Optimally Irrational

By Lionel Page,

Book cover of Optimally Irrational: The Good Reasons We Behave the Way We Do

Book description

For a long time, economists have assumed that we were cold, self-centred, rational decision makers - so-called Homo economicus; the last few decades have shattered this view. The world we live in and the situations we face are of course rich and complex, revealing puzzling aspects of our behaviour. Optimally…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Optimally Irrational as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

From this book, I learned that cognitive errors and human misbehaviours are not necessarily in contradiction to rationality.

It taught me that the generally negative perspective on psychological mechanisms provided by behavioural economics is limited. By contrast, a deeper understanding of what rationality means is needed. This book enriched my own way of analyzing how psychological factors impact daily decisions.

I have followed the debate over the efficacy of the rational man model that underpins the theories of economics (so-called homo economicus) closely. Is, as many psychologists have claimed, homo economicus dead? Or does homo economicus still have a pulse and need to be revived? I like the way Lionel Page bravely tackles this debate.

Although he is not blind to the shortcomings of the rational man model, he illustrates that there are good reasons for the departures from it that have been identified over the past two to three decades. Far from trying to put another nail in the…

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