The Upside of Irrationality

The Upside of Irrationality

The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home

Book - 2010
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"Dan Ariely is a genius at understanding human behavior: no economist does a better job of uncovering and explaining the hidden reasons for the weird ways we act." -- James Surowiecki, author of The Wisdom of Crowds

Behavioral economist and New York Times bestselling author of Predictably Irrational Dan Ariely returns to offer a much-needed take on the irrational decisions that influence our dating lives, our workplace experiences, and our temptation to cheat in any and all areas. Fans of Freakonomics, Survival of the Sickest, and Malcolm Gladwell's Blink and The Tipping Point will find many thought-provoking insights in The Upside of Irrationality.

Publisher: New York : Harper, c2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780061995033
Branch Call Number: 153.4 ARI
Characteristics: xi, 334 p. : ill. ; 24 cm


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ArapahoeSarah Mar 06, 2017

I enjoyed the concepts and experiments in this book. The title seemed slightly confusing because it seemed as if a lot of the examples in this book underscored how irrationality is detrimental for humans. However, it is good to see why irrational behavior might occur (one example from the book is why humans will often donate more money to one individual as opposed to a large group of people in a distant country).

Apr 21, 2014

I'm almost always more impressed by the creativity of the experiments invented by researchers than I am by the conclusion, and this book is no exception: the conclusions are fairly mainstream - we are much more irrational in our decision-making than we like to think we are. The value of the book comes from how researchers were able to validate that in a variety of ways and under a myriad of circumstances.
Ariely's use of humour and his honesty about his own decisions and how his past informed them give the book a personal appeal which makes it easy to read and sometimes down-right fun.
This book will probably not change my own decision-making process, but it will make me a bit more aware of the influences around me and how my state of mind is a key player in my decision-making process. An informative and entertaining read.

unbalancedbutfair May 14, 2012

Some important points written in an understandable manner to the layman without watering them down so far that they are useless. Worth reading. I learned several things I didn't know, and the author blends data with humor in a pleasing manner.

Nov 08, 2010

Some common-sense pop psychology backed by some very interesting experiments. I didn't enjoy the anecdotal experiences of the author - they felt like filler. And there really doesn't seem to be an upside to irrationality - only an upside to recognizing and dealing with irrational human traits.

Sep 27, 2010

Understanding the forces that drive our actions can help us to make better decisions in our lives. Ariely's advice is to "Ask questions. Explore. Turn over rocks. Question your behaviour, that of your company, employees, and other businesses, and that of agencies, politicians and governments." Enquiring minds unite!

Sep 23, 2010

The Upside of Irrationality is Ariely's sequel to Predictably Irrational and it continues with the same premise set out in the initial book. Ariely sets up scenarios about our seemingly inane ability to be irrational, devises some experiments to test his hypotheses, then describes the results. With his blend of light and serious messages and some (predictably) rational explanations, he extrapolates the results and tells us why we are very often as irrational as rats (a true animal experiment described in the book, venture a guess for the most rational animal?).
The interesting aspect of both books is the description of the experiments and how we relate to them. There is a particular fascination in guessing how the experiment will conclude and to then find out that it does not, irrationally so.
In it, amongst many of our irrational behaviours, we learn why one would quit an extremely well paying job if it is not fulfilling , why cake mixes failed miserably when first introduced, why we fail to observe change when we are immersed in an environment that gradually changes (and, yes, the frog does indeed boil to death slowly) and why it would be so supremely satisfying for severely penalizing the (primarily US) banks for having caused the recent mess in the global economy. But, is revenge a dish best served cold?
Although the book is not as expansive as the first, it is still an excellent read. Lest your irrationality drown your rationality, read this book for more keen insights into our human foibles.

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