Professor of behavioral economics, Duke University; member of MIT's Media Lab Center for Future Banking
Big Idea: People are predictably irrational
Clients: Bank of America, Match.com, P&G
While serving in the Israeli army, Ariely suffered third-degree burns. Throughout his recovery, he found himself constantly questioning his doctors' decisions, specifically the
process of alleviating pain.
His curiosity about human behavior led to two Ph.D.s, and now he uses his research to advise companies on how to influence consumer decision-making. He's helped a large insurer reduce
cheating on its' claim forms, and he's helping create a toothbrush for Procter & Gamble that reminds people to take their prescription medication. Ariely, 41, also studies the
logic behind spending patterns - what consumers are willing to spend on a product vs. their understanding of its value. And that will make him a very popular man in this economy.NEXT: Niko Canner