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Dan Ariely Quotes

Dan Ariely

Dan Ariely quotes: the professor’s popular soundbites.

“The things that motivate us are to help other people, to feel that we’re useful, to feel that we’re getting better, to feel that we are kind of living to our potential, to get a sense of meaning. All of those things are positive.”

“Giving up on our long-term goals for immediate gratification, my friends, is procrastination.”

“Experiments teach us humility. Understanding how often you are wrong is incredibly helpful. Doubting our intuition, keeping an open mind and experimenting is critical. Failing in a magnificent way means you tried, failed and learnt.”

“I think of three categories of decisions. Little decisions (e.g. buying a coffee or donut)—these I don’t pay attention to. Big decisions are those which we can do better at with a bit of effort. Then, there are habits—this, I do think about. If I set up a few good habits, then there can be huge impact in my life.”

“If you get people to feel that they are putting something, that they are creating it and so on, their love for the project would increase. The more something is yours, the more you’re willing to invest in it.”

Marketing is all about providing information that will heighten someone’s anticipated and real pleasure.”

“Brands communicate in two directions: they help us tell other people something about ourselves, but they also help us form ideas about who we are.”

“A promising way for companies to create trust is by proactively addressing consumers’ complaints.”

“If you’re a company, my advice is to remember that you can’t have it both ways. You can’t treat your customers like family one moment and then treat them impersonally; or, even worse, as a nuisance or a competitor… a moment later… when this becomes more convenient or profitable. This is not how social relationships work. If you want a social relationship, go for it, but remember that you have to maintain it under all circumstances.”

“On the other hand, if you think you may have to play tough from time to time—charging extra for additional services or rapping knuckles swiftly to keep the consumers in line—you might not want to waste money in the first place on making your company the fuzzy feel-good choice. In that case, stick to a simple value proposition: state what you give and what you expect in return. Since you’re not setting up any social norms or expectations, you also can’t violate any. After all, it’s just business.”

“When we think about labor, we usually think about motivation and payment as the same thing, but the reality is that we should probably add all kinds of things to it—meaning, creation, challenges, ownership, identity, pride, etc.”

“Disasters are usually a good time to re-examine what we’ve done so far, what mistakes we’ve made, and what improvements should come next.”

“The fact that we make mistakes also means that there are always ways to improve our decisions.”

“Irrational is when we act in ways that we don’t understand or predict. This matters because it gives us an opportunity to get into trouble. Even good people, fantastic people with the best intentions in the world, tend to see the world from the perspective of what is good for them financially.”

“We are all far less rational in our decision-making than standard economic theory assumes. Our irrational behaviors are neither random nor senseless: they are systematic and predictable. We all make the same types of mistakes over and over, because of the basic wiring of our brains.”

“The idea that you will make the right decision every time is very unlikely.”

“With everything you do, in fact, you should train yourself to question your repeated behaviors.”

“We all want explanations for why we behave as we do and for the ways the world around us functions. Even when our feeble explanations have little to do with reality. We’re storytelling creatures by nature, and we tell ourselves story after story until we come up with an explanation that we like and that sounds reasonable enough to believe. And when the story portrays us in a more glowing and positive light, so much the better.”

“We need to believe that we’re good people, and we’ll do just about anything to maintain that perception.”

“Language allows us to create tremendous advantages. The invention of the wheel. The invention of money. Memory. We have really incredible memory for ideas. Abstract thinking. And then maybe the other one is that we are inherently social animals. We care about other people. We have what is called ‘social utility.’ We can put ourselves in the position of other people. We have empathy. We care about others, which allows us to create societies that rely on each other and get tremendous benefit from each other.”

“Ownership is not limited to material things. It can also apply to points of view. Once we take ownership of an idea—whether it’s about politics or sports—what do we do? We love it perhaps more than we should. We prize it more than it is worth. And most frequently, we have trouble letting go of it because we can’t stand the idea of its loss. What are we left with then? An ideology—rigid and unyielding.”

“The danger of expecting nothing is that, in the end, it might be all we’ll get.”

“Resisting temptation and instilling self-control are general human goals, and repeatedly failing to achieve them is a source of much of our misery.”

“As we create more technology, we seem to find more ways to kill ourselves. Smoking, texting and driving, etc. The big question is how can we help people eat better, exercise more, sleep right, etc. We haven’t made progress on these. Instead, we’ve made better donuts and made Facebook more addictive.”

