Skip to content

Predictably Irrational (by Dan Ariely)

What an absolutely fascinating read!

The author conducts a series of experiments that are both surprising and illuminating, and he presents the findings in a way that is easy to understand and engage with.

He explains how our behaviour is often irrational (even and above all when we think we’re making a rational decision) and how it is influenced by a variety of factors such as our emotions and the way information is presented to us. The book is full of insights and examples that made me think differently about how I make decisions in my own life.

I really liked the author’s sense of humour throughout, which made the book even more enjoyable to read.

Ariely’s field of study is extremely interesting and I was enthralled by the way he delves into the hidden motivations behind our decisions.

This book is a must-read for anyone who is interested in understanding the psychology of decision-making. I loved reading it and I look forward to reading all of Dan Ariely’s books in the future.

In this Ted Talk, Dan Ariely shows how we’re not as rational as we think when we make decisions

Title: Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions
Author: Dan Ariely
Year First Published: 2008

From Goodreads:

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.