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Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions Paperback – Illustrated, April 27, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 5,554 ratings

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Popular Highlights in this book

Editorial Reviews

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!” — Nassim Nicholas Taleb, New York Times bestselling author of The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

“An entertaining look at human foibles.” — New York Times

“Sly and lucid. . . . Predictably Irrational is a far more revolutionary book than its unthreatening manner lets on.” — New York Times Book Review

“Surprisingly entertaining. . . . Easy to read. . . . Ariely’s book makes economics and the strange happenings of the human mind fun.” — USA Today

“A fascinating romp through the science of decision-making that unmasks the ways that emotions, social norms, expectations, and context lead us astray.” — Time magazine

“In creative ways, author Dan Ariely puts rationality to the test. . . . New experiments and optimistic ideas tumble out of him, like water from a fountain.” — Boston Globe

“An entertaining tour of the many ways people act against their best interests, drawing on Ariely’s own ingeniously designed experiments. . . . Personal and accessible.” — BusinessWeek

“Ariely’s book addresses some weighty issues . . . with an unexpected dash of humor.” — Entertainment Weekly

“A spry treatise on how the world works and how we spend our money based on other people’s rules. . . . Ariely has a brilliant solution to a problem that is very real . . . Make a point of seeing this book. That way you’ll know you want it, and you will.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“Inventive. . . . An accessible account. . . . Ariely is a more than capable storyteller . . . If only more researchers could write like this, the world would be a better place.” — Financial Times

“Ariely’s intelligent, exuberant style and thought-provoking arguments make for a fascinating, eye-opening read.” — Publishers Weekly

“A taxonomy of financial folly.” — The New Yorker

“Smart.” — Slate

“A marvelous book that is both thought provoking and highly entertaining, ranging from the power of placebos to the pleasures of Pepsi. Ariely unmasks the subtle but powerful tricks that our minds play on us, and shows us how we can prevent being fooled.” — Jerome Groopman, New York Times bestselling author of How Doctors Think

“Dan Ariely is a genius at understanding human behavior: no economist does a better job of uncovering and explaining the hidden reasons for the weird ways we act, in the marketplace and out. PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL will reshape the way you see the world, and yourself, for good.” — James Surowiecki, author of The Wisdom of Crowds

“PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL is a charmer-filled with clever experiments, engaging ideas, and delightful anecdotes. Dan Ariely is a wise and amusing guide to the foibles, errors, and bloopers of everyday decision-making.” — Daniel Gilbert, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University and author of Stumbling on Happiness

“The most difficult part of investing is managing your emotions. Dan explains why that is so challenging for all of us, and how recognizing your built-in biases can help you avoid common mistakes.” — Charles Schwab, Chairman and CEO, The Charles Schwab Corporation

“PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL is wildly original. It shows why—much more often than we usually care to admit—humans make foolish, and sometimes disastrous, mistakes. Ariely not only gives us a great read; he also makes us much wiser.” — George Akerlof, Nobel Laureate in Economics, 2001 Koshland Professor of Economics, University of California at Berkeley

“Dan Ariely’s ingenious experiments explore deeply how our economic behavior is influenced by irrational forces and social norms. In a charmingly informal style that makes it accessible to a wide audience, PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL provides a standing criticism to the explanatory power of rational egotistic choice.” — Kenneth Arrow, Nobel Prize in Economics 1972, Professor of Economics Stanford University

“A delightfully brilliant guide to our irrationality—and how to overcome it—in the marketplace and everyplace.” — Geoffrey Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm and Dealing with Darwin

“After reading this book, you will understand the decisions you make in an entirely new way.” — Nicholas Negroponte, founder of MIT's Media Lab and founder and chairman of the One Laptop per Child non-profit association

“PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL is a scientific but imminently readable and decidedly insightful look into why we do what we do every day...and why, even though we ‘know better,’ we may never change.” — Wenda Harris Millard, President, Media, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia

“Predictably Irrational is an important book. Full of valuable and entertaining insights that will make an impact on your business, professional, and personal life.” — Jack M Greenberg, Chairman, Western Union Company, Retired Chairman and CEO, McDonald's Corporation

“Predictably Irrational is clever, playful,humorous, hard hitting, insightful, and consistently fun and exciting to read.” — Paul Slovic, Founder and President, Decision Research

“Freakonomics held that people respond to incentives, perhaps in undesirable ways, but always rationally. Dan Ariely shows you how people are deeply irrational, and predictably so.” — Chip Heath, Co-Author, Made to Stick, Professor, Stanford Graduate School of Business

From the Back Cover

Why do our headaches persist after we take a one-cent aspirin but disappear when we take a fifty-cent aspirin?

Why do we splurge on a lavish meal but cut coupons to save twenty-five cents on a can of soup?

When it comes to making decisions in our lives, we think we're making smart, rational choices. But are we?

