I had the privilege of taking Dan's class at Duke last fall, where all of us got the chance to read preview copies of Predictably Irrational. Of course, not everyone will get the chance to hear Dan's excellent lectures, but the book does a great job of capturing his wit while providing a wealth of information about why human behavior can be as fallible as it is.
The joy in this material lies in the fact that every few pages you will find yourself smiling because you too have behaved in the irrational manner being described, and now that you look back on it, it's hard to remember why.
Why are we so excited about free stuff, even if we just throw it out later? Do we convince ourselves that an expensive meal will taste better than a cheap one? And why are we motivated to act on some humanitarian disasters, but not others? We all make irrational decisions at times, but this book provides the rare opportunity to reflect on those decisions and observe the behavioral patterns underneath.
If you enjoyed Freakonomics or any of Malcolm Gladwell's writings, you will also enjoy Predictably Irrational. The pace is quick, and nearly every page contains some nugget of surprising information that you'll want to tell your friends. It is more like Freakonomics than Blink or The Tipping Point in that it is structured around experiments, with each chapter covering the results of experiments in a specific area of irrational behavior, the implications for society, and what individuals might do to mitigate it.
It's a hard book to put down, and it's both entertaining and interesting from start to finish. For those who are curious about the world, this might be the ultimate beach or airline reading!