Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness Hardcover – Illustrated, Unabridged, 13 May 2008
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Hardcover, Illustrated, Unabridged
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"Two University of Chicago professors sketch a new approach to public policy that takes into account the odd realities of human behavior, like the deep and unthinking tendency to conform. Even in areas―like energy consumption―where conformity is irrelevant. Thaler has documented the ways people act illogically."―Barbara Kiviat, Time
"A manifesto for using the recent behavioral research to help people, as well as government agencies, companies and charities, make better decisions."―David Leonhardt, The New York Times Magazine
"Engaging, enlightening."―George Scialabba, Boston Sunday Globe
"Sunstein and Thaler are very persuasive. . . . Great fun to read."―Dahlia Lithwick, Slate
"An engaging and insightful tour through the evidence that most human beings don't make decisions in the way often characterized in elementary economics textbooks, along with a rich array of suggestions for enabling many of us to make better choices, both for ourselves and for society. . . . The conceptual argument is powerful, and most of the authors' suggestions are common sense at its best. . . . For that we should all applaud loudly."―Benjamin M. Friedman, New York Times Book Review
"By a 'nudge,' Thaler and Sunstein mean a policy intervention into choice architecture that is easy and inexpensive to avoid and that alters people's behavior in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing an individual's economic incentives. . . . Thaler and Sunstein stress that if 'incentives and nudges replace requirements and bans, government will be both smaller and more modest.'"―George F. Will, Newsweek
". . . an excellent rendition of how human beings view choices and make decisions."―Gurumurthy Kalyanaram & Sunanda Muralidharan, International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Management Vol 5.4
"The suggestions in Nudge provide fascinating examples of how tiny changes in context can cue radically different behaviour. Awareness of these cues empowers consumers, voters and decision-makers."―Rebecca Walberg, National Post
"Thaler and Sunstein are to be commended not merely for an engaging and innovative book, but also for adding nudges to the toolkit of policy makers."―Joel Anderson, Economics and Philosophy (26)
A 2007 Top Seller in Business and Economics as compiled by YBP Library Services
Selected as a finalist for the 2008 TIAA-CREF Paul A. Samuelson Award, given by the TIAA-CREF Institute
Named one of the best business books of 2008 by The Financial Times
Silver medal winner of the 2008 Book of the Year Award in the category of Business & Economics, presented by ForeWord magazine
Winner of the 2010 Kulp-Wright Book Award, given by the American Risk and Insurance Association
"In this utterly brilliant book, Thaler and Sunstein teach us how to steer people toward better health, sounder investments, and cleaner environments without depriving them of their inalienable right to make a mess of things if they want to. The inventor of behavioral economics and one of the nation's best legal minds have produced the manifesto for a revolution in practice and policy. Nudge won't nudge you―it will knock you off your feet."―Daniel Gilbert, professor of psychology, Harvard University, Author of Stumbling on Happiness
"This is an engaging, informative, and thoroughly delightful book. Thaler and Sunstein provide important lessons for structuring social policies so that people still have complete choice over their own actions, but are gently nudged to do what is in their own best interests. Well done."―Don Norman, Northwestern University, Author of The Design of Everyday Things and The Design of Future Things
"This book is terrific. It will change the way you think, not only about the world around you and some of its bigger problems, but also about yourself."―Michael Lewis, author of The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game and Liar's Poker
"Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein's Nudge is a wonderful book: more fun than any important book has a right to be―and yet it is truly both."―Roger Lowenstein, author of When Genius Failed
"How often do you read a book that is both important and amusing, both practical and deep? This gem of a book presents the best idea that has come out of behavioral economics. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to see both our minds and our society working better. It will improve your decisions and it will make the world a better place."―Daniel Kahneman, Princeton University, Nobel Laureate in Economics
About the Author
Richard H. Thaler, winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Economics, is the Ralph and Dorothy Keller Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics at the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business. His latest book is Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics. Cass R. Sunstein is the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard Law School and most recently the author of Impeachment: A Citizen’s Guide.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Taking benefit from behavioral economics studies from published by Khaneman & Tversky, the book does a fairly good job in illustrating certain human behavior under the influence of certain stimuli (called nudges)
To the content itself, I was right there with the author for the first 2/3 of the book. Suddenly, it's as if they did an author switch and didn't bother to read the first half that they had already written. Many of the ideas surrounding NUDGE are the use of default options, mandatory choice and other helpful decision-making tools to improve outcomes. These tools are based on harnessing System 1 thinking (intuitive thinking) or by using the laziness of System 2 (rational) thinking. This worked very well on issues such as 401(k) contributions, organ donations and investment choices. However, when pulled into the context of environmental issues and school choice, it is logically inconsistent to assume that humans will suddenly become econs on these issues.
Specifically, corporations are unlikely to be motivated to change their environmental records based on a government blacklist. Most people would not bother to find the list, let alone read it. And corporations would not see the list as an environmental nudge so much as a publicity nudge. It is cheaper to launch ad campaigns to promote the idea that you are a responsible corporation than it is to actually be a responsible corporation. As a test case, consider BP. They had a very successful ad campaign touting their environmental responsibility. Yet, they were responsible for a massive spill that was largely due to irresponsibility. This nudge will likely turn into a publicity war, not an environmental movement.
Next school choice is hardly as simple as test scores. Test scores are a greater reflection of the neighborhoods the schools are in and not the methods of teaching. The best teachers in the world have extremely low odds of turning a low-performing district into a average one. It's far too complex a system to pin success to one variable. Nevertheless, even if test scores are indicative of better schools, this would undoubtedly become another publicity issue. In order to attract dollars (students), ambitious schools would tout all sorts of nonsense to attract students in order to maximize revenue. Spending would have to be cut in order to meet their new advertising budgets. It again, becomes a publicity issue. Assuming that consumers would suddenly start making rational decisions about their kids is divorced from reality and divorced from the first part of the book.
In spite of my disappointment, I enjoyed the book and thought it had many good ideas that I plan to implement into my business as I deal with my clients. But you can effectively throw out the entire last part of the book and lose nothing. In fact, the text would be improved with such an omission.
The book provides a funny, engaging, remarkably clear exposition of the various factors which lead us to make poor decisions. This alone would make it worth reading. What makes it exceptional is that they actually suggest *remedies* that might help us save ourselves from our own flawed gut instincts. Indeed, they go one step further, making a convincing argument for incorporating these remedies as a part of public policy. The examples that they consider are directly relevant to decisions each of us faces routinely: choices that primarily affect our own welfare, like decisions about health and lifestyle, credit and money management, investing for retirement; and choices with broader societal implications, like those pertaining to environmental behavior, organ donation, charitable giving and community involvement. They use the term "libertarian paternalism" to characterize their public policy recommendations; don't allow the term to put you off - their suggestions really make a lot of sense.
"Nudge" is very well-written and extremely readable. I was impressed by the amount of useful and interesting material the authors managed to incorporate in just 250 pages. I highly recommend this book.