This was emailed to me three years ago, and is very amusing. Allan Friedman wrote posted it, but the link is dead, so I am posting here so it does not die.
How pop social scientists order at a restaurant August 23, 2005
Not new, but an utterly brilliant piece from kottke.org needs to be shared. A group of made-for-mass-consumption social science books have been released over the past few years looking at decision-making processes. How would their authors order at a restaurant?
Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
Glance quickly at the menu and order whatever catches your eye first. Spend no more than 2-3 seconds deciding or the quality of your choice (and your meal) will decline.
Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
The key to ordering a good meal in a restaurant is understanding the economic incentives involved. Ask the server what they recommend and order something else…they are probably trying to get you to order something with a high profit margin or a dish that the restaurant needs to get rid of before the chicken goes bad or something. Never order the second least expensive bottle of wine; it’s typically the one with the highest mark-up on the list (i.e. the worst deal).
The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz
Take the menu and rip it into 4 or 5 pieces. Order from only one of the pieces, ignoring the choices on the rest of the menu. You will be happier with your meal.
The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki
Poll the other patrons at the restaurant about what they’re having and order the most popular choices for yourself.
Everything Bad is Good for You by Steven Johnson
Order anything made with lots of butter, sugar, etc. Avoid salad or anything organic. A meal of all desserts may be appropriate. Or see if you can get the chef to make you a special dish like foie gras and bacon covered with butterscotch and hot fudge. Ideally, you will have brought a Super Sized McDonald’s Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese Meal into the restaurant with you. Smoke and drink liberally.