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Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions Paperback – 5 Mar 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 213 customer reviews

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  • The True Value of "Free!" Why do we hoard "free!" items we'll never use and forget our diets at all-you-can-eat buffets? Dan Ariely has the answer in this special excerpt from his book Predictably Irrational. [pdf].


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  • Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions
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Product details

  • Paperback: 353 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (5 Mar. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007256531
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007256532
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (213 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

'For anyone interested in marketing - either as a practioner or victim - this is unmissable reading. If only more researchers could write like this, the world would be a better place.' Financial Times

‘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

From the Inside Flap

A marvelous book... thought provoking and highly entertaining."
-Jerome Groopman, New York Times bestselling author of How Doctors Think

"Ariely not only gives us a great read; he also makes us much wiser."
-George Akerlof, 2001 Nobel Laureate in Economics

"Revolutionary."
-New York Times Book Review

Behavioral economist and New York Times bestselling author Dan Ariely offers a much-needed take on the irrational decisions that led to our current economic crisis. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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By Aletheuon TOP 500 REVIEWER on 15 Oct. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an interesting book written from the standpoint of a college lecturer who has conducted psychological and sociological experiments to try to ascertain how far our decisions and choices are rational. He found that we are much less logical and rational than we like to think. For example, we are so influenced by the offer of a free gift that we will buy things that we do not really want or things which are really poor value, in order to get the 'free' item. It is not an academic book; the style is breezy and humorous and it is easy to understand. It does have the academic background of his teaching and research and he expounds the influence of his findings on, for example, economic theory.
This is a book for the thinking person who is interested in extending his understanding of the way the world functions. It isn't pop psychology and it won't change anybody's life. It is a little more serious than that, but it is still a fairly easy and entertaining read. I felt that the writer must be a good teacher and a likeable person.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Economists used to assume that most people made rational decisions but psychologists have proved them wrong. Not only are we irrational, but most of us are irrational in similar ways, hence the title. Even after reading this book, I'd probably still be attracted to a 'free' offer.

Behavioural economics is proving a rich seam for authors, but very few are as entertaining as Dan Ariely. He has an engaging writing style and most of the experiments he recounts are his own, even the delightfully wacky ones, such as giving out free beer or asking young men to complete a questionnaire when sexually aroused. Fortunately, this last one was carried out in the privacy of their own rooms.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed listening to this in the car. It makes long journeys fly by. And it is the type of audio cd you can listen to again and again.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
great book, very fast delivery, condition as described.
will highly recommend both the seller and the book itself - definitely worth a read. explains a lot from the crazy and illogical things that we see or do every day.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Eye opening
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is really a popular psychology book about how we behave and how, as the subtitle puts it, hidden forces influence our everyday decisions. So don't be put off by quotes from businessmen and economists in the blurb. I almost was. But I'm glad I wasn't. This is a neat little book with plenty of nuggets of information and insights that you can put to use immediately. You learn things about yourself and other people that seem so obvious you wonder how you'd never noticed them before and you learn why hunches you've had in the past really are right. Each chapter of this book consists of some simple experiments that are designed to probe a different aspect of our decision-making process e.g. how our expectations affect how we experience things and why too many choices can be unhelpful, to mention just two. The experiments are simple and elegant.

They usually consist of asking two or more differently informed groups of students questions about something. Actually, sometimes the author is a bit vague about the exact experimental conditions, how bias was eliminated from the experiment (particularly with respect to how questions were framed [what language was used] and how the participants were chosen [a few samples were decidedly small]) and how the many variables were isolated and controlled. So in that sense we must take Ariely's word for it. Also, he often vaguely summarises the results of these experiments with words such as "more than" and "most" instead of giving figures. If he were giving a lecture I would have asked him to clarify quite a few points. But all in all I think that this was an interesting book albeit a short one. It is a slim volume and the typeface is quite large. I'm a slow reader and I read it comfortably over two days.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a very enjoyable and interesting read - but I have now read Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow.

Here's the quick comparison:

- Ariely's book is pure pop science. Short, entertaining, 1st person, occasionally irritating anecdotal style, but you quickly get the message. However, if you're reading it now (2012), you may have already heard the same thing elsewhere.
Personal view: I found it too anecdotal, and too lightweight.

- Kahneman's book is the real deal. This is the bible of behavioural economics. Everything you need to know, written with clarity and detail, but also enough stories, short exercises and counterintuitive conclusions to keep you turning the pages.
Personal view: Long and challenging, but very rich and rewarding.
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Format: Hardcover
Although Dan Ariely is a professor of Behavioural Economics and Psychology, his writing style makes Predictably Irrational a pleasure to read, and the book covers a wide range of human behaviours seen through the lens of an experimentalist and his research team's results.

And the results are indeed startling in some cases; I particularly liked his analysis of how price has a real and measurable effect on the placebo effect (until we know the truth about the placebo we've taken!), and his openness to include a reflective discussion into the merits associated with placebo treatments.

Prof. Ariely isn't afraid of tackling the ethical and moral implications of his findings however, and I found myself nodding in agreement, and sometime frowning with stormy thoughts as I tried to grapple with the knock-on effect of what he has so eruditely explained in the book.

He covers a wide range of topics and findings, and I'm already re-reading parts of the book more carefully having gone through once at speed.

This is a great introduction to behavioural psychology, and it fits nicely alongside Chialdini's "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion".
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