Dan Ariely is a professor at Duke University, has two PhDs, and is unabashedly manipulative. In true reflection of his style, I promise to keep this honest and crisp, and ever so slightly critical.
Ariely published Predictably Irrational in 2008, yet, even after a decade, it is filled with nothing but profound truths. I mean, in the last two years alone, so much has changed; our understanding of gathering, travel, health- everything’s called for a reevaluation. Yet, what Ariely wrote in 2008 somehow managed to remain topical.
Ariely claims that his book discusses concepts borrowed from behavioral economics but I find that to be a little bit of a, excuse my dissipated anger, lie. It discusses economics, yes, but what I’ve taken away from it, after my seventh re-read, are notions of guidance. And if I were in charge of the Ministry of Book Genres or wherever they categorize these things, I’d place Ariely right beside the works of Aristotle and Robin Sharma.
Before I begin my run down, let me get my stand clear: I hate that I’ve read the book (seven times). Why, you ask (see, I knew you’d ask because I read the book!)? For starters, it makes you a more commonsensical, rational person. This, coupled with the fact that the people around you are most likely not commonsensical and/or rational, will give you lots of time to think. Second, it changes the way you think. Suddenly, all your irrationalities come crawling back to you and you refuse to believe that you actually fell for the “Buy-1-Get-1” sprees. You’ll think about that time you wasted in a classroom studying supply and demand because, surprise surprise, it’s a logical inconsistency! You’ll get in touch with your inner Mr. Hyde or your Leviathan or your System 1 thinking, or whatever literature you use to analogize your emotions. You’ll even think about intentionally accidentally breaking a bone or catching a cold because you cannot, for the life of you, accept that you’re a victim of placebo (please don’t call your physician and interrogate them; it’s surprisingly frowned upon).
To summarize, don’t read the book, and don’t look up Dan Ariely, especially on his website danariely.com, no special characters. Unless you want to become a better person but that’s your prerogative.