The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions
An evaluation of the sources of illogical decisions explores the reasons why irrational thought often overcomes level-headed practices, offering insight into the structural patterns that cause people to make the same mistakes repeatedly.
- Why do our headaches persist after taking a one-cent aspirin but disappear when we take a 50-cent aspirin?
- Why does recalling the Ten Commandments reduce our tendency to lie, even when we couldn't possibly be caught?
- Why do we splurge on a lavish meal but cut coupons to save twenty-five cents on a can of soup?
- Why do we go back for second helpings at the unlimited buffet, even when our stomachs are already full?
- And how did we ever start spending $4.15 on a cup of coffee when, just a few years ago, we used to pay less than a dollar?
When it comes to making decisions in our lives, we think we're in control. We think we're making smart, rational choices. But are we?
In a series of illuminating, often surprising experiments, MIT behavioral economist Dan Ariely refutes the common assumption that we behave in fundamentally rational ways. Blending everyday experience with groundbreaking research, Ariely explains how expectations, emotions, social norms, and other invisible, seemingly illogical forces skew our reasoning abilities.
Not only do we make astonishingly simple mistakes every day, but we make the same types of mistakes, Ariely discovers. We consistently overpay, underestimate, and procrastinate. We fail to understand the profound effects of our emotions on what we want, and we overvalue what we already own. Yet these misguided behaviors are neither random nor senseless. They're systematic and predictable?making us predictably irrational.
From drinking coffee to losing weight, from buying a car to choosing a romantic partner, Ariely explains how to break through these systematic patterns of thought to make better decisions. Predictably Irrational will change the way we interact with the world?one small decision at a time.
Ariely (behavioral economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology) describes the effects of factors such as expectations, emotions, and social norms on human reasoning--such as how a more expensive medicine can seem more effective--and the resulting irrational decisions the mind makes. He explains how to break the pattern and therefore make better decisions. Each chapter is based on an experiment he conducted with colleagues, on topics such as supply and demand, the power of something that is free, the effect of sexual arousal, and procrastination. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
An upbeat cultural evaluation of the sources of illogical decisions explores the reasons why irrational thought often overcomes level-headed practices, offering insight into the structural patterns that cause people to make the same mistakes repeatedly. 150,000 first printing.
From Library Staff
Divided into easily digestible short chapters, the book follows many of Mr. Ariely's entertaining experiments and studies (many using students) to direct us to surprising conclusions about human nature. The Duke professor's personal anecdotes and pithy approach make this an enjoyable and very ins... Read More »
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