Book Review Wednesday: The Upside to Irrationality by Dan Ariely (4 stars)

Posted: June 17, 2015 in Book Reviews
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This is more or less another of my productivity books. Technically it’s more about the strangeness of human behavior than productivity, but it has this giant section on what motivates us to work, that was interesting, both from a personal and an economic point of view.

So it turns out that high bonuses can actually demotivate you! We need enough money to meet our basic needs, but beyond that the most important thing affecting our motivation seems to be how much we value the work. If for example you’re working hard programming a new piece of software, and at the end of making it it’s going to get scrapped, then it doesn’t matter if you’re highly paid for it. You’re still going to be very demotivated.

The part about motivations was my favorite since I’m hugely interested in anything related to productivity, but the other sections had some cool stuff too. Like, why revenge is so important to us. Or why there’s such a big difference between the things we think will make us happy and what actually makes us happy.

There are some pretty cool tidbits to take from this book. Like how the things we think will make us really happy don’t make us as happy as we think. And the things that we think will make us really sad don’t make us as sad as we think.

I’d say if you’re a productivity junkie the motivations might be worth a glance over. It’s more of a reading for interest thing rather than anything you can use for tactics. Unless you’re a manager and have a lot of employees. Then the parts about what motivates workers could be really interesting for you and you might come away with a few things to use in your workplace.

And if you’re really interested in human behavior, motivation, and why sometimes people act plain irrational, then this book is definitely worth a look at.

For more reviews on this book go to:


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