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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Predictable Irrational: Good for Starters, Demand More

Never took a course in behavioral economics, but this book gives you a starter into that arena. After seeing the stock market and America's mortgage market, crash-n-burn, binge-n-purge, or spin out of control like a bipolar hurricane, you got to try to understand the hidden forces behind it all.

Predictably Irrational attempts to layout out premises along the line that we are neither very rational nor can we predict with much regularity what we will ultimately do. That our motivators often are irrational; that we can make distorted decisions based on erroneous concepts. (FREE for example is never really FREE.)

Ariely puts forth several experiments tested on MIT students and others that reflect we can be seen doing very strange things under certain heightened pressures. That we can take rational, normal persons and turn them into less-than-moral, far-from-societal pillars. (Remind you of the Wall Street?)

It's an interesting read; but it does not dwell or delve greatly into the current malaise. Instead, it picks out specific ideas of why we all are prone to irrational, and predictably so, decisions. That said, while I got something out of the book - it still left me less that satiated. It didn't meet my demands.

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