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Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness
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Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  19,929 ratings  ·  1,044 reviews
Every day, we make decisions on topics ranging from personal investments to schools for our children to the meals we eat to the causes we champion. Unfortunately, we often choose poorly. The reason, the authors explain, is that, being human, we all are susceptible to various biases that can lead us to blunder. Our mistakes make us poorer and less healthy; we often make bad ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 8th 2008 by Yale University Press (first published 2008)
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This one took me longer to read that is reasonable for a book of its length or the clear style it is written in. I mean, such a simply written text of 250 pages ought to have finished in no time. The problem was that I don’t live in the US and so many of the examples made the book a struggle for me. All the same, there are ideas in this book that are important no matter where you live.

Don’t you just love the internet? I wanted to start this paragraph with that quote by Göring, “when I hear the w
This comes with a whole bunch of big name endorsements – the physicist Brian Appleyard, Stephen Leavitt (of Freakanomics fame) and we’re told by the end of Introduction that it is making an impact with Obama and Cameron and so having a policy impact in both the UK and USA. What is more, it is now marketed as a ‘new international edition’. As I ploughed my way through this I kept thinking of a comment by the great photographer Eve Arnold to the effect (and with a few more expletives) that she was ...more
This is a terrific book. The authors cover terrain which has been explored recently in a whole slew of books: loosely speaking, why we humans persistently engage in behavior patterns which do not benefit us in the long term. Their own research, at the University of Chicago, builds upon the work of Tversky and Kahneman in behavioral economics (very much in vogue this past few years).

In the book, they provide a funny, engaging, remarkably clear exposition of the various factors which lead us to m
I don't understand why this is a runaway bestseller--it's just not that enthralling. I've been reading lots of books lately about behavioral psychology and economics: why people make the decisions we do, economically and in other life areas. But Predictably Irrational and Made to Stick both explore these questions in a much more engaging way.

"Nudge" is mostly concerned with how companies and governments can practice what the authors term "libertarian paternalism"--gently, noncoercively pushing p
I second-guessed my purchase of Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein's Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, almost the minute I received my Amazon e-mail receipt -- I had already read Malcom Gladwell's Blink, and heard about the literary disaster that is Sway, and yet there I was, reading Nudge's introduction about the arrangement of cafeteria food.

I'm glad I did. While Thaler and Sunstein are happy to revel in the small ways that their insights into "choice architecture"
I really like a lot of the ideas presented in this book. I completely agree with their major points - that policies should pay close attention to the default option, and that one of the most effective ways of helping people make good decisions is complete and clearly presented disclosure. I know I complained that Ariely's book didn't take his theories far enough because he didn't talk about the implications of people's predictable irrationality, but now I'm going to complain that this book focus ...more
lyell bark
I did not find this book very helpful in Improving Decisious About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (Hardcover) at all. I would rank it only one star, but in the midst of all the typical Ivy League gabbldeegook i found this truely inspired passage:

contemplation and hard abstract study belong to Saturn who is also the planet of the melancholy temperament, and the star which is inimical to the vital forces of life and youth. Melancholy students who have used up their vital forces in their studies, an
Loy Machedo

Loy Machedo’s Book Review – Nudge by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein

I love reading book.
Books on Thought-Provoking, Critical-Thinking, Cognitive Science, Business, Biographies, Self-Improvement and so on. But the most important characteristic I admire and love about a book, is its ability to make something simple and understandable.

Nudge is one book that fails to qualify the last criteria.

I presumed that this book was in relation to how we think, how the mind works and connect that to
I probably shouldn't rate and review a book I didn't make it all the way through, but I found myself getting more and more angry the further I went into this book. I liked the first part, where the authors discussed choice architecture generally. However, they then went on to discuss many choice architecture issues in a manner I found confusing. Two examples seem appropriate to consider. The authors seem to find fault with the way student loans are done. They seem to criticize schools for select ...more
Feb 17, 2009 Terry rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: policy wonks
Recommended to Terry by: I think it was Ars Technica
The book focuses on cases where simple changes in choice architecture (how people are exposed to options) can create significant changes in behavior. The authors immediately recognize this could be used "for evil" as it were or against the chooser such as arranging food in a cafeteria so kids buy more high margin foods but most of the cases revolve around "stove" examples. Stove cases are where slight changes in presentation create a good situation for the user like stove burner arrangements. No ...more
Steven Peterson
An interesting work. . . . It speaks of how conditions can be changed and perhaps improved by "nudging" people. Rather than "beating up" on people, subtly nudge them. Fascinating reading and very provocative. Is nudging good? Or manipulative?

