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on 14 July 2016
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).
‘Short-term emotions can have long-term effects’ (p. 257). Here is how it works: we may be angry with our partner one day; we go to class; we snap at the students and we are unusually strict with them; the lesson is a failure. Later we reflect on the experience. Are we honest with ourselves? Of course not! Instead we try to justify our behaviour telling ourselves that we displayed the necessary firmness. But this ‘narrative’ actually impacts on our future behaviour; next time we are far more likely to be strict again! (A clear warning to all of us there... - see also: YouTube: Psychology and ELT – Emotions).
OK – here is my favourite, discovery: ‘habituation: we get used to things’ (p. 157). And now for the amazing, counter-intuitive implication for maximising satisfaction: ‘Pleasant activities – break them up; unpleasant ones – just get them over with’! So tell your partner, it makes sense to stop that massage every 2 min or so and then start all over again! :-)
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on 18 July 2016
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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on 22 February 2015
This is a great book written in a very humble and down to earth way. We are shown how biases influence our behaviour and way of thinking. The author has been severely injured in his youth this is very regrettable but he has learnt so much by it and we learn with him. He looks at us and himself in an uncompromising way with humour and great empathy.
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on 17 November 2017
Badly written, full of irrelevant (and confusing) details. The main points are good, but obscured by irritating stories. He can do much better. This book is a big disappointment, sadly.
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on 9 December 2013
This book is just fascinating, and totally made me start thinking about things in another way. Although he does approach things from a "behavioural economics" angle, his language and manner are so engaging, even for those of us who would never claim to be an economist in a million years! Who would have thought that lego and Ikea could help explain our behaviour so well?!
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on 23 September 2017
The book was as good as described. Thank you
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on 20 January 2016
dan ariely is an exceptional academic and writes with a very personable, relatable, and easy-to-read style. so much good information in this book.
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on 10 August 2017
Amazing book filled with lots of ahaha moments and new ways to think about the way we think and act
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on 19 January 2016
all good
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on 7 September 2013
Excellent, intelligent material, with plenty of insights that can be turned into practical action in a range of different fields.
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