Predictably Irrational – the TED presentation

Predictably Irrational is a book by Dan Ariely that I have been absolutely itching to read for a long time now. Tom read it while he was in VT, so I’ve gotten a few sneak previews, and this most recent discovery on was the last straw. I’m ordering the book.

In the video, Dan Ariely talks mainly about cheating, and about some of the surprising discoveries that he made about how much people cheat and ways that you can encourage or discourage cheating. What is the difference between taking someone else’s can of soda, vs taking a $1 bill lying in the refrigerator? Nothing, and everything. What difference does it make what sweatshirt someone is wearing when he/she cheats? And, how does this relate to Enron? It’s a fascinating talk, even if you never plan to read the book, but it also makes for a great teaser if you’re interested in things like this. (Don’t forget to visit the site for more fascinating talks.)

Other interesting topics that I’ve heard are covered in the book include the power and perception of things that are ‘free’, and the difference between social value and market value. I can’t wait to read the full descriptions and other interesting studies/conclusions for myself. And if his list of current projects is any indication, I’m going to be in for quite a treat.