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BR 104: Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

Category: 2 – BUY it! (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments: We are going through a golden age in understanding human behavior. And Dan Ariely’s research and book are definitely at the forefront of this shift in understanding. A very good book.

Top 3 Learnings:

1. Conventional economics assumes we make logical rational decisions when, in reality, we exhibit repeated predictable irrationality.

2. I was astounded at some of the research on the placebo effect i.e. when medical treatments were substituted with ‘fake’ treatments that had equal (if not better) effect in terms of patient well being because the patients thought they had  been treated.

3. While the ability to choose gives us some happiness, choices do not. In fact, choices are amongst the biggest causes of unhappiness that exist.

Fascinating book. I’m well into my journey into modern behavioral economics and understanding. If  I had begun my journey with this book it would have been priority 1. A great book nevertheless. It will keep you intrigued and entertained..

2 thoughts on “BR 104: Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

  1. Yes, the concept of “rational actors!”  Yes, I have a masters degree in political science and my adviser was Jacek Kugler (
    http://www.cgu.edu/pages/477.asp) and my thesis was based upon an application of expected utility theory (Organski, Bueno de Mesquita); lets just say he still remembers me after all these years!  

    Shocking to realize that man is not always rational nor logical; with your engineering background that probably comes as quite a surprise!  

    Just remember, at one time it was totally rational to believe the world was flat and in all honesty that was not that long ago….


    1. So true, Carl. Couldn’t agree more.

      While I did get an Engineering degree, I think my brain is more non engineering than engineering. I guess I did feel the irrationality..

      But the extent, of course, more than surprised me! :-)


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