Mike O'Brien wants to take you on a journey — through you. The CBC science columnist is now the host of a great new summer show, Strange Animal. From understanding why we pay good money to be scared witless on a roller-coaster to why we swear, even when we're taught not to, Mike will be taking listeners through the ins and outs, hows and whys of human behaviour.
To celebrate Mike's new show, we asked him to offer some insight into one of our favourite elements of human behaviour: reading. We asked Mike to recommend one read for the summer. Here's what he had to say:
"My pick is The Upside of Irrationality by Dan Ariely. I host a weekly radio column about human behaviour (Strange Animal, soon to be a major motion summer radio series). I picked up Ariely's book looking for column fodder, but I came away with enough surprising stories to hold court at 10 dinner parties. I also came away feeling a lot more comforted by my own eccentricities. It turns out I'm not alone in doing things that often don't make sense. Ariely recounts real experiments he's conducted that show why so many prevailing assumptions about how the world works are wrong. For example, he shows how enormous bonuses will actually reduce employee productivity, rather than encourage it. Ariely used Lego blocks to prove that, happily, we do care about the meaning of our work, and not just the pay. He offers up many examples of illogical behavior, in such diverse areas as dating, revenge, charitable giving and do-it-yourself projects. Ariely is a professor of behavioral psychology and economics at Duke University, but he makes sure the letters after his name never bog down the letters on the page. His voice is jargon-free, charming and often funny. The book doesn't excuse all of the illogical actions of our species; Ariely shows often enough how these actions have negative consequences. If anything, this book reminds us that sociology and psychology benefit from having the most unpredictable, inexplicable test subjects: people."
Take science seriously while laughing out loud with Strange Animal, which premiered on June 28 and will air Tuesdays and Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. on CBC Radio One.
The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home
Buy this book at:
"In his groundbreaking book Predictably Irrational, social scientist Dan Ariely revealed the multiple biases that lead us into making unwise decisions. Now, in The Upside of Irrationality, he exposes the surprising negative and positive effects irrationality can have on our lives. Focusing on our behaviors at work and in relationships, he offers new insights and eye-opening truths about what really motivates us on the job, how one unwise action can become a long-term habit, how we learn to love the ones we're with, and more."
Read more at HarperCollins Canada.