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February 1, 2010

A few months ago, I found out about an author named Dan Ariely. His work fascinated me, so I blogged about it a few times (How to Get Someone to Say Yes, The Power of an Irrelevant Option, and The Power of Origin Stories). I also started reading his blog.

A few months ago, Dan posted an offer of sorts on his blog. He asked readers to send in stories (fictional or true) about irrational behavior (that’s the subject of his latest book, Predictably Irrational), and he’d pick a few good ones and post them on his blog.

Today I was reading his blog, and lo and behold, he published my story!!!

This absolutely blows my mind. I’ll be honest–it’s big. 3,700 people subscribe to Dan’s blog. I don’t know how many daily visitors he gets, but to give you a rough idea, my blog has 33 subscribers, but I averaged 458 daily hits in January. Not only that, but it’s friggin’ Dan Ariely!!!

Go check out the story. It’s my first attempt at a fable of sorts. It’s a 3-4 minute read.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Grandma Janet permalink
    February 1, 2010 3:25 pm

    I really enjoyed reading your blog. Gave me impetece to start cleaning drawers and decluttering. thanks Jamey. I really am so proud of you. you are so good at what i hate to do writing

  2. Bryce permalink
    February 1, 2010 10:10 pm

    Congrats Jamey! I read about half of PI before I had to return it to the library and it was really interesting. Quite an honor to be published by the man himself. Well done!

    • February 1, 2010 10:17 pm

      Thanks dude. I was absolutely flattered. I never even actually heard from him by e-mail or anything–I just sent him the story months ago, and then there it was today. Not that I mind!

  3. T-Mac permalink
    February 2, 2010 7:49 am

    Wow! This is awesome. Great job. Your writing is starting to get the acclaim that it deserves!

  4. Bob permalink
    February 2, 2010 11:20 pm

    Good stuff.

  5. Bookrat permalink
    February 5, 2010 1:28 pm

    I posted a comment under your story on the PI blog, regarding how I did not understand the ending. Another someone followed it up to confirm that they had the same confusion about the story.

    Would it be possible for you to address my question, preferably on that forum? Please and thank you!

    • February 5, 2010 3:42 pm

      Thanks for alerting me to this–I just replied on that thread.

      • Bookrat permalink
        February 8, 2010 2:14 pm

        I appreciate the intent… but I’m not seeing any new posts in that thread. (The count has been at 9 since Friday.)

        Something wrong over there, you reckon? Or something wrong on my end? (Can you — Jamey — see your reply? Can anyone else reading this see his reply?)


        • February 8, 2010 2:32 pm

          Man…I wrote out a lengthy reply, and it’s not there. I think Dan has to approve all comments on the boards. I can just post the basic gist of my reply here.

          The key to why it’s a net loss for the church is in this line: “Well, it wasn’t his house—it was the church’s—so it made sense for St. Gabriel’s to write a check for a new kitchen, an extension for a new library and study, and a wrap-around porch. The down payment dipped a bit into the following week’s projected earnings, but he wasn’t concerned.”

          So the priest actually left the church in debt after he didn’t carry through with a great homily the following week. Also, he had spent all the funds up until that point on little changes instead of some of the big renovations the church really needed.

          Thanks so much for your comments! I really appreciate it. I don’t think I did my job as a storyteller if what I meant to convey didn’t come through clearly, so I’ll continue to work on that.

          • Bookrat permalink
            February 8, 2010 3:19 pm

            Aaah, okay! I see where you were going now, and I also understand why I missed it. I only read that he had chosen to spend all the funds NOW (on a Mercedes and renovations), and not that he had also mortgaged against future funds. As you said, the key is in *that line* … and if you don’t read *that line* properly, then the ending doesn’t make nearly as much sense.

            If I may say, though… having the church actually be WORSE off changes the character of Father Bernard’s mistake significantly. He goes from someone who did a few great things but frittered away his chance to make truly spectacular changes (two more great homilies and he’d have raised almost $1 million!) into someone who actively hurt other people through his hubris. He becomes much less sympathetic, and (IMHO) it reduces the potency of your message.

            After all, most of us can imagine ourselves in the place of someone who failed … but we would rather believe that we would not hurt other people — either deliberately or through callous lack of foresight. Thus our empathy for Fr. Bernard is reduced, and we think that we could not be like that, and our hearts are hardened to the message that yes, we could and do make the mistake of projecting present trends into the future.

            I have a further thought or two on this, including one potential fix, but don’t want to take up any more blog space. You should have my email with the comment; if you are interested please write.

            Thanks for clearing up my confusion!

            • February 8, 2010 3:59 pm

              Thanks so much–you’re a fantastic reader to have put such time and thought into this.

              In writing the story, I wasn’t all that focused on making the reader perceive Fr. Bernard one way or the other. I was more interested in how human nature would work in such a situation. And it didn’t have to be a church. I think everyone is presented with some sort of altruistic opportunity at some point in our lives. There’s always the potential to think, “I’m doing all this good, so I deserve this perk.” That’s the danger of pride, in my opinion.

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