28 November 2008

Sway; The irresistible Pull of irrational behavior - Brafman

The subtitle says it all: this quick and compelling read seeks to demonstrate how in a world of rational beings, irrational actions are commonplace. I simply try to blame this on idiocy, but I guess there are actual psychological and even physiological explanations.

The book reads as notes from a power point presentation at times, but this is perhaps not a weakness. Although I was inclined at the outset to dislike their quirky approach, I actually quite enjoyed their story focused approach. Brofman and Brofman relate a series of anecdotes, academic experiments, and front page news to demonstrate and reinforce their positions. As a quick, entertaining and educational read, I would certainly suggest it to anyone who works with irrational people, who is in a relationship with an irrational person, or who is simply irrational themself! It will certainly make you think....hopefully those thoughts are rational!

These hidden currents and forces include loss aversion (our tendency to go to great lengths to avoid possible losses), value attribution (our inclination to imbue a person or thing with certain qualities based on initial perceived value), and the diagnosis bias (our blindness to all evidence that contradicts our initial assessment of a person or situation).