How-To Economics: Irrational Assurance Tips for Valentine’s Day

BY Paul Solman  February 14, 2011 at 11:34 AM EST

Our friend Dan Ariely, of behavioral psychology and economics fame, returns to Making Sen$e as a regular presence, starting today. The book that made him famous is called “Predictably Irrational,” but we think of Dan as ‘positively rational.’ That’s because his life mission is to deploy a rational understanding of our brain’s behavioral biases in the service of personal and general welfare. Such is the mission for which we’ve enlisted him here, as one of a series of eminent ‘utility enhancers’ — in plain English, happiness experts. They’ll be with us to bring the insights and discoveries of behavioral psychology and economics to improving life on earth, however marginally.

Dan begins, appropriately, on Valentine’s Day, with a short message of irrational reassurance.