Dan Ariely’s Single Best Piece Of Advice + of course stuff about irrationality & dishonesty

by Bob Walsh

If you’re a regular reader of my site (thank you very much btw) then you probably will find this interview with Dan Ariely interesting. Ariely shares some of his insights of his research into irrationality.

Here my cliffnotes:

  • IKEA effect
    • the moment you invest yourself into something you start overvaluing it.
    • examples: IKEA furniture which you assembled yourself. Your children. Origami.
  • Being irrational can be a good thing
    • e.g. when buying jams, you don’t want to be rational – because jams are about what you like, whereas rationality makes you assign less importance to what you like and more importance about what you think the right thing is (your thinking becomes more cognitive). Researcher Wilson and Schooler experiment: they made people think carefully about which jam to buy, and they bought the jams they liked less.
  • Dishonesty
    • struggle between 2 forces:
      • you want to think of yourself as honest (good person)
      • you want to gain from dishonesty
    • how do you cope with this conflict (good person vs desire for gain)?
      • you tell yourself stories why it’s ok
      • creative people are better (more convincing) storytellers, so they often cheat more
  • Books Dan Ariely recommends:
    • The Invisible Gorilla
    • Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes
    • Contagious
    • Nudge
  • Best single tip Dan Ariely would give to other people:
    • take the “Outside Perspective”: “What would you do if you made the recommendation for another person?”

You can read the full interview at Barking Up The Wrong Tree, and what’s even cooler is that Eric Barker (who conducted the interview) will soon be sending out another piece from the interview to subscribers of his newsletter where he talks about how thinking about sex affects decision making).