Please note the pages on this book have been produced with bevelled or rough edge to create an old style look. The publisher has deliberately chosen to produce the book this way.
The provocative follow-up to the New York Times bestseller Predictably Irrational
- Why can large bonuses make CEOs less productive?
- How can confusing directions actually help us?
- Why is revenge so important to us?
- Why is there such a big difference between what we think will make us happy and what really makes us happy?
In his groundbreaking book Predictably Irrational
, social scientist Dan Ariely revealed the multiple biases that lead us into making unwise decisions. Now, in The Upside of Irrationality, he exposes the surprising negative and positive effects irrationality can have on our lives. Focusing on our behaviors at work and in relationships, he offers new insights and eye-opening truths about what really motivates us on the job, how one unwise action can become a long-term habit, how we learn to love the ones we're with, and more.
Drawing on the same experimental methods that made Predictably Irrational
one of the most talked-about bestsellers of the past few years, Ariely uses data from his own original and entertaining experiments to draw arresting conclusions about how—and why—we behave the way we do. From our office attitudes, to our romantic relationships, to our search for purpose in life, Ariely explains how to break through our negative patterns of thought and behavior to make better decisions. The Upside of Irrationality will change the way we see ourselves at work and at home—and cast our irrational behaviors in a more nuanced light.
About the Author
Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University, with appointments at the Fuqua School of Business, the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, and the Department of Economics. He is also the founder of the Center for Advanced Hindsight and a visiting professor at MIT's Media Lab. Over the years he has won numerous scientific awards. Dan wrote this book while he was a fellow at the Institute for Advance Study at Princeton.
In The Press
The New York Times - Kyla Dunn
As in his previous book, the best-selling Predictably Irrational, the experiments Ariely describes generate entertaining and often counterintuitive insights…deciding how to apply [these] insights is a pleasure that lingers long after the book is finished.
Ariely (Predictably Irrational) expands his research on behavioral economics to offer a more positive and personal take on human irrationality’s implications for life, business, and public policy. After a youthful accident left him badly scarred and facing grueling physical therapy, Ariely’s treatment required him to accept temporary pain for long-term benefit—a trade-off so antithetical to normal human behavior that it sparked the author’s fascination with why we consistently fail to act in our own best interest. The author, professor of behavioral economics at Duke, leads us through experiments that reveals such idiosyncrasies as the “IKEA effect” (if you build something, pride and sentimental attachment are likely to give you an inflated sense of its quality) and the “Baby Jessica effect” (why we respond to one person’s suffering but not to the suffering of many). He concludes with prescriptions for how to make real personal and societal changes, and what behavioral patterns we must identify to improve how we love, live, work, innovate, manage, and govern. Self-deprecating humor, an enthusiasm for human eccentricities, and an affable and snappy style make this read an enriching and eye-opening pleasure. (June)
The follow-up to the author's bestselling Predictably Irrational (2008). In his previous book, Ariely (Behavioral Economics/Duke Univ.) discussed how the human tendency toward irrational decision-making can lead to undesirable outcomes. Here he addresses similar ideas but turns them on their head. In some cases, he explains, the irrational course of action can actually be the best way to go. The book is divided into two sections addressing the ways people "defy logic" at work and at home, respectively, featuring descriptions of behavioral experiments Ariely and his colleagues have performed. Many of the results are surprising. Logic would suggest, for example, that taking breaks during a boring or unpleasant task would be beneficial. Not so, writes the author, whose experiments indicated that taking breaks actually makes it harder to adapt to a task, making it more difficult. In another experiment, he examined why people are more likely to give to charities when they feel an emotional connection to them, and found that when people think rationally about charities, they tend to give much less. Nearly all of Ariely's experiments are convincing, and his amiable tone is often charming. He also brings a welcome personal aspect to the book, drawing on the story of a tragedy from his youth. When he was a teenager in the Israeli Defense Forces, an accidental discharge of a magnesium flare left him with severe burns on 70 percent of his body. His recovery-which also involved a contraction of hepatitis from a blood transfusion-was long and grueling, but it gave him some keen insights into human behavior. He writes perceptively about his excruciating experience to effectively back up various behavioral concepts-such as why some victims of accidents develop a heightened tolerance for pain, while terminal cancer victims do not. Consistently sharp.
