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Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions [Kindle Edition]

Dan Ariely
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (815 customer reviews)

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Book Description

"A marvelous book… thought provoking and highly entertaining."
—Jerome Groopman, New York Times bestselling author of How Doctors Think

"Ariely not only gives us a great read; he also makes us much wiser."
—George Akerlof, 2001 Nobel Laureate in Economics

"Revolutionary."
New York Times Book Review

Behavioral economist and New York Times bestselling author Dan Ariely offers a much-needed take on the irrational decisions that led to our current economic crisis.



Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Irrational behavior is a part of human nature, but as MIT professor Ariely has discovered in 20 years of researching behavioral economics, people tend to behave irrationally in a predictable fashion. Drawing on psychology and economics, behavioral economics can show us why cautious people make poor decisions about sex when aroused, why patients get greater relief from a more expensive drug over its cheaper counterpart and why honest people may steal office supplies or communal food, but not money. According to Ariely, our understanding of economics, now based on the assumption of a rational subject, should, in fact, be based on our systematic, unsurprising irrationality. Ariely argues that greater understanding of previously ignored or misunderstood forces (emotions, relativity and social norms) that influence our economic behavior brings a variety of opportunities for reexamining individual motivation and consumer choice, as well as economic and educational policy. Ariely's intelligent, exuberant style and thought-provoking arguments make for a fascinating, eye-opening read. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“This is a wonderful, eye-opening book. Deep, readable, and providing refreshing evidence that there are domains and situations in which material incentives work in unexpected ways. We humans are humans, with qualities that can be destroyed by the introduction of economic gains. A must read!”

Product Details

  • File Size: 743 KB
  • Print Length: 382 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books; 1 Exp Rev edition (June 23, 2009)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002C949KE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,925 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
232 of 243 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
This book and Dan Ariely have recieved a lot of media attention, so I approached the book with some skepticism, thinking that it might be overhyped. I'm pleased to report that my skepticism turned out to be unwarranted.

The book has many strengths, the main one being that it convincingly presents many ways people are wired and/or conditioned to be irrational, usually without even being aware of it. This eye-opening revelation can be a bit disheartening, but the good news is that we can fix at least some of this irrationality by being aware of how it can arise and then making a steady effort to override it or compensate for it. That's not an easy task, but it can be done. As a simple example, I've programmed a realistic exercise schedule into my PDA, and I've been very consistent with my exercise because of that. The PDA imposes a discipline on me which I couldn't otherwise impose on myself (as I know from experience).

The book is also well written, and I would even say enjoyable to read. The many experiments described in the book are presented in a lively way which elicits interest, and Ariely goes into just the right amount of detail -- enough to convey the basic experimental designs, results, and plausible interpretations, without boring the reader by getting into esoteric points which are more appropriate for journal papers.

The one criticism I have of the book, which applies to most of Western pscyhology, is that most of the described experiments used US college students as subjects. That raises a serious question regarding the extent to which the results can be generalized to people of the same age who aren't college students, people of other ages, and people outside the US.
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373 of 408 people found the following review helpful
By Drifty
Format:Hardcover
I have been thinking about economics seriously for nearly 30 years. Classical economics is built to no small degree on the notion that people will generally act in their own best self interest, after rationally and intelligently examining their options. This fit my world view fine in my first career as an engineer (BS and MS in Electrical Engineering).

From my 2nd Career as a Business Development person (MBA), I began to have to deal with people's tendency to not entirely think things through.

Here in this book, we have a professor who runs socioeconomic tests on his MBA students. These students are smart enough, worldly enough, experienced enough, and educated enough to approximate the standard economic assumptions and produce reasonably rational behavior.

Guess what. Even among broad experiments conducted on multiple MBA classes over time, one can predictably pre-bias the outcome of a particular run of a socioeconomic experiment by what seeds you plant in the class members' minds before the experiment. For example, in one experiment in estimating prices, the author requires his students to write the last two digits of their social security numbers on the top of the paper. Simply the act of writing a high number (e.g., 88) versus a low number (e.g., 08) produced statistically significant correlatable influences on the students' later price estimates. Those compelled to write "88" at the top of their papers would reliably estimate higher prices than those compelled to write "08" at the top of their papers, to a statistically significant degree.

