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Saturday, September 28, 2019

PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL: THE HIDDEN FORCES THAT SHAPE OUR DECISIONS (audiobook) by Dan Ariely



Published in 2008 by HarperAudio.
Read by Simon Jones.
Duration: 7 hours, 22 minutes.

Unabridged.

Dan Ariely is a behavioral economist. This book looks at the assumption made by economists that people make rational decisions based on their input. Ariely delights in pointing out that oftentimes we don't make rational choices - we make irrational ones and we keep making the same types of irrational choices time after time after time.

For example, if you own a restaurant and you want to sell more of your most expensive dish, all you have to do is place an even more expensive meal on the menu. It could be that no one will ever buy that most expensive meal, but they will buy more of what used to be the most expensive meal because it now looks like a comparative bargain.

I enjoyed the commentary on the old marketing campaign called The Pepsi Challenge. In blind taste tests, Pepsi beat Coca-Cola by a wide margin. But, when the taste testers could see the cans of soda, Coca-Cola won by a wide margin. Why? Confirmation bias - taste testers liked Coca-Cola better because they expected to.


Ariely's points are good, but the time required to set up his explanations (in other words, the description of the experiments, how they tried to control for biases, etc.) were so long that they really hurt my enjoyment of the book. I understand that it is important to describe the experiments so that the reader can judge that it was done fairly, but it was, at times, quite tedious. I also think he used his best points at the beginning of the book as a hook to get you into the book but as the book went along, it got less interesting.

The audiobook was read by Simon Jones. He has an interesting and lively voice and made the tiresome descriptions of the experiments tolerable.

I rate this audiobook 3 stars out of 5.

It can be found on Amazon.com here: PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL: THE HIDDEN FORCES THAT SHAPE OUR DECISIONS.

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