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Upside of Irrationality Mass Market Paperback – 31 May 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 334 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Collins USA (31 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062086448
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062086440
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.3 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 547,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Praise for Predictably Irrational:

'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

--Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

From the Back Cover

How can large bonuses sometimes make CEOs less productive?Why is revenge so important to us?How can confusing directions actually help us?Why is there a difference between what we think will make us happy and what really makes us happy?

In his groundbreaking book, Predictably Irrational, social scientist Dan Ariely revealed the multiple biases that lead us to make unwise decisions. Now, in The Upside of Irrationality, he exposes the surprising negative and positive effects irrationality can have on our lives. Focusing on our behaviors at work and in relationships, he offers new insights and eye-opening truths about what really motivates us on the job, how one unwise action can become a long-term bad habit, how we learn to love the ones we re with, and more. The Upside of Irrationality will change the way we see ourselves at work and at home and cast our irrational behaviors in a more nuanced light." --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I quite enjoyed Predictably Irrational, though it wasn't quite what I was expecting. This is a better book, though again in part for unexpected reasons.

First up, it's actually quite a personal book. Part of Ariely's pitch is to remember our humanity, particularly in the face of policymakers who assume we are rational, self-interested maximisers. He draws a bit on his own experiences, in particular the very nasty accident that he suffered as a teenager, to point out where biases kick in and how they affect us. The result is a popular book about behavioural science that has a very human feel to it, and that makes it a nice read.

Secondly, as with Predictably Irrational, Ariely has some genuinely interesting and innovative experiments to talk about. The two most interesting bits of research for me were those about 'pointless' work (for example, how your motivation to build Lego models for pay is affected by seeing them being disassembled while you work) and those about how emotions affect short-term decisions which in turn affect long-term behaviour. In the first case I would say there is something quite useful to learn about motivation, even in respect of basic tasks. In the latter it might just make you think twice about decisions you make.

As always, the drawback in this area is how applicable the experimental evidence is in the real world. Though I don't share the view that actually little from behavioural economics experiments holds true elsewhere, we should be alert to the problem.
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Format: Paperback
I've given this book 5 stars because I read it from cover to cover and learned some useful things. The great benefit of Dan's writing is that he describes his studies clearly, taking a great deal of trouble to make sure you understand them and can imagine what it would have been like to be a subject. He explains the reasons for the studies and discusses what he thinks they mean.

Having read many, many articles in psychology journals describing experiments like this I can say with confidence that Dan's achievement is considerable. Typically, these journal articles are dull, confusing, and without any sense of humanity or humour.

The fact that I disagreed with, or was unconvinced by, most of Dan's conclusions is not important! I was able to make my own analyses without the usual slog of decoding a pile of baffling journals.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are some interesting ideas presented in this book, and some of the arguments are pretty well constructed. I liked that there was enough detail on each of the studies for you to critically look at the claims being made. But the downside of that was that I often found the claims being made didn't fit the evidence very well and some of the studies could have been improved. Tl;dr, it's alright if you don't think too much about how the studies are put together.
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If anything, Professor Ariely’s second book is even better than the first. Starting with ordinary incidents from real life he proceeds to describe his research and gradually the principle in each chapter crystallises. Then he considers the applications of this in various domains. Here are a few of his discoveries:
‘We overvalue our work’ (p. 83). People who were taught origami and shown how to construct paper cranes or frogs, judged their creations as a lot more valuable than other people did. The implications for teachers are huge: project work of all kinds is a lot better than getting students to do endless exercises – the latter are not something they can take pride in, as they feel their contribution is too small (see also: YouTube: Psychology and ELT – The IKEA Effect).
‘Having created something, we want people to see it’ (p. 53). In a fantastic experiment, people told to construct Lego robots lost interest a lot faster when the robots were dismantled as soon as they had completed them than when they were told they would be disassembled later. The moral: although students may get all the linguistic benefits from having their essay/story marked and returned, in terms of motivation it makes a huge difference for us to display it in class (see also: YouTube: Psychology and ELT – The Pursuit of Meaning).
‘We prefer our own ideas to those of others’ (p. 107). In an amazing study, subjects favoured the ideas they had generated themselves, even when it was in fact the researchers who had given them these ideas in sentences a little while earlier! The moral for us is clear: rather than assigning H/W for instance, why not ask the students themselves what they would think it would be best for the class to do? (see also: YouTube: Psychology and ELT – The NIH Bias).
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Format: Paperback
One of the most disturbing aspects of the modern world is how bright and inquisitive children seem to end up losing their innate curiosity as they move through the educational system. I've met many people in their 70s, 80s and 90s who have kept this amazing curiosity but there seems to be a huge gap somewhere between 10 and 60 where knowledge has become an incredible drag. Knowledge seems to be split between being boring but utilitarian or titillating entertainment.

The shear fun of learning is strangely absent in so many books. This book however shows a joyful mind which hunts for the elusive rare beast, an original idea (or even a herd of original ideas)

You learn why you should walk quickly by any notice on a college notice board offering money for some simple tests. The experiments discussed in the book are a delightful mixture of seeing if you're revengeful,motivated by money, have high pain tolerance, trustful etc. At the very least you might end up losing your love for lego. But if your a poor Indian peasant you might end up crying yourself to sleep every night lamenting why you couldn't keep your hand steady and win the big pay off.

Often when I meet people who have kept their childhood curiosity, they have had a difficult path in life. This has forced them to sort the dross, from what is truly important. Perhaps this is why Mr Ariely writes so well. He has faced his own mortality and crawled painfully back from the abyss. He is generous to share his experiences of this time.

But the shear exuberance of his stories, his fondness for his colleagues and his insatiable curiosity bursts forth everywhere in the book. He says he is limited to typing about a page a day, before pain sets in, it is probably this filter that makes his writing so good.
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