Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior Ori and Rom Brafman

I don't read a lot of nonfiction and I tend to be very selective about what I do read--it has to amuse me in some way.  This book certainly qualified.  I love books that spell out the obvious and help me codify or qualify observations I have already made.  Sway is that kind of book par excellance.  What Sway sets out to do is to tell us why we sometimes find ourselves doing the oddest, strangest, most counter-intuitive and often counter-productive things.

Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman have identified trends in thought or behavior that sometimes dominant our decisions and thought to the point of irrationality: risk aversion, commitment, diagnosis bias, value attribution, fairness, group dynamics.  We've all seen these in action but what Brafman and Brafman do is show us how these trends affect things like fatal airline crashes, losers on Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, the concept of fairness as it varies among cultures, the price of eggs, and the outbreak of bi-polar disorder. 

The authors bring all these things together, and more, in ways that are both plausible and reasonable from point of view of human psychology.  As I was reading the book I thought about how many times I had done the same or similar things for precisely the reasons delineated, event thinking in the terms expressed in the book.  Unlike the insights of Malcolm Gladwell and company, these seem to be both well-founded and clearly defined.  Moreover, the authors provide some insight into how one might avoid the traps that such trends in thought lead to.

Very enjoyable, very insightful--in a light sort of way.  And therefore, highly recommended to those interested in trends in thought, thinking, and cognition.

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