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Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions | [Dan Ariely]

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

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.
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Publisher's Summary

Why do our headaches persist after taking a one-cent aspirin but disappear when we take a 50-cent aspirin? Why does recalling the 10 Commandments reduce our tendency to lie, even when we couldn't possibly be caught? Why do we splurge on a lavish meal but cut coupons to save 25 cents on a can of soup? Why do we go back for second helpings at the unlimited buffet, even when our stomachs are already full? And how did we ever start spending $4.15 on a cup of coffee when, just a few years ago, we used to pay less than a dollar?

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.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2008 Dan Ariely; (P)2008 HarperCollins Publishers

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  •  
    Denise Boulange Belmont, CA, United States 01-30-12
    Denise Boulange Belmont, CA, United States 01-30-12 Member Since 2014
    ratings
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    8
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    "Engaging subject and well grounded"

    I found Behavioral Economics a fascinating field. The story of the book is grounded in author's personal experience, and the personable introduction does help to connect to his perspective and, in my mind, provides traction with the content. This book is a side-product of a dedicated decade-long research, not one of those projects where the author synthesizes findings from across the board and packages them as a catchy prescription of the day (this genre of course produces valuable works as well). To me, it was an informative and revealing listen. The observations derived from a selection of staged experiments will be useful to anyone who seeks a better grasp of human motivations and sources of behavior, and a deeper self-awareness. What seemed a little out of tune to me were the author's occasional attempts at translating the experimental observations into practical tips for life situations. These "practical take-outs" at times looked artificial. Overall, the book has added to my knowledge and interest in the subject.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    levi clovis, CA, United States 01-30-12
    levi clovis, CA, United States 01-30-12

    Avid non-fiction audiobook listener as I drive. Love to learn and be entertained at same time. Have read over 300 audio books in four years.

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    "Very informative, eye opening"

    Really got a lot out of this book. I find human nature facinating, and this author breaks down out decision making process. Great narrator, and I really enjoyed the humor.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    hector Mexico DF, Mexico 01-30-12
    hector Mexico DF, Mexico 01-30-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Science of behavior for everyone"
    If you could sum up Predictably Irrational in three words, what would they be?

    Fun, amazing, non-predictable at all.


    What other book might you compare Predictably Irrational to and why?

    I had never read before such an interesting behavioral and motivational science book.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    There are many favorite moments about the book that can be applied to everyday life, The first is when people are


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    At the beginning of the book, when the author describes his story in a hospital when he was a ked and the motivation he had to study some decisions people make which are not


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beth Rosburg, WA, United States 01-30-12
    Beth Rosburg, WA, United States 01-30-12
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    "didn't grab me"
    What disappointed you about Predictably Irrational?

    Maybe it was just the wrong time for me to try to listen to this book. I usually like non-fiction social, economic or political commentaries, but not this one....I didn't finish it so I shouldn't really say too much.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    robert Stamford, CT, United States 01-25-12
    robert Stamford, CT, United States 01-25-12 Member Since 2012
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    16
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    "Entertaining and interesting but..."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Entertaining and interesting but not as good as some other choices in the behavioral economics category.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Portland, OR, United States 01-23-12
    John Portland, OR, United States 01-23-12 Member Since 2014

    I am retired and currently living all over the place. One of my ports of call is Melbourne, another is in Nova Scotia, and Portland.

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    "Charming, interesting"
    What did you like best about Predictably Irrational? What did you like least?

    I liked the premise of the book and was intrigued by the experiments, but it was fairly slight.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    I alternate between fiction and non-fiction. I'm listening to a WW II thriller right now.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I enjoyed the scene in the book when he tries to talk to some bankers about offering a new kind of credit card, one that might actually result in customers reigning in their free-spending habits in the interest of actually saving money for a change.


    Did Predictably Irrational inspire you to do anything?

    It did enlighten me to some of my own irrationality, particularly where it comes to making decisions involving big purchases.


    Any additional comments?

    Worth a listen, but don't expect any earth-shattering insights.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John 01-23-12
    John 01-23-12 Member Since 2014
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    "Charming, interesting"
    What did you like best about Predictably Irrational? What did you like least?

    I liked the premise of the book and was intrigued by the experiments, but it was fairly slight.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    I alternate between fiction and non-fiction. I'm listening to a WW II thriller right now.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I enjoyed the scene in the book when he tries to talk to some bankers about offering a new kind of credit card, one that might actually result in customers reigning in their free-spending habits in the interest of actually saving money for a change.


    Did Predictably Irrational inspire you to do anything?

    It did enlighten me to some of my own irrationality, particularly where it comes to making decisions involving big purchases.


    Any additional comments?

    Worth a listen, but don't expect any earth-shattering insights.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jarrod OVERLAND PARK, KS, United States 01-05-12
    Jarrod OVERLAND PARK, KS, United States 01-05-12 Member Since 2015
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    "Makes me think twice"

    I really enjoyed this book. It really makes me think twice about choices I make and why I make them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephane EU, France 12-27-11
    Stephane EU, France 12-27-11 Member Since 2003
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    "Good and fine observation of our behaviour"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Predictably Irrational to be better than the print version?

    Don't know the print version but perhaps I'll buy it


    What did you like best about this story?

    They're only exemples but very telling


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    oliwa Amelia, OH, United States 12-01-11
    oliwa Amelia, OH, United States 12-01-11
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    "Unpredictably awesome"

    This was one of the most interesting books I've listened to. I really liked the narration and the explanation of the studies and psychology behind we do what we do. Many times during this book I related to times I did irrational things for no good reason. This book has changed how I will make decisions.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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