Monday, August 27, 2012

MBR: The Upside of Irrationality by Dan Ariely

I decided I was going to read a book a week for a year, here's a quick review of this week's book.  You can see the ongoing list here.

Basic Info

The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home by Dan Ariely

Why I read it

I had already read (and reviewed) another of Ariely's book on irrationality; this one caught my eye on the clearance counter at my local bookstore.

How it connects to the Public Sector

A lot of the book deals with interpersonal relationships and decision making and subsequently how our irrational behaviour can shape those relationships (for better or for worse). While Ariely doesn't specifically talk about the public sector many of the allegories he uses involve the workplace.

What I got out of reading it

"Ergo, We - and by that I mean You, Me, Companies, and Policy Makers - need to doubt our intuitions. If we keep following our gut and common wisdom or doing what is easiest or most habitual just because "well, things have always been done that way," we will continue to make mistakes - resulting in a lot of time, efforts, heartbreak, and money going down the same old (often wrong) rabbit holes. But if we learn to question ourselves and test our beliefs, we might actually discover when and how we are wrong and improve the ways we love, live, work, innovate, manage and govern." (p.288)
And, if the science behind that statement is something you'd like to learn more about, then I strongly suggest reading the Upside of Irrationality.

Originally published by Nick Charney at
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