Informative and enjoyable to read, but a little superficial

Informative and enjoyable to read, but a little superficial

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions (Paperback)

Customer Review

This book describes a series of experiments that challenge the usual economic assumptions homo economicus, maximizing utility, fully informed, etc. Dan Ariely shows amazing effects:
- An expensive placebo may be more effective than a placebo cheap
- A first impression (read the 10 commandments, or last digits of No. Safely) can sustainably influence our preferences later
- We are particularly sensitive options or free products and to products whose characteristics are readily comparable

However, throughout the book, the same fault recurs regularly. The author states explicitly "rational choice would be this ..."; then it shows that people's behavior differs from that choice; and therefore suggests corrective measures. For example, people tend to disregard certain "resolutions" save, stop smoking, eat less fat. Hence the need to set up an automatic savings on the pay slip, banning smoking in public places, banning trans fats, etc. The problem is that say "this is what would be rational" is a very subjective judgment of value. Saving is good, but consumption has its benefits too; smoking is "cool"; and fries, that's good! Dan Ariely makes judgments of value rather quickly on certain topics. Hence a tendency to draw hasty conclusions just so we would have liked further reflection.

Apart from this a bit annoying aspect, the book provides information that may interest marketing, where the quality perception, comparison, price, etc. are important.

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