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Dan Ariely takes 'Irrationality' to Series of Talks at Chautauqua

Ariely at Chautauqua

Duke behavioral economist Dan Ariely (pictured speaking above) had some summer learning lessons for hundreds of people during a week of talks on "Irrationality" at the annual Chautauqua Institution.

Ariely, whose best-selling book "Predictably Irrational" explains how arbitrary forces influence human behavior, spoke at the prominent summer forum, where for more than a century leading American writers, scholars and leaders have delivered public talks on key issues.

Chautauqua is like “an intellectual Woodstock,” said Richard Chady, an OLLI at Duke member, who was one of several lifelong learners from Durham who attended the talk.  The conference is set in a 750-acre leafy enclave of homes, guesthouses and restaurants nestled around a lake in upstate New York. It's featured Mark Twain, Franklin Roosevelt, Bill Clinton and more recently Jim Lehrer and Roger Rosenblatt.

With a different theme for each week, the visitors hear world-class speakers, attend book talks, classes and church services, exercise and enjoy the performing arts. It's an "edification vacation,” Chady says.

Sue Kister of Durham, a retired librarian and OLLI member, says, "Not for me a beach or a boat, I prefer lectures, the performing arts and the serendipitous experiences offered at Chautauqua. It's the perfect learning vacation."

Each spring, Triangle Friends of Chautauqua hosts a luncheon in the Triangle with a speaker from the institute. If you'd like to be invited next year, contact Sue Kister at

For information, see