Book Club (Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely): Chapter 3…

Some thoughts while reading… in order as they appeared while reading through the chapter… 


The chocolates made me think of a mental foot in the door… at free the foot never gets in… at even one cent it gets a foot in the door to spending money, then we are much more willing to weight our decisions. 

  • It’s… ok, I am going to spend some money (foot in the door), now I should do it in a rational weigh. 
  • I also felt the first study was skewed by an aspect of laziness… Similar options and one involves no effort; I might very well just choose the one that requires no effort… Technically takes time and effort. 
  • I felt the second study didn’t necessarily rule that possibility (Laziness, lack of effort) out of the first one. 
  • The second study was much more well designed free! Experiment/study in my opinion 
  • Some people actually prefer Hershey! (side note)… just that results could be skewed a little. 
  • Either way, these studies have caught my attention to the mental power of free and that it holds a special mental power over us… which we can also combat by being self-aware and made more conscious of our decisions (By reading books and studies like these!) 

When reading about the dvd players it makes you realize what a valuable tool the internet can be for combating manipulation by seeking out information. Although, even then so many reviews and testimonials are designed to also manipulate us. 

  • I might think about how much weight I put into amazon reviews, which even good and bad reviews can often be manufactured and used for manipulation. The amazon review trap is a very tough one for me personally… The vasy majority of people just don’t take the time to review things, unless of course they had a particularly extreme feeling about it. (I think the only thing I ever reviewed was a self-help book that helped me out a lot, life changing even!) 


With the gift certificate… the free may also be appealing because the certificate is to a particular store usually and who knows if you will use it. Plus, certificates also get us to spend money we weren’t planning on, because we have to go over the amount to use it all. Then there are other reasons; just in general I think people with experience with gift cards may be more prone to just take a free one… 


The Amazon Free! Event is a bit disheartening… You like to think they have your economic and environmental interests in mind… but if the goal is just to sell as much as possible it shows you one of the reasons why our environment is being destroyed at such an alarming rate… I could go on from here for a long time about things like this… 

  • I can only hope the dramatic sales increase was an initial response and that people just bought more things in bulk that they needed… Then it may actually be a good thing that they did it… Instead of just buying one or two things at a time and having it mailed over multiple deliveries (bad for the environment), perhaps people just bundled everything together for one delivery (better for the environment)… That may have been their plan all along! 

I didn’t really think the Amazon & AOL were good examples of Free!… To me it seemed that people were being more economically savvy for the most part and in the case of AOL, finally getting what they wanted. 

  • I do agree that we probably do often “Overreact to free” though, like he goes on to say… quite alluring! 

When he was talking about the museum, I was thinking what a good example it was in a way of how equilibrium prices come to be sometimes… the power of the free market… 

  • While we sometimes hate equilibrium prices, they are often important and necessary until situations change… not always of course 
  • Thinking of entertainment… When you price something too cheap and too many people show up, it can be a problem… can make a lot of people mad that don’t get in after making the trip to the venue (can probably start some mini riots sometimes!)… Internet pre-sales have helped a lot with this though, not many people just show up places without purchasing things ahead of time anymore! 
  • I would still say the power of free! also played a large part on that museum day though. 

I am not convinced with the proposed dinner payment plan! Lol 

  • Especially living paycheck to paycheck 
  • May be a better proposal for the financially well off 
  • The logic is sounder if not logically sound if everybody buys the same thing every time, like he showed when he did the math. Granted everyone is unique and it is hard to call anything logically sound when dealing with people/psychology/sociology, we are so complex and not just cookie cutter computers. 
  • I probably wouldn’t suggest it… leaves a lot of room for error and potentially bad blood/relationship problems… I could see a lot of suffering in silence and getting back at people as well… I could foresee resentment for sure. 

I do concur that the price of zero “plays a unique role in our decisions”. 

  • Shows a weak point in our human reasoning 
  • Arming ourselves with the knowledge, and being more self-aware would seem the best course of action… I am not sure how anything in this realm could ever be legislated. 
  • Even knowing all of this… it can still be very hard to not give in! 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s