Mark Gritter (markgritter) wrote,
Mark Gritter
markgritter

Priceless

I just finished William Poundstone's Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It). As usual, the subtitle is entirely misleading; far from that being the theme of the book, the book lacks any overall structure at all. It's like 57 New Scientist articles on psychology and behavioral economics. They're all individually interesting, but it gets tiresome.

57 is not a random number. That is how many chapters are in the book, each detailing one or two experiments, or a mini-biography of one of the researchers. The shortest such is two pages long. The book is divided up into four parts at essentially arbitrary locations, and contains no introduction or conclusion. "Anchoring" gets revisited several times, as well as numerous variations on the ultimatum game. There are interesting digressions on price consultants, airfare, rebates, economists poopooing psychology experiments, car salesmen, sexism, and a lot of other areas. A couple chapters make semi-practical suggestions. But overall it's a mess.

So, this was fairly disappointing. I still love The Recursive Universe. Gaming the Vote was a good read (although sometimes suffered from the same lack of focus as this one.) But I have zero desire at this point to pick up Fortune's Formula.
Tags: books
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