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The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home 1st Edition
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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From Publishers Weekly
Ariely (Predictably Irrational) expands his research on behavioral economics to offer a more positive and personal take on human irrationality's implications for life, business, and public policy. After a youthful accident left him badly scarred and facing grueling physical therapy, Ariely's treatment required him to accept temporary pain for long-term benefit—a trade-off so antithetical to normal human behavior that it sparked the author's fascination with why we consistently fail to act in our own best interest. The author, professor of behavioral economics at Duke, leads us through experiments that reveals such idiosyncrasies as the IKEA effect (if you build something, pride and sentimental attachment are likely to give you an inflated sense of its quality) and the Baby Jessica effect (why we respond to one person's suffering but not to the suffering of many). He concludes with prescriptions for how to make real personal and societal changes, and what behavioral patterns we must identify to improve how we love, live, work, innovate, manage, and govern. Self-deprecating humor, an enthusiasm for human eccentricities, and an affable and snappy style make this read an enriching and eye-opening pleasure. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
In Predictably Irrational (2008), Ariely explored the reasons why human beings frequently put aside common sense and why bad things often happen when they do. Here, in this equally entertaining and clever follow-up, Ariely shows us the other side of the irrationality coin: the beneficial outcomes and pleasant surprises that often arise from irrational behavior. Although pleasant should be taken as a relative term, since the outcomes are not necessarily pleasant for the person who was behaving irrationally. Take, for example, Thomas Edison’s obsession with DC current, and his irrational hatred of AC: trying to prove how dangerous AC was, he inadvertently—with his development of the electric chair—demonstrated to the world how powerful it could be. Ariely is an engaging and efficient writer, amusing us with stories about irrational behavior while staying away from needless technical terminology and bafflegab. Thought-provoking, entertaining, and smart: a winning combination. --David Pitt
Top customer reviews
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This is a great book. Very well written, simple, in a conversational style (just like how he talked in the videos). Each chapter starts with an anecdote, then talks about theories and experiments, and usually contains more anecdotes from his/ colleagues/ friends' personal lives. Over all you get a pleasant feeling reading this stuff - nothing dry and boring about it - and it all makes sense and is logically explained. If you enjoy reading about behaviour and people, this is a good choice.
I liked the first part of the book better than the second part. Maybe that's because part 1 was about companies and interactions with others and that's an area I like better.
If you are after a book thats to the point and doesn't waste time, this is not for you. Like I said, the author goes on with anecdotes and personal experiences and so you got to be in a mindframe to enjoy these too. I enjoyed all that, plus all the experiements and their result and his discussion on them, so it's all 5 stars for me!
I thought his weakest chapter was the ninth one (On Empathy and Emortion: Why We Respond to One Person Who Needs Help but Not to Many) because I think he left out some rather obvious points: 1) The reason an individual is more likely to give to someone they know or someone close by over someone in a distant country may be that he/she is understanbly worried that his contribution could be wasted: he/she may donate money towards a local child's surgery, because he can better monitor how the money is spent --if the child's family suddenly buys a new Mercedes, he would know about it -- if he contributes aid to the poor in a third-world dictatorship, he may justifiably be concerned that the money may be used to line a corrupt government offical's pocket.
Likewise when Ariely discusses how people are reluctant to make small changes to prevent global warming, he doesn't consider that it's hard for people to take it too seriously when the average person (whether they use mercury-laden CFLs or not) has a much smaller carbon footprint simply by living in a smaller house and flying commerical airlines than Al Gore who owns mansions and who flies around in private jets, or the Obamas who use Airforce One to fly to a Chicago Pizzaria -- if they don't take their carbon footprints seriously then why should we?
As a whole, this is a great, easy to read book. Ariely uses just the right amount of personal anecdotes, making the book neither too dry nor too confessional. For what it's worth, one also gets the impression that Ariely is personally a nice guy, quite humble. I love the way that he makes reference to other chapters in the book, because he assumes that not everyone reads his work cover-to-cover.