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Saturday, April 17, 2010

book of the month

I haven't recommended any books lately, cuz I have mostly been reading fiction. I don't like to recommend fiction choices because everyone likes different stuff. With non-fiction, if you are interested in the subject, you are good.

Sway: the irresistible pull of irrational behavior
by Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman

I just liked this book. It has lots of psych studies, which I enjoy. It explains why we do such stupid things at times- and how to avoid this.

One funny section involved "who wants to be a millionaire". In France, one contestant blanked on "what revolves around the earth? mars, venus, sun or moon" and had to ask the audience. 56 percent said the sun, and he went with it, and the audience LAUGHED. They had lied, on purpose, cuz they thought he was too dumb to deserve the money. In Russia, contestants never use the ask the audience, because they always lie. They don't think anyone deserves money "on the backs of others". Interesting, huh?

Another good study was done with 2 people. One was giving money, say a hundred bucks, and told to divide it up with another person he had no contact with. The other person could accept it, or deny. If denied, no one got money. In America, most divided it 50/50 and were accepted. If they divided it ANYTHING less than that, the second person was willing to walk away with NOTHING instead of less than half, just on the "it's not fair" principle. In a small bush town in Africa, the most common division was 85/15 on the principle that the 2nd person didn't really deserve anything, so any amount was a gift, and it was almost always accepted. The only people that rejected it were found to have spent time with Americans and felt fifty fifty was fair. Would you give up, say, 40 bucks on principle? Or just take it happily?

An all around interesting book!

Have a good weekend!



  1. I said I would give 50, Andrew said 40. :) It's why he doesn't let me negotiate when buying cars...

  2. I'm bored. It's been over a week since you've updated...

    Haha. Just harrassing you to get you worked up. ;)

  3. I don't understand why they wouldn't accept it regardless of the amount. It's still money that you wouldn't otherwise have gotten, whether it's $1 or $99. Weird.

  4. It has to do with fairness. Apparently Americans are obsessed with fairness, and would rather screw both people than do anything percieved as unfair!