In 50-ish Words

Predictably Irrational: Dan Ariely


Although early morning trips on the Northern line are no one’s first choice of activity, I’ve recently been enjoying my journeys into work whilst reading Dan Ariely’s fascinating book about decision making.

‘Predictably Irrational: The hidden forces that shape our decisions’ is a title falling under the category of Behavioural Economics, the strand of economics that uses insights from psychology to demonstrate that our decisions are not as rational as we’d like to believe.

Ariely presents a plethora of interesting ideas from a mix of scientific experiments and amusing anecdotes that have applicability to everything from social policy to advertising. As a brief overview, these ideas add to the growing body of research that supports the power of emotional advertising, highlight why people almost always ignore the true value of products/services opting for the free option, and my personal favourite, the finding that when men are aroused in any way they make significantly poorer decisions than normal (make of that what you will).

The Insight team are hooked on decision making at the moment, check out our new Decision Trees tool that unearths the hidden factor behind our choices. Read more from our Head of Insight here.