I just finished a great book that combines many of the concepts found in Stumbling on Happiness and Covert Persuasion with new studies and insight.
Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely goes chapter by chapter exposing how humans will predictably make the same errors. My favorite chapter was The High Price of Ownership. The author constructed tests showing how much more we value things that we own and that includes ideas.
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 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.
You also see this trait in finance. Investors fall in love with the stocks they own. Or they become perma-bulls or perma-bears. Then they surround themselves with evidence to support their beliefs. The end result is they are likely to stay in a position that has become overvalued.
The book Covert Persuasion was written for salespeople to exploit human flaws to make a sale. This book is written for the average person and each chapter ends with tips on how to minimize making those predictably irrational mistakes.