Summary of Predictably Irrational

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Predictably Irrational book summary


9 Overall

9 Applicability

8 Innovation

9 Style


This is surely one of the decade’s best books on decision making, economics, psychology and behavior – because it touches all of those topics. Author Dan Ariely is a distinguished academician, but his style is so clear, accessible and straightforward that he does not seem to belong to academia at all. Although he recounts numerous experimental procedures and discoveries, he never bogs the reader down in technical minutiae or jargon. Moreover, he provides a clear connection to the reader’s life with every account. The book is eminently practical and stretches beyond the boundaries even of the several sciences in his research. At times, themes from spiritual and philosophical literature resonate in the text. getAbstract believes reading this book can help anyone make more conscious decisions – no matter what those decisions are about, from setting a corporate strategy to finding a date to just choosing what brand of soda to buy.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why people behave in a “predictably irrational” way
  • What the consequences of that behavior can be
  • What you can do about your own predictably irrational decision making – and why you should do it

About the Author

Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University, with appointments at the Fuqua School of Business, the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and the Department of Economics. He is a visiting professor at MIT’s Media Lab.



Lessons in Irrationality
Author Dan Ariely was 18 when an explosion burned him so severely that he was confined to a hospital for three years. Cut off from friends and normal routines, he began to observe and reflect upon behavior – his own and that of others. He suffered extreme pain...

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    Stefan Szo 5 years ago
    Why can't I listen on iOS?
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    Laura ter Horst 8 years ago
    It is crazy how the mind can impact our performance. I wonder if watching a professional tennis player right before playing will increase my game? Or does this theory only apply to characteristics already inherent within me?
    Also, Ariely suggests that the gap between your expectations and your perceptions is what affects how much you like/dislike something. Does this mean we should always have low expectations in order to be happy with whatever we get?

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      Koni Gebistorf 8 years ago
      Give it a try, Laura, I would say. If after a year you're still a poor tennis player, and totally unhappy about it, you will have proved Ariely wrong. At least something to be proud of, then!
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    Deirdre Cody 8 years ago
    As Nietzsche said, "In everything one thing is impossible: rationality." This excellent, thought-provoking book examines the intricacies of rationality. Just why is it so difficult to achieve? Does it exist at all? I found myself smiling and nodding at each anecdote in this enjoyable summary. I'm looking forward to getAbstract's summary of Ariely's next book, The Upside of Irrationality.

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