HOT READS FOR THE PRACTITIONER
Competencies: finance, marketing, sales, decision-making, judgment, managing self
Who benefits: anyone can read and enjoy this delightful book
Consultant Usage: Last week I reviewed the first book in this two book series. Today I review the second. Very logical. It may be the last appearance of logic in this post and in Dan Ariely’s second book, The Upside of Irrationality.
For those of you old enough to remember Mr. Spock, I dare say he would be extremely upset with this book and its predecessor. “Highly illogical.” I believe might be his review. But dear Spock did not spend much time with 21st Century business people, consumers, daters and coffee drinkers. We are just not a “highly logical” breed.
So Dan of Duke is back for a second round of showing up our decision-making abilities and showing us how to make better decisions in our business and personal lives.
There is something to amuse you on every page, but underlying the humor and illustrative stories is the important field of behavior economics, developed by Ariely and others. He writes “…the real goal of behavioral economics: to try to understand the way we really operate so we readily observe our biases, be more aware of their influences on us, and hopefully make better decisions.”
In some ways the whole book can be summarized in a story he shares early in the book. He was addressing a group of executive level, exceptionally well-paid bankers – before the Crash of 2008. He was talking to them about his research demonstrating conclusively the negative motivational effects of high bonuses on executive performance. He had a high level of approval going with the group, both head nods and vocal agreement … until he suggested that this research would apply to the people in that room.
Whoa Nellie, now the group was offended. As One they adopted the “Not Here” response. That stuff might apply to other people, but not us. We are too smart let high bonuses affect our performance! The rest, as they say, is history.
What it reminds me of is how easy it is to see the foibles in others, yet deny our own. I am a rational kind of guy, or I was until I read this book and its predecessor. After about a dozen examples in this book where I found myself saying “yeah, I do that” and then laughing out loud about my own denials – the Truth, several times I started talking to my self about some of the revelations in this book. It just grabbed me and wouldn’t let go.
So if you would like the answers to the topics below and possibly as many as 100 other common and not so common circumstances and happenings, I urge you to read this book.-Why Big Bonuses Don’t Always Work -Why My Ideas Are Better Than Yours -What Makes Us Seek Justice (The joys of payback) -When a Market Fails: An Example from Online Dating -Why We Respond to One Person Who Needs Help but Not to Many -The Long-Term Effects of Short-Term Emotions: Why we Shouldn’t Act on Our Negative Feelings
There are some great life lessons in this book. I give it my highest possible recommendation.
If the book isn’t enough, join me in attending Professor Ariely’s free online course A Beginner’s Guide to Irrational Behavior on March 25. The sign-up process is quick and easy. Should be fun. I can’t wait.
Catch you later.