Extrapolating to "real life." Watching Fox News will tend to make you more conservative without you knowing it. Watching MSNBC news will tend to make you more liberal without you knowing it.
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293 of 325 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to the fuzzy world of being human. February 19, 2008
Format:Hardcover
Dan Ariely is the guy you'd want at your dinner party. He's witty, smart and also very inclusive - sharing his passion for the way humans tick in a way that makes us feel great about the fact that, rational as we like to think we are, we make bad snap decisions, we cheat and we get ruled by our heart precisely when the facts are screaming "go the other way!" There's a lot in this writing which celebrates our human-ness. Why do we do this?
What Ariely has done here is shift a lot of the thinking developed by such pioneers as Kahneman & Tversky who worked in behavioural economics, and moved it into the everyday sphere. And he's done a great, insightful job. Where the behavioural economists are focused on financial decisions (why we buy high and sell low - and confound the assumptions of the classic economists who assume 'the rational man,) Ariely eschews the technical language and walks us through everyday examples of our often fuzzy and quite irrational decision-making.

The result is utterly engaging - and this easy 300 page read still has academic rigour and strong foundations. Ariely cites many experiments and examples, and shows that we often get things wrong because we frame things the wrong way, mis-judge probabilities, apply heuristic rules of thumb that don't always work, or we just plain let our emotions rule.

We love to think that we're educated, rational and moral. Yet who hasn't overestimated the upside on a sure-fire investment, bought some clothing that we knew was a mistake even as we bought it, or got our wires crossed between work-rules and social rules? This book is fascinating, entertaining and very, very illuminating.

- Recommended for the general public, but I'd urge marketers, market researchers and business people to read this one carefully.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting book
Well written book on why we aren't as rational as we think we are. Behavioral economics written about in a very entertaining way...
Published 1 day ago by Deven J. Parekh
3.0 out of 5 stars decent book but there are better
At most this is a good intro book for this topic - it gives a good bird's eye view of the concepts related to decision making and the interesting choices we make despite the... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Josh
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites
I really enjoyed Dan's books. He makes psychology easier to understand, and his writing style is fun to read. I am looking forward to his third book.
Published 2 days ago by Teriyaki Pineapple
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun, but "predictable" is about right
It's interesting, but light. The experiments are clever but also pretty circumstantial, and generally produce obvious outcomes. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Reid Wegner
5.0 out of 5 stars Eye /Mind Opening!
I loved the book Blink and thought I might enjoy this book - and I did! The human mind is both incredible and questionable - and insight into its workings seems so beneficial. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Carol T.
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely a good resource to understand when dealing with people
Very interesting perspectives. Definitely a good resource to understand when dealing with people. Dan makes it so simple to relate to.
Published 7 days ago by Jay C Hawkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Classic
Published 11 days ago by pd
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to understand our own behavior
Great book about how people think, behave, and make decisions. It is enlightening to see just how many things influence us and how unconscious our decisions can be. Read more
Published 16 days ago by Andrew Gentile
5.0 out of 5 stars Love.
Love this book, Basically we must face the fact that as much as we research about an impending decision, in the end our gut rules and we buy or do things for the craziest of... Read more
Published 19 days ago by caeden
5.0 out of 5 stars A very entertaining and enlightening read on Behavioral Economics
Just finished reading this very enjoyable book. It was a very interesting read on "behavioral economics" and our human fallibility with respect to decision making. Read more
Published 21 days ago by Darin A Jensen
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More About the Author

Dan Ariely is the James B Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University.

Dan publishes widely in the leading scholarly journals in economics, psychology, and business. His work has been featured in a variety of media including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Business 2.0, Scientific American, Science and CNN. He splits his time between Durham NC and the rest of the world


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