Synopses & Reviews
How do we think about money?
What caused bankers to lose sight of the economy?
What caused individuals to take on mortgages that were not within their means?
What irrational forces guided our decisions?
And how can we recover from an economic crisis?
In this revised and expanded edition of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller Predictably Irrational, Duke University's behavioral economist Dan Ariely explores the hidden forces that shape our decisions, including some of the causes responsible for the current economic crisis. Bringing a much-needed dose of sophisticated psychological study to the realm of public policy, Ariely offers his own insights into the irrationalities of everyday life, the decisions that led us to the financial meltdown of 2008, and the general ways we get ourselves into trouble.
Blending common experiences and clever experiments with groundbreaking analysis, Ariely demonstrates how expectations, emotions, social norms, and other invisible, seemingly illogical forces skew our reasoning abilities. As he explains, our reliance on standard economic theory to design personal, national, and global policies may, in fact, be dangerous. The mistakes that we make as individuals and institutions are not random, and they can aggregate in the market—with devastating results. In light of our current economic crisis, the consequences of these systematic and predictable mistakes have never been clearer.
Packed with new studies and thought-provoking responses to readers' questions and comments, this revised and expanded edition of Predictably Irrational will change the way we interact with the world—from the small decisions we make in our own lives to the individual and collective choices that shape our economy.
“After reading this book, you will understand the decisions you make in an entirely new way.” Nicholas Negroponte, founder of MIT's Media Lab and founder and chairman of the One Laptop per Child non-profit association
“Arielys intelligent, exuberant style and thought-provoking arguments make for a fascinating, eye-opening read.” Publishers Weekly
“PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL is wildly original. It shows whymuch more often than we usually care to admithumans make foolish, and sometimes disastrous, mistakes. Ariely not only gives us a great read; he also makes us much wiser.” George Akerlof, Nobel Laureate in Economics, 2001 Koshland Professor of Economics, University of California at Berkeley
“A marvelous book that is both thought provoking and highly entertaining, ranging from the power of placebos to the pleasures of Pepsi. Ariely unmasks the subtle but powerful tricks that our minds play on us, and shows us how we can prevent being fooled.” Jerome Groopman, New York Times bestselling author of How Doctors Think
“Arielys book addresses some weighty issues . . . with an unexpected dash of humor.” Entertainment Weekly
“Inventive. . . . An accessible account. . . . Ariely is a more than capable storyteller . . . If only more researchers could write like this, the world would be a better place.” Financial Times
“Dan Ariely is a genius at understanding human behavior: no economist does a better job of uncovering and explaining the hidden reasons for the weird ways we act, in the marketplace and out. PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL will reshape the way you see the world, and yourself, for good.” James Surowiecki, author of The Wisdom of Crowds
“An entertaining tour of the many ways people act against their best interests, drawing on Arielys own ingeniously designed experiments. . . . Personal and accessible.” BusinessWeek
“PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL is a charmer-filled with clever experiments, engaging ideas, and delightful anecdotes. Dan Ariely is a wise and amusing guide to the foibles, errors, and bloopers of everyday decision-making.” Daniel Gilbert, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University and author of Stumbling on Happiness
“Dan Arielys ingenious experiments explore deeply how our economic behavior is influenced by irrational forces and social norms. In a charmingly informal style that makes it accessible to a wide audience, PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL provides a standing criticism to the explanatory power of rational egotistic choice.” Kenneth Arrow, Nobel Prize in Economics 1972, Professor of Economics Stanford University
“This is a wonderful, eye-opening book. Deep, readable, and providing refreshing evidence that there are domains and situations in which material incentives work in unexpected ways. We humans are humans, with qualities that can be destroyed by the introduction of economic gains. A must read!” Nassim Nicholas Taleb, New York Times bestselling author of The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
“Sly and lucid. . . . Predictably Irrational is a far more revolutionary book than its unthreatening manner lets on.” New York Times Book Review
“The most difficult part of investing is managing your emotions. Dan explains why that is so challenging for all of us, and how recognizing your built-in biases can help you avoid common mistakes.” Charles Schwab, Chairman and CEO, The Charles Schwab Corporation
“A fascinating romp through the science of decision-making that unmasks the ways that emotions, social norms, expectations, and context lead us astray.” Time magazine
“A taxonomy of financial folly.” The New Yorker
“Surprisingly entertaining. . . . Easy to read. . . . Arielys book makes economics and the strange happenings of the human mind fun.” USA Today
“Freakonomics held that people respond to incentives, perhaps in undesirable ways, but always rationally. Dan Ariely shows you how people are deeply irrational, and predictably so.” Chip Heath, Co-Author, Made to Stick, Professor, Stanford Graduate School of Business
“Predictably Irrational is an important book. Full of valuable and entertaining insights that will make an impact on your business, professional, and personal life.” Jack M Greenberg, Chairman, Western Union Company, Retired Chairman and CEO, McDonald's Corporation
“Predictably Irrational is clever, playful,humorous, hard hitting, insightful, and consistently fun and exciting to read.” Paul Slovic, Founder and President, Decision Research
“A delightfully brilliant guide to our irrationalityand how to overcome itin the marketplace and everyplace.” Geoffrey Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm and Dealing with Darwin
“In creative ways, author Dan Ariely puts rationality to the test. . . . New experiments and optimistic ideas tumble out of him, like water from a fountain.” Boston Globe
“PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL is a scientific but imminently readable and decidedly insightful look into why we do what we do every day...and why, even though we ‘know better, we may never change.” Wenda Harris Millard, President, Media, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
"A marvelous book… thought provoking and highly entertaining."
—Jerome Groopman, New York Times
bestselling author of How Doctors Think
"Ariely not only gives us a great read; he also makes us much wiser."
—George Akerlof, 2001 Nobel Laureate in Economics
—New York Times Book Review
Behavioral economist and New York Times bestselling author Dan Ariely offers a much-needed take on the irrational decisions that led to our current economic crisis.
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.
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 James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University, with appointments at the Fuqua School of Business, the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, the Department of Economics, and the School of Medicine. Dan earned one PhD in cognitive psychology and another PhD in business administration. His work has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, Business 2.0, Scientific American, and Science. Dan has appeared on CNN and CNBC, and is a regular commentator on National Public Radio's Marketplace. He lives in Durham, North Carolina, with his wife and two children.
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