Predictably Irrational

July 7, 2008 at 4:21 pm 2 comments

You know when you read a book (or watch a film for that matter), and as you approach the end you feel a sense of sadness, because you know the experience is almost over? Well, I just finished Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational” and yeah, that’s how I felt. Basically: Best. Book. Ever.

As you might have noticed, besides my interest in marketing, I am also fascinated by psychology and sociology. Anything about how we behave and why we behave as we do is just great stuff.

The last book I read that was as compelling and completely absorbing was Dan Gilbert’s Stumbling on Happiness (which, besides being brilliant, was also surprisingly funny).

Both books deal with our lack of knowledge/self-awareness with respect to our own decision making. Stumbling on Happiness discussed our inability to successfully assess what would make us happy in the future, while Predicitably Irrational dealt with irrationality of our decision-making and how predictable (scientifically)/consistent these strange responses are.

P/I through clear, non-clinical and engrossing writing describes behavioral economics’ experiments conducted by the author’s (and references a few of others’).

My only complaint about the book is its negative influence on my productivity: I had a difficult time focusing on work today – all I wanted to do was immerse myself in the related blog and podcasts….

P.S. Here’s a hilarious example from his blog. In one chapter of the book he discusses the tremendous influence “Free” has on our behavior (basically, that people will take things they want less for free and experience less satisfaction, rather than miss the “Free” opportunity. This article from the New York Times elaborates on that topic.) Here Ariely shows a fantastic bonus offer from a Brothel…. “Hmmm, I was only planning on getting 2hrs worth of sexual services, but when they throw in a free gas card, ‘cmon, I could go for 3…, no? Sure – pass the Viagra.”

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Warming My Cockles Yeah, I wish

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