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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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  •  
    Ted Lancaster, PA, United States 11-29-11
    Ted Lancaster, PA, United States 11-29-11 Member Since 2010

    Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Oh... yeah... interesting idea, but, um...."

    There's correlation and there's causation. Not sure that Ariely adequately grasps the distinction or even the direction of what causation might be connected to the correlations he discovers.

    REGARDLESS - this guy's mind is fun. His ideas startle the way a corn kernel's pop does even when you're watching the pot. There's a lot more work to do in his field before we can consider that the package entirely overcomes the value to consumers of whatever's inside.He argues, I think that things other than prince cause us to scurry up or down the demand curve. But economist have always said that the position of the curve... its place in space is determined by things other than price... Consumer tastes among them. By confusing demand with quantity demanded Ariely makes a rather basic mistake... yet he is contributing to our knowledge of shifting shapes and positions of snaky curves.

    Which is why I'm glad I listened and look forward to listening to more... and questioning Dr. Ariely's intriguing conclusions.


    Hey... how often do we get to enjoy good questions, huh?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sonofjohn 09-20-11
    sonofjohn 09-20-11 Listener Since 2009
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    "Excellent, Excellent Book"

    If you have enjoyed books like Malcolm Gladwell's "Blink" and other psychology-related works i think you'll like "Predictably Irrational" as well. I really enjoy books exploring psychology and behavior related issues and did not find this one to be too similar to any of the previous works i've read or listened too. In fact, i felt the author did an excellent job of presenting studies and information showing how the classical view of human economics in which humans act rationally is based on a clearly false premise. One of the reasons the author does such a great job of presenting new and interesting information is because he's conducted many of the research studies himself. He not only provides a great deal of his own research and studies, but also a great deal of research from his peers as well as anecdotes from the author's own life and all in a manner which i felt was factual and scientific. (In other words, the author does not come across as being condescending, arrogant, or otherwise annoying).
    If you're in marketing or market research or if you've ever bought or sold anything before i think you'll also find this book to be fascinating.
    i listen to most books on my ipod at a higher speed, and listened to most of this book at 1.5x but i did not find the narration to be annoying in any way at any of the speeds i listened to.
    Bottom line: i really, really enjoyed this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Monica Eaton Rapids, MI, United States 07-01-11
    Monica Eaton Rapids, MI, United States 07-01-11
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    "Purely Fascinating"

    The social experiments carried out in common place situations, and their results, have entertained me over and over again. Simon Jones is a fantastic reader, the wry humor of his tone of voice makes it all just that much better. I highly recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer AUSTIN, TX, United States 05-07-11
    Amazon Customer AUSTIN, TX, United States 05-07-11 Member Since 2014
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    "Delicious"

    Thoroughly enjoyed the book. The content is interesting in itself, but the writing style takes the book beyond the realm of the ordinary. Dan Ariely knows how to twist a phrase. Wry humor peeks out in unexpected places, surprising and delighting.

    Delightful insights into the human psyche and social norms.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eran Gal 04-03-11
    Eran Gal 04-03-11 Member Since 2013
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    "Brilliant!"

    Dan Ariely, in his very direct and honest and amusing way presents his findings, all based on experiments. It is so simple clear and convincing that it is time people understand that the "Science of Economics" has to make a big shift.
    Marketers know this for a long time, they just didn't tell the academic world...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    André Sao Paulo, Brazil 03-11-11
    André Sao Paulo, Brazil 03-11-11
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    "Recommended!"

    Very well written and narrated, filled with curious data. Although a few studies may sound refutable, I believe it's a very well-done job. All and all that's what's science is about: instigation. Definitely worthwhile!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim 02-13-11
    Jim 02-13-11 Member Since 2015
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    "Caution: Harmful if swallowed"

    The book had its moments, but in the end, was a disappointment. It seemed to have started with a conclusion, then interpreted various experiments as a means of supporting them. For example, the author demonstrated that more cheating occurs in certain situations, but failed to explain if it was large scale cheating by a few or widespread cheating by many. The same types of errors were made in regard to consumer behavior. Whether the irrationality was widespread, or simply extreme irrationality by a few was a distinction he never attempted to make.

    He then correctly states that the free market works well when each person acts in their own rational interest, but since we are all irrational, we need a central planner to tell us what to do. And, of course, he sees himself and his ideas taking on such a role. He even concluded at one point that we are willing slaves at heart (not his words) in that we truly yearn to be told what to do. However, if he is right, he is advocating a system where a few irrational people make decisions for the masses. Is that really so appealing?

    A prime reason why the free market should be left alone is that it is an incentive for people to act rationally. Isn't rationality a commodity in short supply already? Giving credit where credit is due, this book is somewhat entertaining thanks to a great job by the narrator. However, like perfume, it should be sniffed and not swallowed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    robert 12-27-10
    robert 12-27-10
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    "Highly interesting"

    Most of us know people are crazy, this book helps us to index their irrationality.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G. Tylee California 12-21-10
    G. Tylee California 12-21-10 Listener Since 2009
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    "Excellent!"

    A must read, his best work! His follow up is not as good as this one, but this is excellent!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ed POINT COOK, Australia 10-30-10
    Ed POINT COOK, Australia 10-30-10 Member Since 2010
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    "We think we are unique but......"

    The way in which we go about our business might look like random set of events, little do we know that there are machines out there that are watching our moves, poking and prodding to see which way we turn, what we buy, why we don't etc....

    The author uses examples to make recommendations on how we might put some structure into our chaotic lives to ensure that we think before we do. There are several examples that are used in books such as the Black Swan & Freakonomics which one might take to mean that the book is simply repeating points already made by others.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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