Book Review: Predictably Irrational

This is more of a very belated review; I read the book a couple of years back and because I was SO unwilling to study in the past few days, I just picked this up from the shelf for the first time in a couple of years and got reminded of exactly why I’d liked this book so much :)

As always, this review is also up on my goodreads account, feel free to check it out if you will!

 

‘Predictable’ and ‘Irrational’ are two words that usually never go together. Like one of the words automatically assume the antithesis of the other word as soon as it is mentioned. However, when it comes to behavioral economics (and to be more accurate human psychology and behavior in general) those two become words that defy the general laws of English grammar and become terms that can be used together, and even become complementary.

Honestly speaking, this was the book that managed to get me interested in economics for the first time ever. I’ll admit, it’s a rather… unconventional choice when it comes to economics books. It’s not the usual book that will tell you about the mechanics of supply and demand, of the history of the economical systems that managed to rise and fall and rise again with each economist that tried to make foolproof economic measures only to fail miserably again when the political and monetary landscapes change. This book is not about that. This book wasn’t about the ‘classical’ economics information that you would easily encounter at any bookstore.

I don’t know if my interest in economics peaked because my first real encounter into an economics book was an unconventional one, or because I was *eyeroll* ‘predestined to love the magical world of supply and demand and the like because it’s such an interesting subject(try not to stone me I’m just quoting my economics teacher very liberally :P)’ but I’m more inclined to lean towards the first explanation; I knew how irrational and interesting, how related to humanity can the limits of economics get before encountering the condensed, simplified version of the subject that ignored the existence of all the real-life variables for the sake of summarizing it all into a formula. (Economics is, surprisingly, much like physics or chemistry in that point of view. One can even compare it to biology, and the conditioning and control of various experimental variables that would probably not occur in real life? *science geek mode in action*)

Anyway. I loved this book particularly because it gives us the insight to which economics is really a branch of ‘humanity’. Many people try to regard economics as one of the subjects in which the human variable is minimized, and therefore the simple laws of supply and demand surpass humanitarian needs and the like (yes, this is actually the excuse of some people. economics laws come before people because profit is not altered by the psychology of some people). Some even refer to the subject as the ultimate science subject that is not a science subject. However, there’s a reason why economics is not just about crunching numbers and drawing random graphs. It’s about people. It’s about how people make decisions, how those decisions are influenced, how countries and world communities try to make decisions that eliminates the maximum amount of human error. We learn it with all the basics of it cut out; This book is simply giving us an insight to what exactly we’ve trimmed out.

The examples are funny and attention-grabbing, and it was interesting even to a little girl (okay maybe not that little but) who had little to no interest in economics. Also gives you much trivia about how to influence the people around you. Very much recommended to anyone who thinks economics is boring. :D

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