As much as we want to believe ourselves and others act in rational ways, the truth is that humans rarely do so. Why we act in irrational ways is a question that behavioral economist Dan Ariely explores in his work and it’s also the focus of the questions he answers in his book, Irrationally Yours: On Missing Socks, Pickup Lines, and Other Existential Puzzles.
Each week, Dan Ariely answers questions in his Wall Street Journal column, Ask Ariely (also reposted here on his blog). In this Q&A column, Dan answers questions from readers, using scientific analysis of the human condition. Irrationally Yours is a collection of questions and answers from this column, and includes illustrations from New Yorker cartoonist, William Haefeli, which help to illustrate the many irrational ways in which we act.
As a huge fan of Ariely, his work, and his previous books, I found Irrationally Yours to be a quick and interesting read. It touches on many of the experiments discussed in his previous books, Predictably Irrational, The Upside Of Irrationality, and The Honest Truth About Dishonesty.
Like all of Ariely’s books and writings, understanding why we act in irrational ways offers great insight into not only how humans behave in irrationally, but also how we can make use of those behaviors to overcome challenges we often face. By gaining a greater understanding about how others will likely react, we can be better prepared for those reactions, and take smarter approaches, which may bring about a more ideal outcome.
Through his experiments and the insights they provide, Ariely seeks to rationalize the irrational responses we have to many situations in life. Having a better understanding of how humans act can aide us all in our everyday interactions with each other. Dan continues to help us learn about the strange ways in which we behave, with interesting experiments and a humorous tone.
If you’ve ever wondered why we often act in irrational ways or want to learn to better understand the best way to engage with others, I highly recommend checking out Irrationally Yours and all of Dan Ariely’s other books, along with his blog. You’re sure to learn a lot about the weird ways in which we humans behave.