Daily Archives: June 11, 2010

Priceless by William Poundstone

The subtitle of Priceless is The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It), so I was looking forward to some interesting discussions on pricing, and indeed the pricing segments are excellent. They are not as numerous as one might think, however, and the rest of the (exhaustive, bordering exhausting) material is a rehash of many other psychological experiments already recounted in the many other books, some of which he cites,  that probe how we make decisions. Some of the experiments are so contrived that it seems difficult to question the judgment of the poor psychology 101 students who seem to leave so much money on the table. Perhaps they have a heart after all, is that so bad? And perhaps they are right to balk at any risk of loss, since in real life it’s often hard to distinguish small losses and catastrophic ones. (I will admit that they surely, definitely need a math refresher, specifically about probabilities!)

Still, the writing is lively and there’s plenty to learn, both on a personal and business level. I’ll stick to my clockwise method at the supermarket since it seems to be a way to save money! And I will continue to create super-premium offers even if they don’t sell, just so that customers feel they have permission to buy the premium offers.

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Filed under Non fiction