Reading List: Sway – The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior

Sway is one of those books that makes you think about human behavior in an entirely different way.  By running through some common scenarios where people behave in seemingly inexplicable ways, and identifying some common themes, Ori and Ram Brafman provide perspectives and tools to help identify and avoid irrationality.  The story-telling reminded me a great deal of the styles of Malcolm Gladwell or Steven D. Levitt.  Anecdotal evidence was backed by some more rigorous analysis that made the ideas both compelling, and personally believable.

After reading this book, I settled on a new definition for Irrational Behavior: Acting in a way that is counter to or wasteful with regard to your true goals.

Just because someone doesn’t do what you want, doesn’t make them irrational, but when they start making choices that move them away from what they want, they have entered the realm of the irrational.