Amazing Decisions: The Illustrated Guide to Improving Business Deals and Family Meals

Hill & Wang: Farrar. Jul. 2019. 224p. notes. ISBN 9780374103767. $35; pap. ISBN 9780374536749. $12.75. bus/personal growth
Ariely (James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics, Univ.; Predictably Irrational; The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty) teams with Trower (resident artist, Ctr. for Advanced Hindsight, Duke Univ.) to produce a straightforward, accessible guide to decision-making. The slight narrative centers on Adam, who is clueless about his daily interactions with friends and family. From a lab coat–garbed companion, Adam receives advice about his encounters with others that involves negotiating market and social values. In classic cartoon style, the “market fairy” and “social fairy” voice these points of view. Ariely shows how our social life, including gift giving, differs from a pure market analysis, and how business and the workplace are improved by nonmarket considerations and interpersonal relationships. The work then moves from individuals to discuss how solutions to social issues can be influenced by concepts about decision-making. Integrated throughout are behavioral studies explained with full citations. Trower’s uncluttered art effectively complements Ariely’s analysis, enlivening the text with humor.
VERDICT This clear volume makes Ariely’s ideas accessible to a wide audience interested in decision-making in either a personal or business context. [Previewed in Ingrid Bohnenkamp’s “Mass Appeal,” LJ 6/19.]

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