Thursday, June 26, 2008

What We're Reading: Predictably Irrational

To err is human. You may find yourself making the same mistakes over and over again. In this way we are all sometimes irrational...but predictably so. Is it possible to change if we recognize the patterns we fall into? In his book Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely discusses the many ways we fall into economic or social traps. He does this primarily by describing experiments and putting those results in context for everyday situations. I can say that after reading this book you might continue your irrational behavior, as I did when I gave in to a coupon with the word FREE even after being less than enthralled with the gelato samples. However, at least you can catch yourself and try not to be so weak willed in the future, eh? One can hope.

In this book, you will find out why it's easier to be dishonest when money isn't involved (i.e. taking 10 cents from petty cash at the office seems a far more serious crime than bringing a pen home). You'll find out why placebos are so surprisingly effective, and why a more expensive medication, sadly, seems to make you feel better. You'll find out which actually tastes better...Coke or Pepsi. You'll learn all about ordering at a restaurant, and why you should definitely be the first to ask for your favorite entree. You'll find out how to appear more attractive to people when at a party (it's all in who you invite). All this will be revealed, and much more. (Readers beware: one chapter has content of a sexual nature.)

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