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on June 16, 2015
Catalogues common human irrational responses or actions then quantifies the level of irrationality by well designed experiments frequently using university students as the test subjects. An excellent book which develops an understanding of human psychology without using technical jargon. And is a good reference which I consult frequently. Very enjoyable read!! Have recommended the book to all my friends who echo my comments.
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I found this book to be fascinating. Even though this is a scholarly work, it is very readable and easily understood. The finding of Mr. Ariely and his associates are well illustrated by an assortment of simple experiments that were conducted at several well respected Universities.

Before I started reading, I felt that I made quite rational decisions and that I was not unduly swayed by advertising and other outside influences. I now suspect that this might not be true. I was surprised to find how much we are all influenced by our surrounding and those around us.

Whether it affects our decision of how long a magazine subscription to select, whether I need a medication or will a placebo suffice, is a free item really free, or even if we have ordered what we truly desire in a restaurant or did we make our choice so it will be different that everyone else at the table.

I was further surprised to find that even our level of honesty can be influenced by a variety of circumstances.

Mr. Ariely does not leave us without hope. He does assure the reader that he can make rational decisions.

I would highly recommend this book to any who are a student of understanding human nature. Now I am wondering how I can use my new found knowledge to get my children to do what I want them to do without them realizing how much I have influenced their decision.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon January 26, 2015
This entertaining book essentially shows us the many ways that humans do not behave as economists would predict we do. We are not rational but irrational - furthermore we are irrational in predictable ways. Ariely shows us through a series of chapters which essentially distill the results of his and other experiments how this is so. It is not always clear how this is to be made use of, and some of the experiments seem to be little beyond mind games, despite Ariely's scientific protestations.
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on June 9, 2014
I like the author's unique style of experimentation, and the story-telling of the results and what they tell us about how irrational we really are. I have since read another of his more recent books and was equally enthralled.
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on February 7, 2014
Amusing "read" with great insight into human behavior. The audio version is read clearly and adds great character to the book!
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on May 5, 2013
I cannot wait to read the rest of Ariely's publications. I highly recommend this book along with all of Ariely's TEDtalks.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2013
This book is really interesting if you're looking for a unique perspective on market research that doesn't rely on consumer recall.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2013
This book has caused to look at myself, and others, in a totally different way which, at the same time, seems quite familiar. Often it is simple concepts we are unaware of that have the most impact when revealed. This book does that and is definitely a keeper.
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on January 29, 2013
'Predictably Irrational' is a fantastic book! Dan Ariely engages his readers with his highly readable writing style but still manages to cover a very wide array of concepts and biases that play on each and every one of us on a daily basis. From the power of 'free' to the finite nature of self-control to the seemingly irrelevant difference of mere pennies on our decision making (and a host of other topics), Dan takes readers seamlessly idea to idea - making for an eye-opening read that fits nicely on the shelf next to 'Thinking Fast and Slow' and 'Blink'.

The only downside to this book, and those other two mentioned above, is that they really make you aware of just how little control you really have.

This is a great book. Highly recommended to those who want to know more about how we think (or don't think as the case may be).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Many decisions that we make in our daily lives seem quite irrational when analyzed dispassionately and coolly in terms of whether those decisions make any economic sense or are they beneficial to us in some other way. And yet, those irrational decisions are not completely random, but there is some reason to their madness. The part of psychology that deals with this "irrationality" in marketplace is referred to as behavioral economics, and this research field has had a great impact on our understanding of how markets work and has been the major intellectual and empirical driving force away from the idealized rational agents of classical economic theory.

Behavioral economics is also the main subject of this eminently readable and entertaining book. In it the author, Dan Ariely, takes the reader on a tour of various ingenious and insightful psychological experiments that shed some light on the way we make economic decisions. The sorts of experiments described - from drinking various beers at restaurant, selling and buying tickets for a favorite sports team, to cheating in various situations when money or products are at stake - are all very relevant to everyday life. Ariely is also a very engaging writer and the book has a very strong personal feel. However, this overly personal approach can get to be a bit distracting at times. It would have been helpful if the author used examples from other researchers in the field or at least tried to show how his own research fits within some larger picture or framework. As it is, the reader almost gets the impression that Ariely has single-handedly come up with the ideas and concepts that are presented in this book.

Another problem that I have with this book is that it doesn't seem to have a well defined focus, other than the "irrationality" itself. Too many concepts from psychology (priming, placebo, peer pressure, etc.) are conflated and made to seem to be just manifestations of single overarching "irrational" behavior. I would have also liked if the author tried to provide more explanation for why we do act in this seemingly irrational way. A brief description of evolutionary forces that shaped our thinking would have been useful. Many of these "irrational" behaviors certainly must have had some purpose; otherwise we would have become extinct long time ago.

Overall, this is a very well written and entertaining introduction to behavioral economics. It will make you look at your everyday microeconomic decisions in a whole new light.
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