You’ve probably heard of Dan Ariely’s book Predictably Irrational by now. It seems to be garnering a cult like following of late, and will likely be one of those books that everyone has an opinion on (along with The Tipping Point, Freakonomics, Purple Cow, and of course Twilight :-))
Aaron Wall put me on to the book a few weeks ago and I have to agree it’s well worth reading. The book covers the irrational behaviour we all seem to exhibit, and looks at how to both insulate ourselves from the ‘tricks’ played on us, as well as how we might use them to our advantage. It works both ways I guess.
I was pleased to see that Jeff Atwood has viewed it through ‘how can I protect myself and others’ glasses, whereas most other reviews I’ve read have reinforced the lessons we can use to our own advantage.
I won’t pass judgement on the book (except to say that it blew me away!), nor even try to review it (check out the Amazon reviews here and here for the best coverage), but I will say this: As a developer, it’s easy to imagine that psychology, irrational behaviour and marketing are foreign to our line of work. But they’re not. They become more important and pronounced everyday. And whilst you may not want to action any of the ideas in this book yourself – I’d strongly recommend you at least be aware of them.
BTW, if you don’t have time to source the book and read it, then at least put aside an hour to watch this video of Dan speaking at Google last year: