cover image The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home

The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home

Dan Ariely, Author . Harper $27.99 (334p) ISBN 978-0-06-199503

Ariely (Predictably Irrational ) expands his research on behavioral economics to offer a more positive and personal take on human irrationality’s implications for life, business, and public policy. After a youthful accident left him badly scarred and facing grueling physical therapy, Ariely’s treatment required him to accept temporary pain for long-term benefit—a trade-off so antithetical to normal human behavior that it sparked the author’s fascination with why we consistently fail to act in our own best interest. The author, professor of behavioral economics at Duke, leads us through experiments that reveals such idiosyncrasies as the “IKEA effect” (if you build something, pride and sentimental attachment are likely to give you an inflated sense of its quality) and the “Baby Jessica effect” (why we respond to one person’s suffering but not to the suffering of many). He concludes with prescriptions for how to make real personal and societal changes, and what behavioral patterns we must identify to improve how we love, live, work, innovate, manage, and govern. Self-deprecating humor, an enthusiasm for human eccentricities, and an affable and snappy style make this read an enriching and eye-opening pleasure. (June)