- Audible Audiobook
- Listening Length: 4 hours and 55 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
- Audible.com Release Date: June 17, 2008
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B001BACYQ6
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Compare and contrast that with the decision of a seasoned 747 pilot to abandon his safety checklist in order to save time and reputation. What could have possibly driven a man as seasoned and programmed as the computer sitting in front of you now, to disregard his own programming?
Very little about the human condition can be ascertained from the examples presented in this book other than, as worldly and self aware of our surroundings that we think we may be, human perception is actually very poor and significantly limited in scope. Since we are resourced constrained we tend to take the first information that we assess as necessary for our survival and filter out the rest. Which is why a first impression, will always have the biggest impact on us. No matter where that first impression originates. Once our brain does the filtering...it doesn't want to go back and reclassify the information...that's hard work. Once we are swayed there is almost no turning back.
You could read all the neuro physcology books in the world and not come up with a better explanation for why it happens...why the irrational decisions shape our human existence. Take skydiving for instance. Unless you have a burning desire to jump out of a perfectly good airplane I doubt anyone would be able to talk you into it. Even when you've convinced yourself the odds are pretty good that you will survive the drop, it's not the odds that count. No matter how safely you prepare, no matter how many facts you read about the safety of the sport, diving out the door of an airplane at 10,000 feet is not a natural act. Plummeting through the wind at up to 200 mph is simply something that our human bodies have never considered at any time during evolutionary development. Thus, only from the irrational, can we arrive at a decision to do so.
We cannot change our irrational side. Nor should we. Through stories, not science, books like Sway give us a deeper understanding that our irrational side is real. It's our instincts that have kept us alive for 10,000 years. Therefore it's not the irresistible pull of irrational behavior that gives us a story. The real story is why can't rational behavior win in the big the tug of war going on in our brain. In small ways, understanding that which makes us human, helps us to recognize the times when we are inhuman, as with a corporate decision to lay-off 10,000 employees to balance the spreadsheet, or at a time when we need to invoke our inhuman side, like when being in command of a 747 jumbo jet and making a decision to take off in a dense fog. We've got the ability to use both sides of our brain. The trick is to decide which one it's time to use. "Sway" gives us examples of situations where we should at least consider both sides. Four Stars for a very easy read with very good stories as examples...very similar in style Gladwell.
The book is very short, but entertaining enough in its own way. I didn't hate it, I just don't feel that it lived up to the potential of its subject.
This is a book for everyone, and I highly recommend it in the audio version because the reader is excellent as well. But be forewarned that I found myself sitting in parking lots replaying parts of chapters.
In my opinion, an socio-economic, social-psychological classic. This volume is jam-packed with keen insights about human behavior. Irrational tendencies endure like mold - they grow in the damp darkness of our existence. Ori and Rom Brafman turn the light switch on and examine the realities that are inhabiting the recesses of human perception, judgment and value-attribution. As they point out:
Once we attribute a certain value to a person or thing, it dramatically alters our perceptions of subsequent information. This power of value attribution is so potent that it affects us even when the value is assigned completely arbitrarily." (p. 55)
They go on to illuminate what they refer to as the "diagnosis bias" or:
"our propensity to label people, ideas or things based on our initial opinions of them -- and our inability to reconsider those judgments once we've made them. (p.70).
This work blends into the new thinking that appears to be oozing from the field of macroeconomics from sources like Shiller and Akerlof, as well as the work of Nassim Nicholas Taleb. As the Brafman's write:
"It's all about keeping valuations tentative instead of certain, learning to be comfortable with complex, sometimes contradictory information, and taking your time considering things from different angles before coming to a conclusion." (p.178)
A superb contribution - providing encouragement to those charged with expanding the boundaries of what we think we know -- and the appreciation we must resurrect for exploring the frontiers of the unknown.