Introduction Lessons from Procrastination and Medical Side Effects 1
Hepatitis and procrastination
The movie treatment
What we should do and behavioral economics
From food to incompatible design
Taking irrationality into account
Part I THE UNEXPECTED WAYS WE DEFY LOGIC AT WORK
Chapter 1 Paying More for Less: Why Big Bonuses Don't Always Work 17
Of mice and men, or how high stakes affect rats and bankers
Measuring the effects of a CEO-sized bonus in India
Loss aversion: why bonuses aren't really bonuses
Working under stress: just how clutch are "clutch" NBA players?
Stage fright and the social side of high stakes
Making compensation work for society
Chapter 2 The Meaning of Labor: What Legos Can Teach Us about the Joy of Work 53
You are what you do: identity and labor
The pains of wasted work
Lessons from a parrot---and some hungry rats
Searching for meaning while playing with Legos
Making work matter again
Chapter 3 The IKEA Effect: Why We Overvalue What We Make 83
Why IKEA makes us blush (with pride)
Cooking lessons: finding a balance between just adding water and baking an apple pie from scratch
The real value of a thousand origami cranes (and frogs)
Why "almost done" doesn't do much for us
Why we need labors of love
Chapter 4 The Not-Invented-Here Bias: Why "My" Ideas Are Better than "Yours" 107
Mark Twain describes a universal form of stupidity
"Anything you can do I can do better": why we favor our own ideas
The toothbrush theory
What we can learn from Edison's mistake 7
Chapter 5 The Case for Revenge: What Makes Us Seek Justice? 123
The joys of payback
The bailouts and pounds of flesh
One man's quest for revenge against Audi
The etiquette of revenge
Companies beware: when consumers go public
Uses and misuses of revenge
Part II THE UNEXPECTED WAYS WE DEFY LOGIC AT HOME
Chapter 6 On Adaptation: Why We Get Used to Things (but Not All Things, and Not Always) 157
Frogs: to boil or not to boil?
Adapting to visual cues and pain thresholds
Hedonic adaptation: from houses to spouses and beyond
How the hedonic treadmill keeps us buying---and buying more
How we can break and enhance adaptation
Making our adaptability work for us
Chapter 7 Hot or Not? Adaptation, Assortative Mating, and the Beauty Market 191
A personal adaptation
When mind and body don't get along
Sticking to our own (more or less hot) kind in dating: do we settle or adapt?
Let's ask the Internet: dating sites and romantic criteria
How I met your mother
Chapter 8 When a Market Fails: An Example from Online Dating 213
The function of the yenta
The dysfunctional singles market (as if you didn't already know)
The difference between your date and a digital camera
An exemplary failure in dating
How dating sites skew our perceptions
Ideas for a better dating future
Chapter 9 On Empathy and Emotion: Why We Respond to One Person Who Needs Help but Not to Many 237
Baby Jessica versus the Rwandan genocide
The difference between an individual and a statistic
Identification: needed for more than buying beer
How the American Cancer Society reels us in
The effect of rational thinking on giving
Overcoming our inability to confront big problems
Chapter 10 The Long-Term Effects of Short-Term Emotions: Why We Shouldn't Act on Our Negative Feelings 257
Don't tread on me: my colleague learns a lesson about rudeness
The dark side of impulses
Deciding under the influence (of emotions)
The importance of "irrelevant" emotions
What a canoe can tell you about your love life
Chapter 11 Lessons from Our Irrationalities: Why We Need to Test Everything 281
A decision about life and limb
Gideon's biblical empiricism
The wisdom of leeches
Lessons learned, hopefully
List of Collaborators 299
Bibliography and Additional Readings 307
Number Of Pages: 340
Published: 1st June 2010
Dimensions (cm): 23.6 x 16.6
Weight (kg): 0.526