Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

DAN ARIELY is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Behavioral Economics at MIT, where he holds a joint appointment between MIT’s Media Laboratory and the Sloan School of Management.

He is also a researcher at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and a visiting professor at Duke University. Ariely wrote this book while he was a fellow at the Institute for Advance Study at Princeton.

His work has been featured in leading scholarly journals and a variety of popular media outlets, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, Scientific American, and Science. Ariely has appeared on CNN and National Public Radio. He divides his time between Durham, North Carolina, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the rest of the world.


  • Why do our headaches persist after taking a one-cent aspirin but disappear when we take a SO-cent aspirin?

  • Why does recalling the Ten Commandments reduce our tendency to lie. even when we couldn’t possibly be caught?

  • Why do we splurge on a lavish meal but cut coupons to save 2S cents on a can of soup?

  • Why do we go back for second helpings at the unlimited buffet, even when our stomachs are already full?

  • And how did we ever start spending $4.15 on a cup of coffee when, just a few years ago, we used to pay less than a dollar?


  • Chapter 1: The Truth about Relativity
    Why Everything Is Relative—Even When It Shouldn’t Be 
  • Chapter 2: The Fallacy of Supply and Demand
    Why the Price of Pearls—and Everything Else—Is Up in the Air
  • Chapter 3: The Cost of Zero Cost
    Why We Often Pay Too Much When We Pay Nothing 
  • Chapter 4:The Cost of Social Norms
    Why We Are Happy to Do Things, but Not When We Are Paid to Do Them
  • Chapter 5: The Influence of Arousal
    Why Hot Is Much Hotter Than We Realize 
  • Chapter 6: The Problem of Procrastination and Self-Control
    Why We Can’t Make Ourselves Do What We Want to Do
  • Chapter 7: The High Price of Ownership
    Why We Overvalue What We Have
  • Chapter 8: Keeping Doors Open
    Why Options Distract Us from Our Main Objective
  • Chapter 9: The Effect of Expectations
    Why the Mind Gets What It Expects 
  • Chapter 10: The Power of Price
    Why a 50-Cent Aspirin Can Do What a Penny Aspirin Can’t
  • Chapter 11: The Context of Our Character, Part I
    Why We Are Dishonest, and What We Can Do about It
  • Chapter 12: The Context of Our Character, Part II
    Why Dealing with Cash Makes Us More Honest
  • Chapter 13:: Beer and Free Lunches
    What Is Behavioral Economics, and Where Are the Free Lunches?

Language: English
Pages: 308