Behavioral economist Dan Ariely studies the bugs in our moral code: the hidden reasons we think it’s OK to cheat or steal (sometimes).
Despite our best efforts, bad or inexplicable decisions are as inevitable as death and taxes, but were you aware that they are also just as predictable. Ask yourself:
Why, for instance, are we convinced that “sizing up” at our favorite burger joint is a good idea, even when we’re not that hungry? Why are our phone lists cluttered with numbers we never call?
Dan Ariely, who is a behavioral economist, has based his career on figuring out the answers to these, and many other questions. In his bestselling book Predictably Irrational (re-released in expanded form in May 2009), he “describes many unorthodox and often downright odd experiments used in the quest to answer this question.”
Ariely has long been fascinated with how emotional states, moral codes and peer pressure affect our ability to make rational and often extremely important decisions in our daily lives—across a spectrum of our interests, from economic choices (how should I invest?) to personal (who should I marry?). He hopes that by developing a better understanding the decision-making process he can help people lead better, more sensible daily lives.
Daniel Gross of Newsweek said:
If you want to know why you always buy a bigger television than you intended, or why you think it’s perfectly fine to spend a few dollars on a cup of coffee at Starbucks, or why people feel better after taking a 50-cent aspirin but continue to complain of a throbbing skull when they’re told the pill they took just cost one penny, Ariely has the answer.