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Marilee J. Layman

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07:52 pm: Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
This is non-fiction, but easy to read. It took me longer than it normally would have because I kept laying there and arguing with it.

In essence, each chapter addresses something that people repeatably do that is irrational or wrong. He talks about what it is and what we think will happen, then tells us how the experiments were conducted and the results, and then offers ways to try to change what we're doing. At the end is a large section of references and other accessory text.

It was fascinating, but I didn't fit in with most of the experiment subjects. For example:

1. The experiment showed that people think more expensive meds are better for them than cheap meds are. I strongly prefer generics. (That particular experiment also told the students that the med was an opiate. The kids wouldn't be able to have opiates without a doctor's prescription and I was surprised that out of 2000 kids nobody knew that.)

2. He talked about people getting $4 coffees every day, and I calculated that I spend $1.25 on everything I drink all day.

3. The chapter on FREE! had a lot of experiments, plus talk about Amazon's $25 free shipping. But the chocolate one was not something I'd do. They put a big table in a public building foyer and a sign that said "Chocolate, One Each" and when people got closer, they could see what kind of chocolate and the price. There were many variations of this in order to make sure they covered everything, but they all worked like the first experiment -- a Lindt truffle was listed at $.15 and a Hershey's Kiss at a penny. The majority of people bought the truffle. Then they moved both down a penny (still relative cost) so the truffle was $.14 and the Kiss was FREE! and the majority took the Kiss. I would know that a truffle was better than a Kiss, even if I paid more for it.

In any case, the experiments (including some with beer - feorag, balsamic vinegar is vegan, isn't it? They tried two drops of it in beer and as long as the students tasted first and found out second, they liked it) were very interesting.

I liked the book quite a bit and think most people would enjoy it, even if they end up arguing with it.

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From:redbird
Date:February 1st, 2010 01:07 am (UTC)
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Do you know where the pain med research was done? In Canada, they still have over-the-counter aspirin-caffeine-codeine (and I think also acetominophen-caffeine-codeine) tablets. Literally OTC: you have to talk to the pharmacist, but no prescription needed.
[User Picture]
From:mjlayman
Date:February 1st, 2010 01:27 am (UTC)
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Yes, in the MIT Media Lab. I don't think any of the experiments were done out of the US. This was Chapter 10: The Power of Price: Why a 50-cent Aspirin Can Do What a Penny Aspirin Can't.

The capsule the students took was Vitamin C.
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