Boktips v38 – Predictably Irrational

Boktips v38

Titel: Predictably irrational
Författare: Dan Ariely
Förlag: Harper Collins USA
Utgivningsår: 2010

To give a more personal touch to our Friday book club we’ve decided to from now on introduce books which influenced us on our professional journey and/or personal self-fulfilment. This week we present an unquestionably great book recommended by our marketing coordinator, Lilla.

Passion for behavioral economics

All classic economic theories are based on the assumption that consumers behave rationally, despite a considerable body of evidence to the contrary. It is only in the last 25 years that economists have begun to investigate the irrational side of consumer behavior. This field of investigation, which started with the pioneering work of Tversky and Kahneman, is usually referred to as behavioral economics.

When I was studying marketing and economics one of my favorite topics was judgment and decision-making, which dealt in large part with the kinks in the human mind that could lead us to irrational behavior and decisions. Why are you likely to pay more for something if you are shown a large number completely unrelated to the price? Why do people who read words like ”elderly” or ”senior” tend to walk more slowly when they get up and leave the room? Why does losing a dollar cause us more pain than gaining a dollar gives us pleasure? Why are we more likely to buy a product we’re not even shopping for or don’t even need if we’re given a free sample? And, perhaps most importantly, how do people in the know –people like advertisers, politicians, and psychology graduate students– use these ideosycracities to subtly manipulate us?

These are the kinds of questions that Ariely, a professor at MIT, discusses under the rubric of ”behavioral economics.” Each chapter is dedicated to a particular concept, like the anchoring effect, priming, social norms, supply and demand, procrastination, loss avoidance, the effects of price on perception, and the like. Ariely usually chats you up a bit about the concept, then walks you through a scenario or hypothetical situation that invites you to make predictions about human behavior, then comes at you with some findings from scientific research (often experiments that he’s done himself) that turns your assumptions on their little figurative ears.

My goal, by the end of this book, is to help you fundamentally rethink what makes you and the people around you tick. I hope to lead you there by presenting a wide range of scientific experiments, findings, and anecdotes that are in many cases quite amusing. Once you see how systematic certain mistakes are—how we repeat them again and again—I think you will begin to learn how to avoid some of them.

Dan Ariely

Predictably Irrational which is one of the demonstrates how irrationality manifests itself in situations (often very peculiar and hilarious) where rational thought is expected. In this astounding book, groundbreaking in scope and totally original, Dan Ariely cuts to the heart of our strange behaviors and presents outstanding material that will keep every reader transfixed. He explains why honor codes are actually effective in reducting dishonesty in the workplace, why a 50-cent aspirin can cure a headache that a one-cent aspirin cannot, and, ultimately, why we make decisions contrary to our better judgement. Predictably Irrational will help readers make better choices in their personal lives, their business lives, and about our collective welfare. Source: Adlibris

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