Do people really work better if they get paid more? This is how bankers finally justify their adventurous bonuses. To test this, Dan Ariely, behavioral economist and psychologist at Duke University, offered subjects one-hour to participate in a harmless experiment up to five times their monthly earnings. And so there were no complaints from the university administration, the study was outsourced to India. Amazing result: The highest paid participants delivered the worst performance.
Ariely's book is a collection of such tips against his "rational economist friends (yes, I still have a few)". With many examples and experiments he proves that people often prefer to follow their feelings rather than their minds - and why that is sometimes not so bad. Why do many appreciate the laboriously, but unfortunately wrongly put together Ikea shelf more than the impeccably purchased one? Why do some people donate for a dog that drives on a deserted ship in the Pacific, but not for the eradication of malaria? And why does the modern marriage market, despite online dating, constitute "one of the most blatant cases of market failure in Western societies"? Ariely has a compelling explanation for all of this in his well-translated book.
Before he finally says goodbye "with irrational greetings", he also gives all those expert advice that forge marriage plans: First of all, planning the wedding party with all the trappings - and only, if you still can feel good then, the decision to the wedding believe it. Jochen Paulus
Dan Ariely FEELS NOTHING TO HELP BUT Droemer, Munich 2010 368 p., € 19.99 ISBN 978-3-426-27551-1display