Booklist – Entry 2

As promised in my earlier post I wanted to be more active in continuing my reviews, and this is a book worth the accolades.

In “Predictably Irrational” the author, Dan Ariely, gives us a chance face some of the most astounding incongruities of the human persona.

I couldn’t do all the examples justice but let’s take one of the “classic” observations. Assume you’re given a description of a woman who was politically and environmentally active in college. You even learn that she was arrested once for chaining herself to a tree! Then you’re asked which of these futures she’s most likely to have;

(a) Working in the finance industry as a bank teller

(b) Single parent working as a counselor for battered women

(c) Doing social work

Now I’m not the scientist Dan is but assuming I’ve not completely missed the tone, many, even most, of us might answer option (b) as being the most probable path of our fictious female.

However, if we step back from our human instincts we realize that (b) is actually a more “specific subset” (my words not the authors) of option (c)!! So because of it’s broader categorization picking (c) stands a better chance of being correct but because (b) appeals to our “sense of story” we tend to gravitate towards it being most probable!

Short of recreating the book in a blog post there’s no way I could do these examples and insights justice but if you enjoy learning about how we’re “mislead” (a polite term) as consumers, or why we don’t always make “logical” decisions (though they are as the title suggests “irrational in a predictable manner”) then this is the book for you!

It’s a well written book which has digestible chapters and a story like progression that make it enticingly easy and insightful to read!

About jay

I'm trying to build something interactive where I can learn from others and hopefully share useful knowledge too. thecapacity@gmail.com
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4 Responses to Booklist – Entry 2

  1. jay says:

    Yep Madam LOUP I was indeed reading in the car during one of our road trips! I’ve got another review to write which I liked even better… stay tuned 😉

  2. LOUP says:

    Ok that one is going on the “list” to read as well. But you were a passenger in the moving car on a rainy day when you took that picture right?

  3. jay says:

    Yea, definitely some good insight into designs, but not so much UI.

    One of the other examples was a NYTimes Subscription;
    (a) 1 yr Online including the archive back to 1947 – $50
    (b) 1 yr Print subscription – $150
    (c) 1 yr Print + Online & Archives – $150

    Apparently what happens is that we don’t really know how to rank online (a) vs. print (b) (i.e. is it worth the extra $100) but we do know how to rank (b) and (c) and we know “(c) wins”…

    So we take that “information” into context and it makes (c) look better relative to (a) and studies show people will pick (c) like 68% of the time, but w/o option (b) they’ll only pick it like 18%.

    It that’s a little strange consider 3 trip options;

    (1) Trip to Rome, including lodging and breakfast
    (2) Trip to France including lodging but no meals
    (3) Trip to France including lodging and meals

    The result is that you’d end up being “tempted” to pick France.

    Lots of good stuff in this one.

  4. Definitely sounds like an interesting read. I’ve read about the effect you illustrate somewhere else – I want to say in Black Swan, but I could be way off.

    Any major lessons to be used in design?

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