Book Review: Predictably Irrational

I just finished Dan Ariely’s book Predictably Irrational.  It was a very good read and I recommend it to anyone looking to understand how people think.  The author is a behavior economist and scientist.  Basically, that means he does tests to see how people act in the real world.

For example: How much to people cheat?  Usually they cheat a little, even if they have the opportunity to cheat alot.  If you mention the ten commandments before the exercise, they will cheat alot less.  If you abstract the cheating by 1 level, the cheating skyrockets.  The end result is that you can eliminate alot of corruption in governments by focusing on this abstraction and making the cheating more blunt.

The kinds of insights in the book lead me to believe that we are hard wired to react in predictable, yet irrational ways to many of life’s challenges.  What job do we pick, what friends to do we associate with, what cars do we drive…We are slaves to our subconscious.

This helps with understanding what User Experience Design is.  Our jobs are to understand how people really react to stimulus and to design the system to accentuate the positive outcomes and minimize the negative ones.  his book provided insight into how to test and how to think about this topic.  I enjoyed it very much and give it a strong thumbs up.

2 replies on “Book Review: Predictably Irrational”

I listened to the audiobook version of it and it was definitely good. One of the things that I thought was fascinating was the whole Hershey kiss pricing. When they dropped it from 1 cent to free, it started to waaaay outperform the classy chocolates, even though they were dropped by the same price. Really goes to show you the power of *FREE*.

Whatya think?