In this newly revised and expanded edition of the groundbreaking New York Times bestseller, Dan Ariely refutes the common assumption that we behave in fundamentally rational ways. From drinking coffee to losing weight, from buying a car to choosing a romantic partner, we consistently overpay, underestimate, and procrastinate. Yet these misguided behaviors are neither random nor senseless. They're systematic and predictable—making us predictably irrational.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ 0061353248
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Harper Perennial; Revised and Expanded ed. edition (April 27, 2010)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 384 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 9780061353246
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0061353246
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 10.1 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.31 x 0.86 x 8 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 5,554 ratings

About the author

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Dan Ariely is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Behavioral Economics at MIT. His work has been featured in leading scholarly journals as well as a variety of popular media outlets, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Business 2.0, Scientific American, and Science. He has also been featured on CNN and National Public Radio. 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 Princeton, NJ, and Cambridge, MA.

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
5,554 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on March 7, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on May 5, 2015
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Top reviews from other countries

Alok Kejriwal
5.0 out of 5 stars Just get this book. That's it.
Reviewed in India on August 11, 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars Just get this book. That's it.
Reviewed in India on August 11, 2019
Predictably Irrational - Book review.

GET THIS BOOK. That's it.

A BRILLIANT read. Irrespective of what you do, you must read this textbook of human behaviour & how amazingly complex our minds are decisions are.

A sample of what's inside:

Consider an experiment on 100 students based on an old subscription model of The Economist magazine, offering:

Option 1 - a web subscription for $59

Option 2 - a print subscription for $125

Option 3 - a web & print subscription for $125

16 students chose Option 1

0 students chose Option 2 (obvious!!)

84 students chose Option 3.

Revenue earned = $11,444.

The author then removed Option 2 (Print sub for $125) Results:

68 students chose Option 1

32 students went for Option 3Revenue earned = $8,012

What could have possibly changed their minds? It was the mere presence of THE DECOY (2nd option) that made them buy MORE expensive options in the 1st experiment & less in the 2nd experiment.

The book is replete with such experiments. Also, real-life examples of human behaviour when it comes to product pricing (including 'anchoring'), buying houses, cheating, Starbucks Upsells, what Ford learned from Toyota about Car servicing and too many brilliant quotes.
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102 people found this helpful
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Susan Stepney
5.0 out of 5 stars Several of the examples will be useful to help avoid faulty reasoning in certain cases
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 1, 2019
11 people found this helpful
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Tony James Slater
5.0 out of 5 stars Brain-exploding potential!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 17, 2015
13 people found this helpful
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Nick Michelioudakis
5.0 out of 5 stars A Review - for Educators
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 14, 2016
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Review - for Educators
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 14, 2016
MIT Professor Dan Ariely needs no introduction; he is one of the biggest names in the field of Behavioural Economics. Ariely studies the way we think, decide and operate – and in chapter after chapter he shows that we are far from being the rational creatures we think we are!
In one of the amazing studies in the book he shows for instance that the way we ‘frame’ something (p. 41) often determines how others are going to take it (remember Tom Sawyer and how he got his friends to paint that wall? For classroom management purposes, this is crucial; if we introduce activities saying ‘Now, this may hurt a little...’ chances are students are going to feel the pain!)
This leads to the hugely important subject – expectations: quick Q: would you like a beer with a drop of balsamic vinegar in it? (p. 159) A: It depends on whether you know it in advance or not! If you do, chances are you are going to dislike it. Expectations colour perceptions. How many times has this prejudiced us against certain students?
Ariely’s interests range from beverages to education. Here is another Q for you: which students have better results: those who are free to choose their own deadlines, or those where the professor ‘democratically’ decides for everyone? Incredibly, it is the latter! (p. 115) This finding may go against our cherished beliefs, but in fact it ties in very smoothly with notions of ‘ego depletion’ (Baumeister). The very process of deciding exhausts us, with the result that we are both more stressed and produce poorer-quality work.
Ariely writes in the simple, effortless and straightforward style that you find among people with a real command of their subject. Rather than bombarding the reader with studies and facts, he goes through each experiment in detail, ensuring that the reader manages to grasp the key concept in all its fine details. He then goes on to consider the possible applications of the findings in various fields of life – not just work. Yet what I like best about this book is that he also uses examples from his own life – sometimes funny, sometimes poignant.
OK – now here is one last idea from the book: a little ‘conjuring trick’ for shamelessly manipulating students (pp 9 – 10): You give them a choice for homework: they can read a long article or they can write a short essay. But you really want them to write that essay. Piece of cake – you give them a third option; writing an even longer text! Now, nobody is going to choose that, right? Yes, but because the short essay is better than the long one, students also assume it’s preferable to the article too! Brilliant!! :-)
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10 people found this helpful
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Adrian Haberberg
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book, but there are better ones out there
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 18, 2018
4 people found this helpful
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