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The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior


15 min read
10 take-aways
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What's inside?

Identify and manage the irrational psychological forces that “sway” everyone. 

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Based on their extensive knowledge of organizations and psychology, brothers Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman explain one major concept of self-undermining – and often unconscious – human behavior in each short chapter of their book. Then, they link the chapters together to present a comprehensive overview of behavioral patterns and issues. They cite compelling studies and fascinating examples, offering stories about irrational behaviors and the psychological forces behind them. The Brafmans seek to enlighten everyone who ever made a decision for the wrong reasons and anyone who wants to avoid the “sway” of irrational forces. Their clear conclusions will resonate with CEOs and others who bear responsibility and want to make more rational decisions and stay out of their own way. This readable, applicable manual could help you make big, important decisions – and all the little ones along the way.


The Compelling Forces of Human Nature

People tend to think they make decisions rationally and objectively. They seldom do. As a decision becomes more important, “hidden forces” – or “sways” – become increasingly influential. Sways include “loss aversion, value attribution” and “diagnosis bias,” which are three of the many psychological influences that affect decision making and can combine for sometimes devastating effects. Common sways include: 

Loss Aversion

Losses always have more impact than comparative gains. The word “loss” has great psychological power. Car rental companies sell “loss damage waivers” to customers even though most people have credit cards and car insurance that already cover any breakdowns. Stock market traders often avoid selling their holdings, even when all signs indicate they should, because they don’t want to lose imagined future gains. Loss aversion drives short-term thinking. When you take the long view, loss aversion loses some of its power. Loss aversion is prevalent because people dread recognizing a loss and having to reassess ...

About the Authors

Ori Brafman, MBA, and Rom Brafman, PhD, speak on the psychology of behavior and group dynamics. Ori works with Fortune 500 companies and the government on organizational issues; Rom’s private practice focuses on interpersonal relationships.

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