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William Stanger

Philadelphia, PA USA | Member Since 2008

  • 2 reviews
  • 16 ratings
  • 162 titles in library
  • 7 purchased in 2015

  • Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Dan Ariely
    • Narrated By Simon Jones

    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.

    Stephen says: "Well researched, well written, & well read"
    "Good lessons, mediocre science?"

    The book contains interesting insights and valuable points that could help anyone better understand their behavior and the behavior of those around them. That said, the author cooses to attack psychological phenomenon with economic theory - an approach that completely ignored information and game theory and causes, in my opinion, fatal incompleteness to nearly every study presented in the book. For example, the author talks about giving away free $10 Amzon gift certificates in the mall, versus allowing people to purchase $20 gift certificates at a discount of more than $10. A large majority of participants opted to get te free gift certificate, even though it was worth less money. According to the author, and his economic theory, this makes no sense and the participants failed to act rationally. The author did not even briefly consider the information assymetry and its potential effect: HE knows its a real gift certificate, but as far as the participants know its a fake gift certificate, or it doesn't work right, or something is wrong with the study, they simply don't want to take their wallet out in public, or they don't want to wait for change. Trust, game, and information theory are not considered, and so many rational behaviors are hand-waved away as irrational. The author consistently fails to consider trust and information availability and the necessary impact on behaviorsin a frustrating manner.

    92 of 105 people found this review helpful
  • 10 Books That Screwed Up the World: And 5 Others That Didn't Help

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Benjamin Wiker
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    You've heard of the "Great Books"? These are their evil opposites. From Machiavelli's The Prince to Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto to Alfred Kinsey's Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, these "influential" books have led to war, genocide, totalitarian oppression, family breakdown, and disastrous social experiments. And yet these authors' bad ideas are still popular and pervasive. Here with the antidote is Professor Benjamin Wiker.

    Aaron says: "Some merit, but more religious masquerade"
    "Good replacement for a Philosophy class"

    The book is well narrated. The author did an excellent job providing historical background and context for some of Philosophy's most persistently pernicious works before picking them apart. It only avoided five stars because the author occasionally treats Christian theology as irrefutable fact when making counter arguments against atheism and materialism. Those few instances sounded like lazy thinking to me.

    9 of 19 people found this review helpful

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