Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Book Review: The Upside of Irrationality

Dan Ariely develops the most fascinating psychological and behavioral economic experiments and makes them extremely interesting to read about. His book The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home is a quantum leap beyond his previous book Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions.

Ariely's latest book covers such areas as what makes workers happy and sad, why people seek revenge and how it can affect them from an economic standpoint, and the long term effects of short term emotions. In the chapter On Adaption, he discusses whether it is advantageous to take breaks during activities you don't like. What do you think? He says "You may think that taking a break during an irritating or boring experience will be good for you, but a break actually decreases your ability to adapt, making the experience seem worse when you have to return to it. When cleaning your house or doing your taxes, the trick is to stick with it until you are done." Now do you think that taking a break from pleasurable experiences is a god or bad idea? Read the chapter to find out, and to find out why.

The two interesting and amusing chapters were Hot or Not? Adaption, Assortative Mating and the Beauty Market and When a Market Fails: An Example from Online Dating.

Ariely had a really rough life from a physically standpoint, and he shows how his life experience affected his interests, his profession, and his research.

If you need a good non-fiction read that will hold your attention, check out The Upside of Irrationality.

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