Tag Archives: Predictably Irrational

“The Upside Of Irrationality”, By Dan Ariely

Another gem of a book by author Dan Ariely. I had read his earlier book “Predictably Irrational” sometime back and now he has come up with “The upside of irrationality; The unexpected benefits of defying logic at work and at home”. In this book, once again he explores various irrational forces that are defining our decisions but here he talks about how this irrationality is beneficial for all of us at work and at home. If we were completely rational human beings, working on old economic theory of cost versus benefit, nobody in this world would want to work or help others. But he goes on to prove through short simple experiments that we human beings (as well as animals) want to earn our living. We take pride in what we do. We value our work more than other’s work and we empathise with people when we see them needing our help.

The book also explores the idea of adaptability in mating game played by humans. He shows how people adapt to their own physical limitations and adapt very quickly in selection of their mates that is most likely to give them results. He has gone a bit tangential talking about online dating and how that does not work as an industry and what all needs to be done for that.

His idea that we are able to empathise with single person but fail to understand the misery of millions is thoughtful. This is something that I have also seen in recent past. When “prince” fell down in well, the whole of country was praying for him. But when thousands of people die of malnutrition we fail to rise up to the occasion.

The book is very thought-provoking. Individual examples in the book may or may not apply to all of us but you end up thinking about lot of decisions that we take in our daily life. It is not necessary for all our decisions to be rational but it is important for us to question them and understand the hidden forces that shape our decisions.

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“Predictably Irrational; The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions”, By Dan Ariely

I picked up this book due to its curious title. “Predictably Irrational”, sounded very interesting, even though I had not known about the book or the author Dan Ariely. It turned out to be an amazing book. In a very simple non-preaching style, the author goes on to show us how our behavior and decision-making is irrational and it also can be predicted easily. The book deals with the science of behavioral economics that I had not heard of before but it seems like marketing and advertising companies use it extensively to lure customers to buy their products at unreasonable prices.

The book takes up many different types of factors that affect our decisions as well as our response to situations. I will not be writing about all of them but some of them really stand out. The relativity factor is very visible in all our decision-making once we start to recognize it. We compare everything before making a decision on purchase and more importantly we compare only the easily comparable things and this is used in all the ads that are shown to us. We always get influenced by “Free” and “Sale” symbols without realizing the cost of getting things free.

Whether we believe it or not, our emotions play a great role in decisions that we make. Even though we may hate deadlines but it is a fact that deadlines are crucial to get the work done otherwise the basic human nature is to procrastinate. Of course, there is placebo effect when we are buying something. We judge the value of health care by the price we pay for it.

There are so many examples and experiments that are mentioned in the book to prove the point and that makes it so easy to relate to. This book has opened up a whole new subject for me that is very interesting and key to study of human behavior.

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Filed under Non-Fiction, Self-Help