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Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions (2009) Dan Ariely

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our DecisionsI’ll be honest–I have listened to this book several times. Unfortunately, because it’s non fiction, I’d get distracted and so the ends of chapters and the end of the book? (I retained next to nothing.) (Why the ends of chapters? Because when I’d stop and restart, I’d go to the beginning of my current chapter because I didn’t quite remember the end of the previous chapter. Rinse. Repeat.)

So I decided to finally read the book, because there is a lot here that I think is incredibly important, and I really wanted to understand.

The premise of the book is that–contrary to our own beliefs about ourselves–we are irrational creatures. We quite often fail to do things that are in our own best interests. However, our irrationality is predictable–researchers can guess with a high degree of accuracy just how illogically we will act.

The reason this is important is because it affects absolutely everything in our lifes.

Consider the price we are willing to pay for an item.

high-priced entrées on the menu boost revenue for the restaurant— even if no one buys them. Why? Because even though people generally won’t buy the most expensive dish on the menu, they will order the second most expensive dish.

Why we make the choices we do.

if you want to go bar-hopping, you should consider taking along someone who looks similar to you but who is slightly less attractive than you are. Because of the relative nature of evaluations, others would perceive you not only as cuter than your decoy, but also as better-looking than other people in the bar.

How we believe we are being rational, but are ruled by our passions–far more than we could believe we might be.

every one of us, regardless of how “good” we are, underpredicts the effect of passion on our behavior. In every case, the participants in our experiment got it wrong. Even the most brilliant and rational person, in the heat of passion, seems to be absolutely and completely divorced from the person he thought he was. Moreover, it is not just that people make wrong predictions about themselves— their predictions are wrong by a large margin.

Why we refuse to back down, even when we are wrong.

Once we take ownership of an idea— whether it’s about politics or sports— what do we do? We love it perhaps more than we should. We prize it more than it is worth. And most frequently, we have trouble letting go of it because we can’t stand the idea of its loss. What are we left with then? An ideology— rigid and unyielding.

our investment in our beliefs is much stronger than any affiliation to sport teams, and so we hold on to these beliefs tenaciously. Thus the likelihood of agreement about “the facts” becomes smaller and smaller as personal investment in the problem grows.

Even how the justice system treats criminals.

In 2004, the total cost of all robberies in the United States was $ 525 million, and the average loss from a single robbery was about $ 1,300.19 These amounts are not very high, when we consider how much police, judicial, and corrections muscle is put into the capture and confinement of robbers— let alone the amount of newspaper and television coverage these kinds of crimes elicit. I’m not suggesting that we go easy on career criminals, of course. They are thieves, and we must protect ourselves from their acts.

But consider this: every year, employees’ theft and fraud at the workplace are estimated at about $ 600 billion.

We are not rational beings, and it behooves us to know and understand this.

Publisher: HarperCollins e-books

Rating: 8.5/10

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