Some time ago I realized that I was a bit tired of the dryness of academic writing, and I wanted to write something different and fun (at least for me).
After some contemplation I decided to combine my passion for the kitchen with my passion for my research and write a guide for the kitchen from the perspective of decision making and human irrationality. I was excited. I even found a name for the project–Dining Without Crumbs: The Art of Eating Over the Kitchen Sink.
Excited, I sat down and wrote a book proposal. When I finished, I gave it to MIT press and e-mailed it to a few literary agents. As it turned out, no one was very excited about the idea of a social scientist writing a guide to the kitchen. Eventually I got good advice from Susan Arellano, a literary agent that was representing my good friend Greg Berns. She told me that no one would publish my guide to the kitchen because I didn’t have the reputation as having any expertise in this domain (not to mention the fact that I really didn’t have any expertise), and that if I really wanted to publish this book, I should first write a book about my research, and once that first book was published, the odds of my kitchen guide getting published would be much better.
If this was the price I had to pay for publishing my kitchen guide, “So be it,” I thought, and almost immediately started writing a book about my research. Somewhat unexpectedly, I found writing about my research engaging and fun; I always looked forward to getting back to my computer and continuing work on it. About a year later with the approval of Claire Wachtel, my editor at HarperCollins, Predictably Irrational went to press, and so it is time to focus on my main objective and get serious about my kitchen guide.
And this is why I wrote Predictably Irrational.