The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home (Anglais) Relié – Séquence inédite, 1 juin 2010
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Description du produit
Revue de presse
Dan's insights into human behavior are transformative for consumer-centric companies. His research reveals surprising opportunities to think and act in new ways about your customers and your company's culture. --Lorrie Norrington, President, eBay Marketplaces
Surprising. . . . Nearly all of Ariely's experiments are convincing, and his amiable tone is often charming. He also brings a welcome personal aspect to the book, drawing on the story of a tragedy from his youth. . . . He writes perceptively about his excruciating experience to effectively back up various behavioral concepts such as why some victims of accidents develop a heightened tolerance for pain, while terminal cancer victims do not. Consistently sharp. --Kirkus Reviews --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Poche .
Présentation de l'éditeur
“Dan Ariely is a genius at understanding human behavior: no economist does a better job of uncovering and explaining the hidden reasons for the weird ways we act.” — James Surowiecki, author of The Wisdom of Crowds
Behavioral economist and New York Times bestselling author of Predictably Irrational Dan Ariely returns to offer a much-needed take on the irrational decisions that influence our dating lives, our workplace experiences, and our temptation to cheat in any and all areas. Fans of Freakonomics, Survival of the Sickest, and Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink and The Tipping Point will find many thought-provoking insights in The Upside of Irrationality.
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Meilleurs commentaires des clients
Il montre que contrairement à nos impressions sur le sujet, nos comportements économiques sont bien plus irrationnels qu'on ne le croit. Et mieux les comprendre permet de mieux contrôler. A lire absolument!
L'un des apports les plus originaux de l'ouvrage réside dans l'étude des phénomènes d'adaptation et de résistance à des épisodes douloureux. L'expérience personnelle de l'auteur dans ce domaine est en effet remarquable... et donne lieu parfois à des descriptions difficiles à soutenir : brûlé au troisième degré sur 70 % du corps suite à un accident dans sa jeunesse, atteint par ailleurs d'hépatite C, il a eu tout le loisir de vérifier comment l'esprit humain réagit dans ce type de circonstances. Les conclusions qu'il en tire s'appliquent, bien entendu, à des situations moins extrêmes, et constituent une aide utile pour que notre inévitable absence de rationalité soit pour nous, non un handicap, mais une aide dans la poursuite du bonheur.
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Behavioral Economics is a fascinating subject to me. Why do humans act the way they do, and why do they act in ways that often seem counter-intuitive or just plain wrong? I find the design of experiments to show these foibles to be fascinating and enjoyable reading.
But not this book. For starters, the writing style seemed bit long-winded and overly complicated. It always seemed like it took far more words to explain things than was actually needed.
My biggest complaint, though, was the stretch made in applying the results of the experiments. I am not a trained statistician or economist, but every time I read the results of one of the experiments and the conclusions generated, there seemed to be an obvious flaw.
For example, in one experiment, the author attempts to quantify the effects of large financial bonuses (the kinds paid to investment bankers) on their performance. As a substitute, he uses relatively poor paid workers (low wage earners in India), and offers them "bonuses" equal to several month's pay. He does this because several month's pay for these individuals is a relatively small amount of money (less that $100), so his research budget can afford it.
The problem is that while the relative sizes of the bonus might be similar, the effects they have on the wage earner can hardly be the same. If the investment banker misses his bonus, the net result might be a two day Disneyland vacation instead of two weeks in Europe--different, but hardly life changing. However, a few month's salary to an Indian wage earner, making subsistence wages, might be the difference between medical treatment versus no medical treatment for a sick child.
Obviously the motivations and consequences of these will be different. And yet the author makes no attempts to explain or control for these conditions while drawing conclusions about high wage earners based on subsistence wage earners.
A second example is a study quantifying the effects of employee motivation by an experiment performed on "workers" hired to assemble Lego toys for a dollar or so. But the type of person who signs up for an experiment to assemble Lego toys for an afternoon and a person holding a 9-5 job for years may be quite different. Again, no attempt to explain or control. But again, the author makes conclusions about the second group based on the first.
Every one of the studies I read seemed to have some flaw which was either not explained or not controlled for. After a while I stopped reading and just skimmed the last half of the book.
Very disappointed, and I would say skip this book.
The first half of the book covers motivation and incentives at work. Description of experiments is vivid, often presented from the perspective of the subjects in the experiments (ie rats and humans). The findings indeed provide useful lessons for employers, supervisors, as well as government. It is also a joy to read.
The second half covers the author's personal reflection and observation, as well as experiments to look into a mishmash of issues, such as revenge, online dating, adaptation to change, etc. The discussion is still interesting and enlightening. However, there is a tendency to be too brief on the statistical outcome of experiments. For example, instead of stating the proportion of subjects who responded in a certain manner, the author strays into using 'most' or 'many' in describing such proportions. I suspect that some of the experiments were performed some time ago, and it may be too cumbersome for the author to look up the actual data of these dated experiments. As such, his discussion appears rather less convincing.
In all, the book provides important lessons on the psychology of decisions. It also gives a reflective account of the personal pain that the author has suffered since sustaining horrific injuries as a teenager. A touching and instructive book.
But my enjoyment if them still eventually wears thin and I have to find some new music. Now I know what that's called - hedonic adaptation. It's why we stop loving that new car as soon as the new car smell is gone, and why we get used to new jobs, relationships and whatnot. It also works in reverse - you can get used to negative experiences like incarceration (from my experience, I can tell you that it's nightmarish at first, but eventually you get used to it; it becomes bearable).
I once heard that a miserable person who wins the lottery will still be miserable a year later, and a happy person who becomes a paraplegic will still be happy a year later. In "The Upside of Irrationality" by Dan Ariely, I read that someone actually did perform a study on hedonic adaptation using lottery winners and paraplegics.
They found that both groups were close to normal levels of life satisfaction a year later, and that such life-altering events do have a huge impact on happiness at first, but the effect usually wears off over time.
So what do we do? Do we spend our lives on the "hedonic treadmill" chasing illusions of happiness? Do we even know what will truly make us happy? Is it a new car, a new house, a new job, a new lover? A new song?
Review Written by David Allan Reeves
Author of "Running Away From Me"
No one ever admits to being irrational, yet we frequently witness irrational behavior in others. After reading the book, I'll have to begrudgingly admit that I'm not perfectly rational either !
Throughout the 11 chapters of the book, various premises are tested by designing some easy to measure field tests which challenge our assumptions about behavior. The book is segregated into two sections - the first on "Ways we Defy Logic at Work" (Chapters 1 through 5) and "Ways We Defy Logic at Home" (Chapters 6 through 10).
In Chapter 1, Ariely discusses the banking meltdown of 2008 and posits that huge bonuses don't work to incent better performance. There is plenty of actual and anecdotal evidence to support this idea. In Chapter 2, he discusses various situations and experiments that demonstrate how important it is to each of us to imbue meaning in our work and to have meaningful work. There is a deep interconnection between identity and labor. Chapter 3, "The Ikea Effect" describes why we are so much more attached to things that we helped to produce, rather than things we did not have a hand in - "labor begets love". The NIH (not invented here) syndrome is discussed in Chapter 4. The NIH factor is called the "toothbrush theory" - everyone wants one, everyone needs one, everyone has one, but no one wants to use anyone else's. Chapter 5 discusses the irrational behavior of revenge which is one of the deepest-seated instincts we have. Ariely wrote: "The threat of revenge can serve as an effective enforcement mechanism that supports social cooperation and order."
In Part II (defying logic at home), there are some very interesting chapters on adaptation - how we get used to things and rationalize both bad and good situations. The chapters on dating and online dating are quite fascinating. Chapters 9 and 10 cover empathy and emotion and why we are more motivated to donate to a single suffering individual than to a larger cause by which thousands or millions of people are affected.
The final chapter summarizes and encourages us to recognize the upside of irrationality: "some of the ways in which we are irrational are also what makes us wonderfully human."
"The Upside of Irrationality" is a very thought-provoking book written by a believable and articulate professional. Ariely has a very personal style, incorporating many incidents from his own life and his struggles with debilitating burn injuries in his youth that altered the course of his life and certainly affected his point of view. I highlighted many passages in my Kindle and suspect that I will be picking up this book again from time to time to reread the highlights.
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