Given my blog post on How to minimize human misery in recessions or the macroeconomic implications to hedonic adaptation, this review should not come as too much of a surprise. I had loved Dan Ariely’s original book Predictably Irrational and The Upside of Irrationality is a worthy successor.
In this book Dan analyzes a wide range of counter-intuitive results in diverse subject matters ranging from our innate desire to revenge to the market failure in online dating to why bonuses can be counterproductive. As usual in behavioral economics books the anecdotes make the story. In this book many of them were very personal as Dan covers the personal impact of a youthful accident which left him badly scarred and required him to accept temporary pain for long-term benefit, trade-offs which we are particularly bad at dealing with.
My one quibble might be with the title as the book does not really cover the upside of irrationality as much as the fact that we are irrational, but that there are ways of dealing with it when we are aware of our limitations. Regardless, read the book!