Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions is the only economics book that didn’t make me feel like I was in over my head when I was reading it. The idea behind it is that although basic economic theory assumes that people will always make rational decisions, behavioral economics shows otherwise. These conclusions are backed by data, and I enjoyed reading about each experiment performed for the data gathering. I liked that the book focused on economic decisions, so the discussions were geared towards business applications. (It’s harder to appreciate topics that are too general.)

The icing on the cake is that Ariely is a great narrator. He comes off as someone personable and genuinely curious that I feel like I’m listening to (or reading from) an excited friend talking about his discoveries and not some uptight dude showing off that he knows more than I do. However, since the book was published more than ten years ago, some of the references are no longer familiar to the mainstream. (Do people even remember the time when BlackBerry was all the rage?)

On that note, I did read the revised and expanded edition, which had additional notes from Ariely since the book’s original publication. I liked the additional insights and the anecdotes from his correspondents. Nevertheless, the concepts presented in the book are timeless, and Predictably Irrational was still a worthwhile read in 2021.

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