Thursday, April 9, 2009

Fun Book to Read by a Behavioral Economist

After many decades, my adviser from The Ohio State University remains my mentor in my work as an independent information specialist and owner of Rosa S. Raskin & Associates, LLC. He recently suggested I read two books. I could not put the book entitled Predictably Irrational authored by Dan Ariely down until I finished reading it.

Ariely is an MIT behavioral economist, holds the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Behavioral Economics, that has conducted many studies regarding how we make decisions. Ariely became interested in the field while a severely burned patient enduring much pain.

His pearls of wisdom include experiments where he illustrates that given three choices, most people take the second choice, that most things are relative, that first decisions turn to long-term habits, and one of my favorites, the value of offering something for "free".

Ariely describes how the realization that we are predictably irrational is a first step in improving our decision making. Ariely uses experiments to illustrate general principles. Some of his research is humorous, a pleasant surprise from a researcher from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, and the book is fun to read.

Ariely's web site related to the book is

I highly recommend this book to the consumer, to business owners like me, and to anyone wanting to understand human behavior in regard to the hidden forces that influence our decisions.

In our current economic climate, I consider this engaging and entertaining book a must read!

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