Friday, May 9, 2008

How Illogical

We would all like to imagine that we are reasonable, sensible beings who don't just bee-bop through life without thinking. In his new book, behavioral economist Dan Ariely argues that not only don't we act logically on a consistent basis, but that our illogical behavior follows a pattern. Predictably Irrational: the hidden forces that shape our decisions looks at the ways in which emotion, society, past histories and future expectations influence the way we spend, save, lie, love, value and disregard. This book is a very interesting blend of behavior study and economics principles and it flows along nicely. Unlike many economics books, it is an enjoyable read and packed with real-life examples. In fact, reading this book is very like sitting in on a lecture by a popular and respected college professor (the type of professor whose lectures are so good that non-enrolled students slip into the auditorium to hear them. These people exist). Whether or not reading this book will have any effect on the way you live your life and spend your money, I'm not so sure. But it is a very fascinating study of the way our society and our economy operates. Required reading for anyone involved in marketing or retail, this book would also be great for anyone who enjoyed the runaway bestseller Freakonomics.

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