rwanda that aims to restore a nations broken faith and talks to the man who brought honesty back to one of the most corrupt cities in Latin America. He tests out oxytocin, the “trust hormone,” and has scientists evaluate his brain as he competes in a cooperation game. He even jumps out of an airplane to better understand his trust in others. The result is a surprising narrative that will appeal to a wide audience, including readers who enjoy books like Nudge, Willpower, and Moonwalking with Einstein.
The Leap uses science and psychology to illustrate how trust contributes to personal longevity and a sense of fulfillment, and how we can take active steps to restore trust in our lives and in our culture.
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.
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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