Friday, August 29, 2008

Predictably Irrational

When I took my first economics class, one of the first things they taught us the laws of supply and demand. I just didn't get it. I didn't really believe that that is how economics worked. I was willing to accept it as a theory for purposes of the rest of the lessons, and over time, I just let it go without actually trying to delve into a better theory. I eventually switched my major from business to psychology. Even classes such as organizational behavior rubbed me the wrong way.

Now I learn that there is a new (to me) field of research called behavioral economics, and it makes so much sense. People don't analyze the costs and benefits of doing things, and don't always pick the things that would yield the best results if they did.

Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely tells us about "the hidden forces that shape our decisions". This book, which I have finished reading, explains that people do things that are irrational, and that those irrational acts are predictable. It is written for the common person and my cover says that this book is a New York Times Best Seller. He is a professor who has conducted many experiments to see how people act in different situations, and come up with conclusions that you would not normally expect. This is the kind of stuff I imaged doing when I was a college student.

I highly recommend this book. I should make a list of these lessons so I remember them when the appropriate time comes, so I can act a little less irrationally.

1 comment:

Elaine Adair said...

Predictably irrational! What a phrase - and perfectly reasonabl! I've been thinking this for years, but never put it into words.

My DH is all black and white and we get into such arguments because I am always the devils advocate, trying to explain all the 'in-betweens' and possibilities. I will look for this book! Thanks muchly for the tip!!!!