Sunday, November 27, 2011

Review: Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

Title: Predictably Irrational
Author: Dan Ariely
Genre: Non-fiction, Psychology, Social Science
Release Date: February 19, 2008
Publisher: Harper Collins
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 280
Links: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Bookdepository
Read from November 18 - 31, 2011
My rating: 5 stars: I love it! It's amazing!
Summary: How do we think about money? What caused bankers to lose sight of the economy? What caused individuals to take on mortgages that were not within their means? What irrational forces guided our decisions? And how can we recover from an economic crisis? Blending common experiences and clever experiments with groundbreaking analysis, Ariely demonstrates how expectations, emotions, social norms, and other invisible, seemingly illogical forces skew our reasoning abilities. As he explains, our reliance on standard economic theory to design personal, national, and global policies may, in fact, be dangerous. The mistakes that we make as individuals and institutions are not random, and they can aggregate in the market—with devastating results. In light of our current economic crisis, the consequences of these systematic and predictable mistakes have never been clearer.

Predictably Irrational first came to my knowledge about three years ago. It was featured in the New Release section of a magazine I was reading at the time (I don't remember which). And although it's been a long time since then, the name of this book's been kept particularly well in my head, for some reasons I can't explain.

I don't usually read non-fiction books, except for the ones on philosophy, psychology, and mythology (my areas of interests). And though I hadn't really had that high an expectation on this book, it ended up blowing me away. Seriously.

I remember that the Introduction part of this book is somewhat long. About 23 pages, I suppose. I was totally absorbed in it since Ariely's first sentence. His writing flows so smoothly and flawlessly, making the reading as enjoyable as can be. There was never a moment when I pause and think the writing sucks, which happens all too often with books I've read lately. His life story is also interesting. I remember feeling some respect for him when I read about his accident and the burns and his being hospitalized. Although this really had nothing to do with the book, it kind of made me feel like this man must be a tough and strong and nice and awesome person.
I love how this book is full of interesting questions, and how every one of them is answered. I love how Ariely has done a lot of researches and they are mentioned in this book to illustrate and prove certain ideas. And these ideas are nothing too distant from us people. They concern our decision-making and behaviors that are predictably irrational. Like how "FREE!" can have a huge effect on us and blind us from really seeing the big picture. The things about money and social behaviors in this book are extremely interesting. I also have to admit that in some cases I am one of those people, though in some, I am not. I like to think that I've learned some things about myself and people around me (such as my mom) from this book. And I really do feel like I'm somewhat wiser with decision-making now, or maybe that's just my wishful thinking. 

I do love this book. And I also know that this review sucks. But I'm sorry, I'm really not good at reviewing non-fictions. But let me tell you, this book is very thought-provoking and it can make you look up and think about what you just read and go oh my gosh! or whoa! or really? who'd have known! or even THAT'S SO ME! It's highly entertaining as well. I didn't ever get bored by this book. Therefore, yes, 5 stars!


This review is also posted on Goodreads.

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