Top Books: The Upside of Irrationality


It's one of those labels when thrown at you often leads to a fight. The label, "You're being irrational." Well, as it turns out, sometimes being irrational is a good thing.

A lot of very successful people can point to those so-called irrational acts that led to their success—think about how some of those so-called "irrational" ideas were explained to the non-believers or "rational ones"

Think YouTube: "You're going to just let people post their own videos on the internet?"

Or, Twitter, "You're going to let write whatever they want on the Internet but they they can only have 140 characters, huh?"

We learned a lot about irrational behavior and how it influences our lives in Dan Ariely’s book, "PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL." In it, the author showed us how irrational behavior influences every part of our lives- from how much we’ll pay for coffee to what caused the global finance crisis.

"We discovered that using money to motivate people can be a double-edged sword ... When the incentive level is very high, it can command too much attention and thereby distract the person's mind with thoughts about the reward." -The Upside of Irrationality, Dan Ariely

Now he’s back with a new book, "THE UPSIDE OF IRRATIONALITY: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home" and in this book, Ariely digs even deeper explaining how all too often we make decisions that seem contrary to our best interest.

In The Upside of Irrationality, Ariely (who's been called a "mischievous scientist") turns our conventional thinking upside down – telling us among other things:

  • Why bonuses – even those big fat ones we all covet – can backfire
  • How our spur-of–the moment reactions can set long-term patterns
  • Why we get “used to things”?
  • And why so many of us learn to ‘settle’ when it comes to selecting our mates?

The book is full of experiments that tackle things like physical pain, online dating, procrastination and getting even. According to Ariely our decisions are driven by so-called unseen forces like emotions, stress, pride and revenge.

Ariely says it’s those irrational abilities that actually allow us make better decisions, adapt to new environments and even trust others. Heck, as Ariely explains, without our being irrational, most of us wouldn't even be able to love our kids! Think about it: All that money, all that backtalking, all that worry - for what?

Sound irrational? Blissfully so.

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