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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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  •  
    10-12-08
    10-12-08 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    48
    2
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    Overall
    "Great listening"

    Fascinating listening. Each example started slowly drawing you into the scenario. This was followed by the quirk in behavior. The principle then is extrapolated to more pertinent issues. Just as the chapter is about to get tedious it stops. The anecdotes are easy to recall and relate to everyday habits I subsequently picked it for book group.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judy East longmeadow, MA, United States 08-19-08
    Judy East longmeadow, MA, United States 08-19-08 Member Since 2011

    jazkibbe

    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
    ratings
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    85
    17
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    "really interesting"

    I liked the book a lot. Made me think. I might have interpreted some results a little differently here or there -- but so what. still compelling. I was not a fan of the narrator's accent -- but that is a nit.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anomoly United States 08-16-08
    Anomoly United States 08-16-08 Listener Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    48
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    "Predictably good"

    I've always hated statistics, just not my thing. Going through college i realized how much it's actually used against us.

    This book uses statistics but in a way that pulls you in. He makes statements, and then roll right into the study that BACKS UP what he is saying.

    I found this book interesting the whole way through and a little humor here and there helped also.

    Great start into how and why we do some of the things we do.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric D. Barstad Minnetonka, MN 08-05-08
    Eric D. Barstad Minnetonka, MN 08-05-08 Member Since 2010

    EricMtka

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This really worked for me..."

    I don't write too many reviews and generally only the ones I like...Well, this is one that I liked. Great stories and examples of the human psych. I have listened to this 3 times...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Augustus Mission, BC CAN 07-03-08
    Augustus Mission, BC CAN 07-03-08 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Unlocking the Nonsense behind Decision-Making"

    This is an enjoyable listen. The author uses basic experiments with every day examples that reinforce his research. It provides some particularly good insight into our susceptibility to make poor decisions and how easily we can be manipulated. I particularly appreciated the author's acknowledging that he was as likely to fall into irrational decision-making as the next person.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B.L Fremont, CA, USA 05-29-08
    B.L Fremont, CA, USA 05-29-08 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Mind-bogglingly Interesting"

    I picked this on Audible as it was one of the best sellers. It kept me completely engrossed from the moment I started listening to it. I found it so interesting and thought-provoking that I had to listen to it all over again!

    This is a book that makes you wonder if you really make rational choices in buying things, ordering food, etc. Dan Ariely uses many experiments involving normal day-to-day situations and unearths incredible outcomes. If you like books that are witty, entertaining and thought-provoking, then this one is for you.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martina K M cheung sha wan, kowloon, hong kongHong Kong 04-22-08
    Martina K M cheung sha wan, kowloon, hong kongHong Kong 04-22-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "love this book"

    interesting psychology.
    useful to my online business price setting.
    inspiring.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Craig duluth, GA, USA 04-05-08
    Craig duluth, GA, USA 04-05-08 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What really makes us tick"

    I enjoyed this from the standpoint that the writer explains with a simplistic approach the essence of that which truly influences our decisions.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas New York, NY, USA 03-26-08
    Douglas New York, NY, USA 03-26-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fun and thoughtful"

    This book offered some entertaining and enlightening studies into how people behave. It is certainly light-hearted, and a pleasant read. In response to people who considered it a series of anecdotes: that it may be, but they have a useful theme. The results offer a way to improve your interpersonal relations and personal behavior by placing less trust in your rationality when presented with temptation.

    Since the presentation is so biographical, I found it a little distracting knowing that the author was Israeli and the narrator British; it caused a minor disconnect. However, the reading is quite good.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bryan Smyrna, TN, USA 03-08-08
    Bryan Smyrna, TN, USA 03-08-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Insightful and Counter-Intuitive"

    What a wonderful book! I was amazed by the depth of research and the, sometimes amazing, discoveries. For years I've wondered why we often behave in ways that make no logical sense. Predictably Irrational addresses those behaviors, their triggers, how they become habits, and how they change. I heartily recommend this book.

    -- Bryan Entzminger

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
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  • James
    Beaconsfield, United Kingdom
    11/2/10
    Overall
    "Eye-opening"

    Wow. Very interesting and of practical application too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nicholas
    LONDONUnited Kingdom
    6/5/10
    Overall
    "Fascinating"

    This provides real insights into how we behave and why. I found it amusing and will be listening to it again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Vilnis
    NewentUnited Kingdom
    3/29/10
    Overall
    "Started strong, but far too long"

    Some of the early parts of this book were illuminating (such as how we can use decoys to influence people's choices among alternatives) and interesting (how we are drawn to things that are free). But about a third of the way through, I began to feel that it was becoming over-written and needed drastic pruning. It lacked the pace of, for example, 'Yes: 50 Secrets from the Science of Persuasion' which I had listened to a couple of months before. I found Ariely's last few chapters a real effort to wade through and ultimately unrewarding.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • R Hamilton
    London
    10/9/09
    Overall
    "Interesting book - well worth a listen"

    Really interesting insight to how we behave in certain situations and why. Well written and nicely narrated. I did feel it started to get a little repetitive towards the end of the book though. Still a good listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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