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.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.
©2008 Dan Ariely; (P)2008 HarperCollins Publishers
This is one of the best books I have read about things that influence our decision making. Why will we go out of our way to $7 on an item that costs $20 but not go out of our way to save that $7 on something that costs $200? How are influenced into choosing one of two choices by the introduction of a choice that we will not make? These observations and others are fascinating observations and psychological experiments that demonstrate how we think and act. Factors that influence our morality, cheating and decision making are presented in a way that hits home - I found my own behavior presented in almost every chapter. The author is a social psychologist that presents his concepts very clearly and in situations you will recognize. He follows ups his concepts by describing cleverly designed 'experiments' on students (typically from MIT). The experiments clearly demonstrate why choices are made in certain situations. This book is good not only for your own personal understanding of how decisions are made but should also be read by anyone who wishes to infuence how others make decisions. Great concepts for people in sales, marketing and business. If you like this genre, this is one of the best.
Fascinating to hear all the examples that support our irrationality. Sometimes a little over done. Would have like an approach to be able to counteract but one can't change what one doesn't acknowledge, so it's a start.
Eclectic mixer of books of my youth and ones I always meant to read, but didn't.
I picked this title up on a recommendation from one of the reviewers that I follow. It was a good referral, although it was more about behavioural economics than I had expected. In particular, a lot of the examples (of which there are many in total) concern consumer behaviour. Even though the author attempts to interpolate from the conclusions of that behaviour something that might be applicable to non-consumer decision making, it begins to sound more like a tack-on than the thesis of the text. Of course, the thesis is as applicable to consumer choice as anything else and, one suspects, it's hard to fund research about pure decision making as compared to consumer choice (which every major retailer might fund). So, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. But I was.
The thesis is also self fulfilling. We all (or a healthy percentage of us) behave like this. That said, the examples are informative about the extent of our irrationality, if not its existence. Be prepared for a regular (but not overwhelming) opportunity to foreshadow the results, too. These work well, I suspect, except that I always seemed to be in the low percentile. That's not a complaint, but it did mean that I didn't relate to the conclusions in the predicable way. I guess that's rational!
I enjoyed Simon Jones' reading. His voice, pacing and tone reminds me of one of the media consumer watchdog commentators presently on air in Oz (Paul Barry).
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.
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?
"Know thyself", (an inscription on the temple of Apollo). The human mind is incredible biologically but when you begin to study the way we convince ourselves of truth, it becomes mind-boggling. Understanding why we do certain things is a mystery to most of us. This book invites us to examine "the irrationality" of what we consider to be "clear thinking". Situations like the "come on ploys" of advertising to the excuses that we parden our own behavior with, the author examines and tests (statistically) the bad thinking or "not useful thinking" of himself and the people around him. Written with a touch of irony and good humor, this book examines its a humorous as well as the insidious dimensions of our everyday thinking.
While the examples are good, they feel loosely bound and too... pop-sciency? It feels like a collection of examples as opposed to a comprehensive book.
I love books! Audiobooks take stories to the next level. I'm obsessed with Audible and will try to rate all of my books. Happy Listening! ;)
I recommend this book to everyone. You learn so much about how many of our desicions are actually irrational and how marketing manipulated us so much. This book is full of studies about what influences the desicions we make and it's so interesting. Once you finish listening to this book you will think twice before buying something you feel you desperately need. You'll learn how your brain thinks that something that is expensive is better that something that is cheap. I believe that listening to this book has made me a more responsible consumer an will make save money because now I know that my mind may be playing some tricks on me. Highly recommend this book!
I could only hope everyone would read this book. Perfectly narated and so full of information. I was really spellbound and will most likley have to listen to it again. Thank you Proffessor!
I was surprised to discover that most of the arguments made by the author were obvious (or at least had occurred to me) prior to reading the book. Still I learned a thing or to but thought the arguments were much too drawn out and I found myself advancing through the book
People say I resemble my dog (and vice-versa). He can hear sounds I can't hear, but I'm the one who listens to audiobooks.
Psychologist Dan Ariely challenges the conventional economic theory of Rational Choice. Relying on experiments conducted mostly on college students, Ariely uncovers seemingly irrational behavior like procrastination, dishonesty, the lure of the free, emotional decision making, expectations, triggers, choice manipulation, et.al.
Many of his findings ring true, but I see two serious errors that undermine his thesis. First, as the Freakonomics guys always caution, he conflates causation with correlation -- if two things appear to be correlated, that does not necessarily one causes the other, certainly not to the point where irrationality trumps rational choice.
So just because shipping is free if I buy a second book when I only logged in to buy one, that doesn't mean I'll spend an extra $12 to buy something I don't want to save $4 in shipping. I'll do it because I will eventually buy that second book anyway. That Amazon experiences a jump in sales is only temporary -- in the long run, I will buy the same number of books.
A bigger mistake is making incorrect assumptions, ascribing the violation of one assumption as the cause of the violation of another assumption, more specifically, ascribing the lack of full information as irrational behavior, and in addition failing to adequately quantify how we calculate value. Ariely says:
"Standard economics assumes we are rational -- that we know all the pertinent information about our decisions, that we can calculate the value of the different options we face, and that we are cognitively unhindered in weighing the ramifications of each potential choice... But, as the results in this book show, we are all far less rational in our decision making."
I beg to differ. In many experiments, results are often caused by lack of pertinent information than by failure to process available information rationally. The evil twin of this notion is when people are deliberately misled, manipulated into seemingly irrational choices -- poor choices based on lies or distortions (incomplete information) are not therefore irrationality.
Ariely fails to quantify the basic economic concept of utility. Why do I help my neighbor move furniture for free but bristle if he asks for free professional advice? It's purely rational if you quantify the self-gratification I get from doing a favor and knowing I can expect the same in return. Ariely dismisses lack of information and understates the value of utility, concluding instead that we act irrationally.
Failing to appreciate his thesis and his methods (in economics, experimentation on a non-representative set of subjects is no substitute for econometric evaluation of reams of readily available real-world data), I could not enjoy this book. When I listen to a comic novel, I laugh out loud as I walk down the street -- listening to this, I could be heard shouting "No!" and "Wrong!" as I walked down the street.
Nice having Simon Jones (bka Arthur Dent from Hitchhiker's Guide) narrate, but it threw me off a bit -- one line started out as "Life..." and I half expected it to continue as "the universe and everything".
"Great book. One of the best I've read recently"
This is really an exceptionally insightful book with many practical examples of how to improve our lives and those of other people by being more rational in our everyday life. A must read to all intelligent creatures on this planet!
"Insightful, very clearly explained."
Topics clearly explained. The reading voice not quite aligned to the topic. However, a very interesting book indeed.
"Excellent book on how humans act irrationally"
This books contains some excellent studies/experiments that tell how we act irrationally.
As an entrepreneur this information was very helpful.
"Surprising revelations and insight."
A truly fascinating book, the reader really bringing the humour of the writer to life.
Great at shining a light on the misunderstandings of our decision making process.
This book captures and explains several interesting concepts, in what I would describe as, cognitive psychology, although the author is keener to label it Economic Psychology.
There are other books that try explain more the Why, rather than the what, particularly Think Fast, Think Slow. Therefore, this is a very accessible good introduction to the subject.
"Read this and you will understand why you do stuff"
Most definitely. This is a book to study not just to listen to once.
If you want to understand more about human behaviour, listen to (or read) this book
"Not so good"
There are a lot of books out there on this topic. This is fairly average. Narrator too posh for me.
"Great insights and great research!"
I enjoyed the book even more the more I listened. There were so many clever ways to test ideas, and so much knowledge of how we are as humans. A really great way to get to know more of ourselves and our nexts.
"I love Dan Ariely. A truly out of the box thinker!"
Maybe but I have good recall and I doubt the second listen would be as intriguing as the first.
"Wonderfully engaging insights into your own mind"
There were so many bit where I felt i needed to stop and think about how this impacts my daily life that I'm sure reading it again would reveal much that I've forgotten.
It has similarities to "Intuition Pumps" by Dan Dennett, but is more fun to listen to.
The many examples of "the decoy effect"
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