Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

By Barath S ( RBG)

Ever thought how many decisions you make each day?

According to a research study published in Environment and Behavior, We make about 3000 decisions  every day ! Yes, you read  right!

For instance, How many decisions did you make about your last meal at a restaurant? If you’re like most people, you probably think just one: what to eat. But if you delve into that experience, many more decisions appear. How much did you serve yourself? Where did you sit down to eat? When did you stop eating? Why did you stop? You tend to make around 200 decisions every day only on food.

We, the humans, cherish the brain for its rational decision making. The past few decades of psychology, sociology and economics are built on this very basic idea – namely rationality. The basic assumption that many of us hold about human nature is a simple and compelling idea that we are capable of making the right decisions for ourselves.

But what if I tell you that we are not only irrational but also Predictably Irrational , that our level of irrationality remains the same . Whether we play roles  of social beings, consumers, businessmen or  policy makers ; it is understanding how we are predictably irrational which provides a starting point for improving our decision making and changing the way we live for the better.

Ever wondered,

Why do we get overexcited when something is FREE!?

Why we so often promise ourselves to follow a strict diet, only to have the thought vanish when the dessert cart rolls by?

Why we still have a headache after taking a Crocin, but why that same headache vanishes when the Crocin costs 50 cents?

Why we sometimes find ourselves excitedly buying things we don’t really need?

Why do we hang on to false beliefs despite evidence to the contrary?

What role do emotions play in our decisions?

How does procrastination play games with us?

What are the functions of our strange social norms?


In case what you’ve read thus far  gets you even a wee bit inquisitive , give this one a go  . The field  involved in setting up the subject matter is called behavioral economics, or judgment and decision making (JDM).

The author , Dan Ariely , met with an accident early on  in his life and the time he spent in hospital led him to observe people and their decision making , motivating him to venture into the field of behavioral economics and somehow this became his life path.

With Predictably Irrational, Ariely seeks to help you fundamentally rethink what makes you and the people around you tick. Describing dozens of field experiments, Ariely explores the phenomenon of people making the same mistakes time and again in predictable ways . The book is medium paced, yet the thoughts and conclusions on display are intriguing. Read the book this weekend  for an insightful and a new perspective on people’s behavior and reasons behind why they do certain things even when it doesn’t seem logical.

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