New: Book Report: Predictably Irrational

A series of musings about how people really behave. Or, rather, how they misbehave. Describes experiments about placebos, cheating, and other circumstances in which people lie to themselves and to others. I'd heard about some of these topics. Lately, some economists have pointed out how people don't follow the simple economic model--that people follow other rules, similarly predictable albeit less sensible.

But there were new-to-me ideas in this book. E.g., that to encourage people to be honorable, you might occasionally ask them to swear an oath to be honorable. Not necessarily because you expect them to respect the force behind that oath, but instead to remind them that honor is important, to remind them that they think of themselves as honorable, that they take pride in it.

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Posted 2009-03-05