eBook: Download Predictably Irrational Revised Expanded Decisions ePub (MOBI, PDF) + Audio Version


  • File Size: 1380 KB
  • Print Length: 382 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books; 1 Exp Rev edition (June 6, 2009)
  • Publication Date: June 23, 2009
  • Language: English

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One of the various books available that cover the topic of individual behavior, Predictably Irrational is among the top ten (interested readers should also read Sway by Rom Brafman). Difficult quite an economics book (for a much better analysis of the many failings of neoclassical economics, read Debunking Economics by Keen) and it's not quite a behavioral psychology book (read Sway) so it falls somewhere at the center - and therein lies its main weakness.

There are some very interesting anecdotes (for example, do you know why we think black pearls are valuable when formerly no person wanted to buy them any kind of time price? ) and these are where the majority of the book's value is.

The principal weakness comes from Ariely's conclusions in line with the work he's carried out there. He acknowledges that we humans are " irrational" compared to the hay man of the " rational optimizer" beloved of neoclassical economical theory, while some of his good examples are interesting he fails to see the entire picture. Thus whereas Keen shows that the neoclassical model is computationally impossible, Ariely merely shows that we certainly have different decision-making processes in two distinct contexts: interpersonal and financial. This is valid, but Ariely then goes on to show that this individual hasn't really explored the interpersonal context with any degree of rigor.

A couple of examples will illustrate what I mean. In the first example Ariely talks about how exactly companies strive to create a " social exchange" in the workplace because people generally work harder and more diligently in sociable exchange settings than in compensation-based settings. We could think of how we might continue struggling to get a friend's piano upward the stairs of a narrow apartment building long after we'd have given up if we were simply being paid per hour by a stranger to do the same task. So Ariely notes that companies try to exploit our social aspect in order to get more workout of all of us (he doesn't glance at the values of this attempt, or even at its many infeasibilities). Then he implies that in order to boost the social dynamic and steer clear of corrupting it with the financial dynamic (because a possibility possible to blend the two) companies should not give bonuses but instead should send employees off on a paid-for vacation. The problem, of course, is that most employees may desire to be positioned in a parent-child relationship. Most employees think of themselves as independent adults. Saying " here is a vacation we've arranged for you" violates an employee's independence. Worse still it assumes the employee's plans for their free time are irrelevant (the cost of leaving their home, family, and friends for the duration of the enforced vacation are apparently zero the location where the company is concerned... ). Clearly this recommendation would be disastrous under real-world conditions and one wonders how Ariely failed to think through his proposal.

A second example of this failure to think things through is sold with Ariely's analysis of cap-and-trade. Rightly this individual points out that when you set a price on something (in this situation pollution) then people may elect to pay for more in order to get more. Just as we might only take a single candies from a tray being passed around the group but might buy ten if the candies are being sold, so too might companies pollute less if pollution were a " social good" somewhat than a priced good. With cap-and-trade companies might simply elect to pay for more in order to feel liberated to pollute more. Therefore Ariely proposes making polluting of the environment a " social good. " But again a moment's thought shows this to be absurd. Not really only do we have too many examples of companies being quite happy to pollute when it's a cost-free exercise, Ariely's own book shows that professionals will ignore social factors when their focus in on financial rewards. Since executives are almost specifically motivated by fat financial rewards, the notion that they would take sociable norms into account when deciding whether or not (or how much) to pollute is much like saying that investment bankers would put the needs of their clients and the financial system generally speaking ahead of their own wish for the 0 million bonus they get from pushing CDOs onto unsuspecting dupes.

Therefore in the ending the book is worth reading because of its anecdotal value but not for Ariely's own conclusions or policy suggestions. He's not-quite an economist and not-quite a behavioral psychologist and finally that means he's not-quite useful as a guide to policy formulation on either the micro or the macro scales., It is fascinating how we think our choices are originating from intellect, but they're actually coming from emotion. This book shows how we fool ourselves, thinking we are such rational creatures when in fact, not only are we really not, but in predictable ways. His writing style worked well too hard at being cute, though. It made it a little hard to read sometimes., Predictably Irrational is a well written book that clarifies how humans can be irrational. Dan Ariely gives a background of his history and why he is studying economical behavior. He or she was involved in a serious accident that lead to study economical behavior. He or she realized that his pain would have been avoided if the nurses had taken off his bandage slowly and gradually rather than quickly taking them off. This was one act of irrationality that led Ariely to carry out more research. Dan Ariely discusses different ways humans can be irrational and why they react that way. For example , Dan Ariely discusses the concept of free and how humans do not think plainly when they hear the word free. For example, free shipping and delivery gets people to buy more things and save money money so they can get the free shipping. This here is an example of irrationality but many people do not think they are being irrational when it comes to this concept. You can also get free trials that get people interested in a product or service. Once people are connected and their free trial is up, they are willing to buy the products or services with no hesitation. Ariely presents more experiments on how people are irrational and it is relatable because everyone has done something irrational persistently. It happens every day and Dan Ariely does a good job explaining why people are so irrational , nor believe what they are doing is irrational., Is actually an enjoyable read, and a little bit less of a slog than thinking fast and slower (which i have been 3/4 of the way through for quite some time) Primary strengths are the author's enthusiasm for the subject, very accessible writing style, and ability/willingness to craft and carry out an endless series of somewhat clever experiments. The weaknesses are if he extrapolates his conclusions to complex real world systems of which this individual displays only a " light " knowledge, or when this individual falls into love with his desired conclusion and ignores logical alternatives. There were unable many examples, but if someone lays out an example and attributes the effect to irrationality, and yet doesn't mention or tackle a few clear rationality-based alternatives, it is kind of jarring to the reader. While you are making a case for irrationality, the responsibility of proof is you to demonstrate that none of the rational choices are plausible. In fact , there are one or two behaviors he viewed as irrational i found to be totally rational when looked at in a slightly broader context.

That said, I went to the comments section looking for an intelligent discussion and contrary insights in the results and found mostly nonsense. Saying that his experiments are flawed because they were based solely on western school students is a cheap shot. 1 should always be careful about generalizing lab results to broader populations, but in the context of the book, that is a detail not just a body strike. Saying these products is something 'everybody knows' is as condescending as it is misinformed. Saying his experiments lacked rigor is meaningful when you cite data that contradicts his results, otherwise not so much. I admit not to reading every comment, therefore i probably missed the negative ones that provided any value.

Bottom line - I wish every person with a good point to make experienced Ariely's ability to be able to well. I look forward to published counterpoints on his conclusions to realise a more refined understanding of human conduct.

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