Summary of The Upside of Irrationality

The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home

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The Upside of Irrationality book summary
Dan Ariely of Predictably Irrational explores the counterintuitive motivations that hinder and assist us all.


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In this sequel to his bestseller, Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely, a professor of psychology and behavioral economics, returns to the how and why of human beings’ inexplicable thought processes. Through a series of telling, small-scale social experiments, he attempts to quantify such unquantifiables as how satisfaction in work becomes nourished or destroyed, how people value their attractiveness and the attractiveness of others, how humans adapt to adverse or positive circumstances, and how to make pleasure more enduring and annoyances less upsetting. Those who read Ariely’s first book might have the context to better appreciate this one, but he doesn’t seem to hold anything back as he explains his traumatic physical injuries and the lessons, both painful and joyous, those experiences wrought. The author’s warm, direct, compassionate tone, and his willingness to share his frustrations and discoveries, lead getAbstract to recommend this insightful, easy-going tour of the irrational side of the human psyche.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How experiments in behavioral economics reveal the mind’s irrational processes
  • How workers attach value to what they do, and why that matters
  • How humans adapt
  • How to understand your own adaptive processes


How the Mind Works
When author Dan Ariely was young, he suffered third-degree burns on much of his body. An infection during his hospitalization led him to develop hepatitis C. As part of an experimental program, he had to inject himself daily with interferon, a drug then under trial. ...
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About the Author

Dan Ariely wrote Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions.

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    Conor Hughes 6 years ago
    How ironic that an author who deals inirrationality should have publishers who don't let subscribers in Africa read this.
    Human beings are indeed odd, and publishers doubly so.

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