The cover of Predictably Irrational

Predictably Irrational

The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

by Dan Ariely

I stayed away from economics in school, assuming it was a boring version of applied mathematics (I snobbishly saw physics as the more interesting version). In the past few years, I’ve changed my mind: economics is incredibly interesting. I regret not realizing this earlier.

Predictably Irrational does a great job of making economics — specifically, behavioral economics — accessible to folks like me. Ariely has curated a series of essays on the surprising ways in which we often defy logic when making decisions in our everyday life. From dating, to buying coffee, to going on a diet, it turns out humans frequently behave in ways that are counter to the neat logic of supply and demand.

Reading this book, I found myself taking a lot of the conclusions for granted. Of course we aren’t reasonable about what we eat, or who we’re friends with, or what we throw away. My enjoyment of this book was based not in these observations, but in the way Ariely connects them in a surprisingly consistent framework.