- Why is paying for things painful?
- Why are we comfortable overpaying for something in the present just because we’ve overpaid for it in the past?
- Why is it easy to pay $4 for a soda on vacation, when we wouldn’t spend more than $1 on that same soda at our local grocery store?
We think of money as numbers, values, and amounts, but when it comes down to it, when we actually use our money, we engage our hearts more than our heads. Emotions play a powerful role in shaping our financial behavior, often making us our own worst enemies as we try to save, access value, and spend responsibly. In Dollars and Sense, bestselling author and behavioral economist Dan Ariely teams up with financial comedian and writer Jeff Kreisler to challenge many of our most basic assumptions about the precarious relationship between our brains and our money. In doing so, they undermine many of personal finance’s most sacred beliefs and explain how we can override some of our own instincts to make better financial choices.
Exploring a wide range of everyday topics—from the lure of pain-free spending with credit cards to the pitfalls of household budgeting to the seductive power of holiday sales—Ariely and Kreisler demonstrate how our misplaced confidence in our spending habits frequently leads us astray, costing us more than we realize, whether it’s the real value of the time we spend driving forty-five minutes to save $10 or our inability to properly assess what the things we buy are actually worth. Together Ariely and Kreisler reveal the emotional forces working against us and how we can counteract them. Mixing case studies and anecdotes with concrete advice and lessons, they cut through the unconscious fears and desires driving our worst financial instincts and teach us how to improve our money habits.
The result not only reveals the rationale behind our most head-scratching financial choices but also offers clear guidance for navigating the treacherous financial landscape of the brain. Fascinating, engaging, funny, and essential, Dollars and Sense provides the practical tools we need to understand and improve our financial choices, save and spend smarter, and ultimately live better.
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About the Author
Dan Ariely is the bestselling author of Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality, and The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty. He is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University and is the founder of the Center for Advanced Hindsight. His work has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and elsewhere. He lives in North Carolina with his family.
Jeff Kreisler is just another Princeton educated lawyer turned award-winning comedian, author, speaker, TV pundit, speechwriter, and advocate for behavioral economics. The New York Times calls him "Delectable," Rachel Maddow (MSNBC) says, "You'll be laughing all the way to the bank," and his kids still think he's "cool." He specializes in money, politics, and other human encounters. His first book was the satire Get Rich Cheating. http://jeffkreisler.com
Table of Contents
Part I What Is Money?
1 Don't Bet On It 3
2 Opportunity Knocks 7
3 A Value Proposition 15
Part II How We Assess Value in Ways That Have Little To Do with Value
4 We Forget That Everything is Relative 21
5 We Compartmentalize 41
6 We Avoid Pain 61
7 We Trust Ourselves 93
8 We Overvalue What We Have 111
9 We Worry About Fairness and Effort 131
10 We Believe in the Magic of Language and Rituals 149
11 We Overvalue Expectations 167
12 We Lose Control 183
13 We Overemphasize Money 197
Part III Now What? Building on the Shoulders of Flawed Thinking
11 Put Your Money Where Your Mind Is 213
15 Free Advice 225
16 Control Yourself 227
17 It's Us Against Them 237
18 Stop and Think 253