Friday, February 11, 2011

Book #5 - Predictably Irrational

I picked up Predictably Irrational on a recommendation from a speaker a few months ago and while it started slow, it grabbed my interest and really made me think.

The book is written by an MIT professor that suspects that the "rational man", the basis for much of economic theory, is in fact, not true. He presents an interesting case, in a variety of ways in which we make economic decisions, have social interactions, and even our honesty can change depending on circumstances.

At times I felt their low cost experiments, many of which were based on college students' behavior, were simplistic, and not necessarily applicable to the rest of society. However the more I read it, and thought about the results and the implications of extrapolating the data, the more I think that this book does help to understand why the rational man might not be a good model for behavior. I don't know that you can apply the results to all situations, but you can use the results to understand why someone might not behave in their own self-interest. And how you might find yourself influenced by the initial price you see, the setting, or some other factor.

I don't know if I can change my behaviors, but I think I might be more aware of them after reading this book. It's definitely one that will stick with me for a long time.

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