Glimpses of a Book #4

Predictably Irrational

By Dan Ariely


CHAPTER 1 The Truth about Relativity

“… most people don’t know what they want unless they see it in context. We don’t know what kind of racing bike we want — until we see a champ in the Tour de France ratcheting the gears on a particular model.” (P. 3)

“… the more we have, the more we want.” (P. 21)


CHAPTER 2 The Fallacy of Supply and Demand

“Could it be that the lives we have so carefully crafted are largely just a product of arbitrary coherence? Could it be that we made arbitrary decisions at some point in the past (…) and have built our lives on them ever since, assuming that the original decisions were wise? Is that how we choose our careers, our spouses, theĀ  clothes we wear, and the way we style our hair? Were they smart decisions in the first place?” (P. 45)

You should train yourself to question your repeated behaviors.” (P. 46)


CHAPTER 4 The Cost of Social Norms

[In this chapter, the author argues that “we live in two worlds : one is characterized by social exchanges and the other characterized by market exchanges” (P. 84)]

“… goodwill is created by emphasizing the social side of the company-worker relationship. It’s remarkable how much work companies (particularly start-ups) can get out of people when social norms (such as the excitement of building something together) are stronger than market norms (such as salaries stepping up with each promotion.” (P.91)

“Social norms are the forces that can make a difference in the long run. Instead of focusing the attention of the teachers, parents, and kids on test scores, salaries, and competition, it might be better to instill in all of us a sense of purpose, mission, and pride in education.” (P. 93)

“… life with fewer market norms and more social norms would be more satisfying, creative, fulfilling, and fun.” (P.95)


CHAPTER 8 The High Price of Ownership

“Ownership is NOT limited to material things. It can also apply to points of view. Once we take ownership of an idea — whether it’s about politics or sports — what do we do? We love it perhaps more than we should. We prize it more than it is worth. And most frequently, we have trouble letting go of it because we can’t stand the idea of its loss. What are we left with then? An ideology — rigid and unyielding.” (P. 178)


CHAPTER 9 Keeping Doors Open

“In 1941 the philosopher Erich Fromm wrote a book called Escape from Freedom. In a modern democracy, he said, people are beset not by a lack of opportunity, but by a dizzying abundance of it. In our modern society this is emphatically so. We are continually reminded that we can do anything and be anything we want to be. The problem is in living up to this dream.” (P. 192)


CHAPTER 14 The Context of Our Character, Part II

“… cheating is a lot easier when it’s a step removed from money.” (P. 297)

“All these electronic transactions, with no physical exchange of money from hand to hand, might make it easier for people to be dishonest…” (P. 304)


So there were some tidbits from the book.

The book explains our behavior from economics point of view, while acknowledging our psychological side. I really enjoyed the book, as well as all the other books by Dan Ariely.


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