“America’s top killer isn’t cancer or heart disease, nor is it smoking or obesity. It’s our inability to make smart choices and overcome our own self-destructive behaviors. Estimate that about half of us will make a lifestyle decision that will ultimately lead us to an early grave. And as if this were not bad enough, it seems that the rate at which we make these deadly decisions is increasing at an alarming pace.”

“I suspect that over the next few decades, real improvements in life expectancy and quality are less likely to be driven by medical technology than by improved decision making. Since focusing on long-term benefits is not our natural tendency, we need to more carefully examine the cases in which we repeatedly fail, and try to come up with some remedies for these situations. For an overweight movie lover, the key might be to enjoy watching a film while walking on the treadmill. The trick is to find the right behavioral antidote for each problem. By pairing something that we love with something that we dislike but that is good for us, we might be able to harness desire with outcome—and thus overcome some of the problems with self-control we face every day.”

“When trying to develop healthy habits, we should focus on rewarding the behavior instead of the outcome.”

“Stick to your rules, you’re probably going to do okay. But what happens is that most of us create rules and then we don’t stick to them, because we are tempted at the moment, so sticking to our rules is important.”

“Everything long-term is hard in practice. We have a hard time not overeating. Saving money. Not texting and driving. Washing our hands. You name it. We’re in general not good about anything that requires sacrifice in the short-term for the long-term.”

“The most difficult thing is to recognize that sometimes we too are blinded by our own incentives. Because we don’t see how our conflicts of interest work on us.”

“We usually think of ourselves as sitting in the driver’s seat, with ultimate control over the decisions we made and the direction our life takes; but, alas, this perception has more to do with our desires—with how we want to view ourselves, than with reality.”

Money is a wonderful invention. It lets us save, it lets us specialize, right? I couldn’t be a professor if there wasn’t any money. Every day I would have to raise chicken and bread and broccoli and go ahead and spend all my time trading. So, money is a wonderful mechanism.”

“Money is all about opportunity cost. Every time you spend on something, that’s something you can’t spend on something else.”

“You can think about life as a battle between you and a doughnut shop. The doughnut shop wants you to eat another doughnut and pay the money, and you want to do it in the short-term, but in the long-term it’s not good for you either financially or from a health perspective.”

“Rainy day savings are incredibly important, because from time to time, bad things happen. And if you’re not prepared for that, it’s going to be really terrible.”

“That’s a lesson we can all learn: the more we have, the more we want. And the only cure is to break the cycle of relativity.”

“The people who need to overcome temptation to the highest degree have the hardest time doing it.”

“Acknowledge your weakness and set your deadlines. Also set yourself short-term awards when reaching long-term goals.”

“Simplify! Simplify! And, indeed, simplification is one mark of real genius.”

“Once you break the social norm and create a new social norm, all of a sudden it can stay with us for a long time.”

“When parents have college savings accounts for their kids, their kids show higher social and cognitive performance.”

“We should teach the students, as well as executives, how to conduct experiments, how to examine data, and how to use these tools to make better decisions.”

“I was badly burned in an accident when I was a teenager. When I left the hospital and I joined university, my first study was on how to remove bandages from burned patient. You know, the nurses used to rip the bandages off quickly. I didn’t like it. I used to argue with them and at university I started studying and learned that the nurses were wrong. I wrote about it a lot. They had the wrong intuition. You might call this experience my first entry into social science.”

“We usually think about academia as you accumulate data base by reading papers and get knowledge and so on. I decided to walk a different path. Anyone who wants an hour or two of my time, I give it to them without charge. And that came with some unintended consequences: by being open to people from all over the world and hear about their start-ups and what they’re working on I gained a lot of working knowledge. Therefore, I can make better applied suggestions because I understand the environment that the people are living in. So, this adventure turned out to be incredibly fulfilling.”

“I basically have lots of things coming at me that are really interesting, and I look at my objective, which is trying to help people. I measure ‘being helpful’ by how many people I can help, and by how much. I engage in projects impacting society and people’s lives.”

“One influential habit I have is not to waste time on things I don’t want to waste time on. I think there’s a risk of getting sucked into Facebook, YouTube, or other things, and if I do those things, I do it for a very short time; I limit myself. And another good set of rules I follow is to exercise.”

“In running back and forth among the things that might be important, we forget to spend enough time on what really is important.”

“Take more chances. We are privileged to live long. Think of life as an opportunity for continuous learning. Education is never over. Keep on thinking of life as what we are going to learn and get better.”

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