Books Worth Reading, Part II

Last month this page examined Shoptimism: Why The American Consumer Will Keep On Buying No Matter What, by Lee Eisenberg. This month, we turn to Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, by Dan Ariely. The original version was published in 2008; however, I recommend you read the revised and expanded edition, published late last year. Ariely is a behavioral economist, a rebel in a field dominated by scholars who believe numbers never lie. Ariely acknowledges that numbers don't lie, but he doesn't think they tell the whole story. Economics may be rational, he says, but people aren't. Further, he argues that market forces won't always regulate the market for the best, which is why reliance on standard economic theory alone to develop personal, national, or global policies may be not only unwise but also dangerous. Ariely maintains that m

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