Books on Bahavioral Psychology

Why Do People Do the Things They Do?

Why do people do the things they do? That is the subject of “behavioral psychology” which can be quite an interesting subject. If you didn’t get a chance to take such classes in college, there are numerous books out for the general public about this subject. A few are listed below…

Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior

By Ori and Rom Brafman, this book explains some of the psychological forces that are in play that sometimes cause us to make irrational decisions. Written by two brothers, Ari and Rom Brafman, the book gives many real-life historical examples of how people had made irrational decisions — sometimes leading to terrible consequences.

One striking example is that of an experienced pilot who took the plane off without clearance at Tenerife causing one of the worst airline accident. Another is how doctors failed to perform the necessary tests causing the death of a child. How can experienced professional who normally would know better had made this mistakes? This book examines that situational and psychological forces are at play (some of which are quite strong) that causes people to sometimes make irrational mistakes.

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely.

MIT professor Dan Ariely studies behavioral economics. He says that there are situations where it is very predictable that people will behave irrationality. Watch video of him explaining how we are fooled by an optical illusion.

The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less

Author Barry Schwartz explains the paradox of why sometimes having more choice actually makes us less likely to be able to make a decision. And when we do, we are less happy about it.

Blind Spots: Why Smart People Do Dumb Things by Madeleine Van Hecke

Clinical psychologist Van Hecke says that we all have psychological blind spots. He devotes each chapter to discussing one blind spot such as “Jumping to Conclusions”, “Missing the Big Picture”, “Fuzzy Evidence”, and more.