Predictably Irrational, by Dan Ariely (31/107)

Another pop psychology book of the genre I enjoy, the ones that look at human behavior and attempt to spot patterns, so that we can better understand why we do the things we do. This one has more of an economic focus than others I’ve read, specifically examining the logic (or illogic, as it turns out) behind various purchasing habits. This is less interesting to me than other kinds of human behavior analysis, but it did open my eyes to some superior marketing strategies that I might try out if I were keeping my shop open longer.

It had some sporadically cool insights, but it covered a lot of the same ground that Cialdini’s Influence did, and I think Cialdini did it better. Influence, Made to Stick, and Freakonomics are getting hauled along when I move again; Predictably Irrational is not.

Stigma, by Erving Goffman

So there I am in my favorite gay dive bar, and I turn around and there is this fantastically hot guy standing there. Who’s seen Leverage, show of hands? This guy looked like Eliot when Eliot is doing his geek-chic disguise, with the glasses and his hair back in a ponytail. Commence gnawing on table.

Guy-who-looked-like-Eliot had been chatting animatedly with an obviously-straight girl, then at one point reached over to stub out a cigarette in the ashtray next to me. He glances up, our eyes catch, and I say,

“Hi.” :)

Which is apparently as good a pickup line as any, because he stayed and we got to talking. Got to talking about ~books!~, I don’t even know how, first about Fantasy That Doesn’t Suck, and then he said he tended to read more nonfiction, and I asked about his most recent reading and he said,

“Oh! Ah — yeah, it’s called, uhm, Pedagogy of the Oppressed.”

Sir, can I marry you? Like, right now?

Cuz usually I’m the one busting out shit like “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” in bar chat, and then watching the other person’s eyes glaze over, sometimes accompanied with a vague, “Wow, so you must be really smart, huh? o_o” To which I’m so tempted to say, I KNOW I AM, BUT WHAT ARE YOU?

…Which is why I rarely get laid. And I am okay with this.

“Oh oh oh!” I said. “If you’re interested in that sort of thing, then you should read Stigma, by Erving Goffman — it’s about how stigmatized minorities control perceptions of their identity. It’s a bit dated in its language, but still extremely insightful.”

Which is how I got his number, and a date a couple days later.

So let's talk about 'Stigma: Notes on a Spoiled Identity'