Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

1 minutes estimated reading time

Predictably Irrational struck me on first glance at the cover as just a trendy coffee table business book similar to the ones that Malcolm Gladwell cranks out every few years. That is a book that has a bit of buzz and is entertaining to read, but is much real-world use as The Beano annual.

It has the same catchy title and a pleasingly designed but poker-faced sleeve that could have easily housed a contemporary novel or a ‘Men are from mars, women are from venus’-type books.

Fortunately, Dan Ariely instead dissects some of the consumer behaviour factors that play a key role in areas such as decision-making and perceived value in an easy-to-understand format. He discusses a mix of experiments and real-world examples, such as online direct response adverts by The Economist to bring his ideas alive for the reader.

Given my introduction, how much use is the book? Time will tell, but it has given me ideas about thinking about the way I present, pitch for new business and productise my current work in saleable chunks for existing and new clients. As a consumer I will evaluate retail and direct offers to me in a different way, it may not stop me being played, but at least I will be conscious of what exactly is going on and why I am responding to the retail stimuli. Ariely’s Predictably Irrational has been the first in a good number of works on behaviour change relevant to marketers. It now sits alongside Thinking Fast And Slow and the works of Caldini. More book reviews here.