Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior is yet another addition to the rapidly growing body of works written to introduce the average schmo to the wonders of behavioral economics. Written by Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman, this is an quick and easy introduction to cognitive biases and how they affect our everyday lives.

There is no central theme to this book, other than that humans are not rational animals. They focus primarily on the biases of loss aversion, value attribution, and the diagnosis bias, although they touch on others along the way. They base their discussion firmly on science, although they avoid the technical details of the experiments and don't get bogged down in analyzing the results further than needed to make their points. They use a lot of anecdotal examples, although they avoid using these examples as evidence. This book makes a good introduction to behavioral economics and cognitive biases, and it is enjoyable and educational even if you already have some knowledge in these areas. Sway is very much reminiscent of books like Freakonomics and Blink in terms of readability and entertainment.

Sway (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Swayed (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Swaying.] [OE. sweyen, Icel. sveigja, akin to E. swing; cf. D. zwaaijen to wield, swing. See Swing, and cf. Swag, v. i.]


To move or wield with the hand; to swing; to wield; as, to sway the scepter.

As sparkles from the anvil rise, When heavy hammers on the wedge are swayed. Spenser.


To influence or direct by power and authority; by persuasion, or by moral force; to rule; to govern; to guide.

The will of man is by his reason swayed. Shak.

She could not sway her house. Shak.

This was the race To sway the world, and land and sea subdue. Dryden.


To cause to incline or swing to one side, or backward and forward; to bias; to turn; to bend; warp; as, reeds swayed by wind; judgment swayed by passion.

As bowls run true by being made On purpose false, and to be swayed. Hudibras.

Let not temporal and little advantages sway you against a more durable interest. Tillotson.

4. Naut.

To hoist; as, to sway up the yards.

Syn. -- To bias; rule; govern; direct; influence; swing; move; wave; wield.


© Webster 1913.

Sway (?), v. i.


To be drawn to one side by weight or influence; to lean; to incline.

The balance sways on our part. Bacon.


To move or swing from side to side; or backward and forward.


To have weight or influence.

The example of sundry churches . . . doth sway much. Hooker.


To bear sway; to rule; to govern.

Hadst thou swayed as kings should do. Shak.


© Webster 1913.

Sway, n.


The act of swaying; a swaying motion; the swing or sweep of a weapon.

With huge two-handed sway brandished aloft. Milton.


Influence, weight, or authority that inclines to one side; as, the sway of desires.

A. Tucker.


Preponderance; turn or cast of balance.

Expert When to advance, or stand, or turn the sway Of battle. Milton.


Rule; dominion; control.


When vice prevails, and impious men bear sway, The post of honor is a private station. Addison.


A switch or rod used by thatchers to bind their work.

[Prov. Eng.]


Syn. -- Rule; dominion; power; empire; control; influence; direction; preponderance; ascendency.


© Webster 1913.

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