Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It)

Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It)

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By (author) William Poundstone

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  • Publisher: Hill & Wang
  • Format: Paperback | 336 pages
  • Dimensions: 137mm x 206mm x 25mm | 318g
  • Publication date: 4 January 2011
  • ISBN 10: 0809078813
  • ISBN 13: 9780809078813
  • Sales rank: 26,823

Product description

Prada stores carry a few obscenely expensive items in order to boost sales for everything else (which look like bargains in comparison). People used to download music for free, then Steve Jobs convinced them to pay. How? By charging 99 cents. That price has a hypnotic effect: the profit margin of the 99 Cents Only store is twice that of Wal-Mart. Why do text messages cost money, while e-mails are free? Why do jars of peanut butter keep getting smaller in order to keep the price the "same"? The answer is simple: prices are a collective hallucination. In "Priceless," the bestselling author William Poundstone reveals the hidden psychology of value. In psychological experiments, people are unable to estimate "fair" prices accurately and are strongly influenced by the unconscious, irrational, and politically incorrect. It hasn't taken long for marketers to apply these findings. "Price consultants" advise retailers on how to convince consumers to pay more for less, and negotiation coaches offer similar advice for businesspeople cutting deals. The new psychology of price dictates the design of price tags, menus, rebates, "sale" ads, cell phone plans, supermarket aisles, real estate offers, wage packages, tort demands, and corporate buyouts. Prices are the most pervasive hidden persuaders of all. Rooted in the emerging field of behavioral decision theory, "Priceless" should prove indispensable to anyone who negotiates.

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Author information

William Poundstone is the author of two previous Hill and Wang books: "Fortune's Formula" and "Gaming the Vote."

Review quote

“"Priceless" is an instructive and entertaining romp through the hits of recent research on decision making, which will leave you amused, smarter, and wondering about what money and prices really mean.”" —"Daniel Kahneman, professor emeritus, Princeton University, and winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics “A powerful argument that should be a wake-up call to everyone who still subscribes to the old model of economics.” —Dan Ariely, author of "Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions" “Poundstone has managed to write a book that is fun to read and yet well-researched and substantive. Without a minute of suffering the reader gets to know nearly all the key contributors to the science of decision making. Recommended for anyone who has to make decisions.” —Richard H. Thaler, coauthor (with Cass R. Sunstein) of "Nudge: Improving Decisions on Health, Wealth and Happiness" “The psycholog