A challenging mate to Freakonomics, Predictably Irrational examines how the world often works according to principles of irrationality in the places where we least expect it.
Do you know why you still have a headache after taking a one-cent aspirin, but why that same headache disappears if the aspirin costs fifty cents? Do you know why recalling the Ten Commandments reduces people’s tendency to lie, or why honor codes are actually effective in reducing dishonesty at the workplace? Do you know why, after doing careful and extensive research on which car to buy, a random meeting with someone who had an awful experience with that car changes your decision? Why do we make decisions contrary to our better judgment? What is “better judgment?”
Predictably Irrational challenges us to ponder these questions (questions we sometimes avoid) and demonstrates how irrationality manifests itself in situations (often very peculiar and hilarious situations) where rational thought is expected. We all succumb to irrationality, it’s about time we find out how it affects our daily lives in a significant way. In this astounding new book, groundbreaking in scope and totally original, Dan Ariely cuts to the heart of our strange behaviors and presents outstanding material that will keep every reader transfixed.
Predictably Irrational comes from Dr. Ariely’s work as a behavioral economist, but it’s not for economists. Well, it is, but mainly to the extent that it can help them the same way it can help anyone. If the behaviors that skew our judgments were random or senseless, we’d be hard put to sort them out and make better decisions. But research has shown that our irrationality is, in fact, systematic. People will make the same types of mistakes over and over, in a predictable manner, because the behaviors have structural origins. So recognizing them and understanding them offers us a way to do better. And that’s the aim of this book: to leave you with new knowledge of human nature, derived from a wide range of scientific experiments and findings, that will help you make better decisions in your personal life, your business life, and in the choices we all need to make about our collective welfare.
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.
"A taxonomy of financial folly."--The New Yorker "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 "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 "Ariely's book addresses some weighty issues . . . with an unexpected dash of humor."--Entertainment Weekly "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 "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 "A delightfully brilliant guide to our irrationality--and how to overcome it--in the marketplace and everyplace."--Geoffrey Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm and Dealing with Darwin "Dan Ariely's 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 "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 "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 clever, playful, humorous, hard hitting, insightful, and consistently fun and exciting to read."--Paul Slovic, Founder and President, Decision Research "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 "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 "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 Ariely's own ingeniously designed experiments. . . . Personal and accessible."--BusinessWeek "Surprisingly entertaining. . . . Easy to read. . . . Ariely's book makes economics and the strange happenings of the human mind fun."--USA Today "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 "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 "Ariely's intelligent, exuberant style and thought-provoking arguments make for a fascinating, eye-opening read."--Publishers Weekly "PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL is wildly original. It shows why--much more often than we usually care to admit--humans 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 fascinating romp through the science of decision-making that unmasks the ways that emotions, social norms, expectations, and context lead us astray."--Time magazine "Sly and lucid. . . . Predictably Irrational is a far more revolutionary book than its unthreatening manner lets on."--New York Times Book Review