Why do our headaches persist after taking a one-cent aspirin but disappear when we take a 50-cent aspirin?
Why does recalling the Ten Commandments reduce our tendency to lie, even when we couldn't possibly be caught?
Why do we splurge on a lavish meal but cut coupons to save twenty-five cents on a can of soup?
Why do we go back for second helpings at the unlimited buffet, even when our stomachs are already full?
And how did we ever start spending $4.15 on a cup of coffee when, just a few years ago, we used to pay less than a dollar?
When it comes to making decisions in our lives, we think we're in control. We think we're making smart, rational choices. But are we?
In a series of illuminating, often surprising experiments, MIT behavioral economist Dan Ariely refutes the common assumption that we behave in fundamentally rational ways. Blending everyday experience with groundbreaking research, Ariely explains how expectations, emotions, social norms, and other invisible, seemingly illogical forces skew our reasoning abilities.
Not only do we make astonishingly simple mistakes every day, but we make the same types of mistakes, Ariely discovers. We consistently overpay, underestimate, and procrastinate. We fail to understand the profound effects of our emotions on what we want, and we overvalue what we already own. Yet these misguided behaviors are neither random nor senseless. They're systematic and predictable—making us predictably irrational.
From drinking coffee to losing weight, from buying a car to choosing a romantic partner, Ariely explains how to break through these systematic patterns of thought to make better decisions. Predictably Irrational will change the way we interact with the world--one small decision at a time.
'A marvelous book that is both thought provoking and highly entertaining, ranging from the power of placebos to the pleasures of Pepsi. Ariely unmasks the subtle but powerful tricks that our minds play on us, and shows us how we can prevent being fooled.' Jerome Groopman, New York Times bestselling author of How Doctors Think 'PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL is wildly original. It shows why--much more often than we usually care to admit--humans make foolish, and sometimes disastrous, mistakes. Ariely not only gives us a great read; he also makes us much wiser.' George Akerlof, Nobel Laureate in Economics, 2001 Koshland Professor of Economics, University of California at Berkeley 'Dan Ariely is one of the most original and consistently interesting social scientists I know. His research covers an unusually broad range of topics, and in every one of them he has produced some distinctive findings and ideas. His methodological inventiveness is remarkable.' Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize in Economics, 2002 "Predictably Irrational is a charmer -- filled with clever experiments, engaging ideas, and delightful anecdotes. Dan Ariely is a wise and amusing guide to the foibles, errors, and bloopers of everyday decision-making." -- Daniel Gilbert, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University and author of Stumbling on Happiness "Predictably Irrational is going to be the most influential, talked-about book in years. It is so full of dazzling insights -- and so engaging -- that once I started reading I couldn't put it down." -- Daniel McFadden, Nobel Laureate in Economics, 2000 Morris Cox Professor of Economics, University of California at Berkeley "Dan Ariely's ingenious experiments explore deeply how our economic behaviour is influenced by irrational forces and social norms. In a charmingly informal style that makes it accessible to a wide audience, Predictably Irrational provides a standing criticism to the explanatory power of rational egotistic choice." -- Kenneth Arrow, Nobel Laureate in Economics 1972, Professor of Economics Stanford University. "A delightfully brilliant guide to our irrationality -- and how to overcome it - in the marketplace and everyplace." -- Geoffrey Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm and Dealing with Darwin "After reading this book, you will understand the decisions you make in an entirely new way." -- Nicholas Negroponte, founder of MIT's Media Lab and founder and chairman of the One Laptop per Child non-profit association. "This entertaining yet brilliant book helps us recognize the foibles that underlie the decisions we make in our life -- large and small, profound and banal. More than just pointing our mistakes, Ariely helps us understand and appreciate the complex beauty of human nature. It's nothing less than a witty survival manual for the early 21st century." -- David A. Ross Director emeritus, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Director emeritus, Whitney Museum of American Art "Dan Ariely is a genius at understanding human behaviour: no economist does a better job of uncovering and explaining the hidden reasons for the weird ways we act, in the marketplace and out. Predictably Irrational will reshape the way you see the world, and yourself, for good." -- James Surowiecki, author of The Wisdom of Crowds "Predictably Irrational is a solidly scientific, eminently readable, and remarkably insightful look into why we do what we do every day ! and why it's so hard to change, even when we 'know better.'" -- Wenda Harris Millard, President, Media, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia "One of the best books this year, or any year. A towering contribution that helps us better understand how much un-thinking we do most of the time, and how to counteract it. Everyone who has to make decisions (and has to deal with decisions of others) must read this book." -- Alan Kay, President of Viewpoints Research, winner of the Turing, Draper, and Kyoto Prizes