The authors, Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, faculty at the University of Chicago, define a “nudge” as (Page 6): “. . .is any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people’s behavior in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significant
The authors, both economists at University of Chicago, advocate what they call “paternal libertarianism” in order to improve an equal footing for all in the areas of health care, marriage, taxes, and so on, without impinging on freedom any more than absolutely necessary. They argue, reasonably, that everyone with a stake in an issue or a semblance of power is, whether they like it or not, a change architect – that even not interfering and allowing totally laissez-faire markets to evolve is still ...more
Jeremy Kauffman
This is not a well-written book. The writing is prosaic. The pacing is meh. You will almost certainly have no trouble putting it down. It is, however, a book almost everyone should read - especially politicians, technocrats, and others in positions of public policy.

Sunstein and Thaler argue that dramatic changes in human behavior can be effected through sensible changes in "choice architecture". Choice architecture is the orchestration of options. It can range from how choices are presented (mak

This book was recommended as an introduction to libertarian paternalism in a lecture on behavioral economics by Nobel-prize winner Daniel Kahneman. Per wikipedia, libertarian paternalism is "a
political philosophy that believes the state can help you make the choices you would make for yourself—if only you had the strength of will and the sharpness of mind. But unlike 'hard' paternalists, who ban some things and mandate others, the softer kind aims only to skew your decisions, without infringing
This book is not what I thought it would be.

I somehow thought it would be about how to improve decision *making* for, say, yourself (which would impact things like Health, Wealth, and Happiness), but it was about choice architecture and how to frame choices to make people choose what you think they should choose.

Which might have been interesting if that's what the book covered. There was a little bit about "choice architecture" in the beginning, but nothing that extended further than common sens
John Martindale
The book started off well enough, grabbing my interest and convincing me that libertarian paternalism has a lot going for it. If the masses are going to be influenced by their unconscious to make irrational and stupid choices, some minor tweaks could be made, that result in the unthinking majority mindlessly do positive things for their health, wallet, humanity and the planet, though they're still free to do otherwise (thus the Libertarian part). An example given was how the amount of dessert ea ...more
T. Edmund
It would be unfair to label Nudge as 'one of those pop-psychology books' as a. I frown on pop psychology and rate Nudge higher, and b. I'm trying not to generalise.

What I'm trying to say is Nudge fits into the same category as other insightful books such as Gladwell's Blink, or the recent Redirect

[[ASIN:0316010669 Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking]]

[[ASIN:0316051888 Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change]]

Beginning with a non-partisan disclaimer Nudge explores t
Orton Family Foundation
If you’re like most Americans, chances are you made a New Year’s resolution to hit the gym, lay off the smokes or eat more green vegetables. And again, if you’re anything like most Americans, chances are you and your resolution parted ways sometime around Valentine’s Day. Take heart: you’re not alone, and it’s not that you actually want to spend more hours watching sitcom reruns—you just need a nudge.

Most humans are remarkably bad at making choices in their own best interest. We make predictable
The full title here is Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness, and between them the two authors, Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, can claim a substantial amount of expertise in psychology, economics, law, and public policy. The stated goal of the book is to take lessons from these four areas and squish them into a concept that the authors dub "libertarian paternalism." The idea is that as libertarians the two believe in free information and free choice in all things publ ...more
Who couldn’t use a little help accomplishing a pesky goal every now and again? I know I need help sometimes to get going on a story or making it to the gym. Nudge, by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein (of the University of Chicago) wrote the book as a manifesto to “improve decisions about health, wealth, and happiness.” Seeking to foster what they call a new movement of “libertarian paternalism,” the idea of the book melds individual freedom with the promotion by government of socially optimal de ...more
Sindy Li
This is a great book! It's one of those books that applies the idea of System 1 (automative/intuitive) and System 2 (reflective/"reasoning") from psychology, and in this particular case it's applied to "choice architecture"--the design of frameworks/structures that affect people's choices over pretty much anything (another good example of this type of book is Jonathan Heidt's "The Happiness Hypothesis" which applies the System 1 and System 2 idea to help us understand and promote individual flou ...more
Boring, but what else can you expect from business schools? These behavioral economists have all been reading the same social psychology books and tell you the same thing. You can be sure that very quickly in the book you’ll be receiving first-hand, fresh-off-the-research information about anchoring and framing. And it’s hilarious that these days everybody writes a preface or postscript for their book and tries to explain the financial crisis of 2008 with what the book is saying.

The big idea of
Jean-marie Kauth
September 5, 2014 8:18 pm

I am currently reading Nudge by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein (2009). Its main idea is so important, for health issues as well as for many other issues surrounding societal structuring: the idea that you can nudge people towards the best choices without violating their liberty, a principle already well known to advertisers, after all.

This ethical approach is called libertarian paternalism: while allowing people free choice, governments and others can promote the
From the beginning I wasn't a huge fan. The tone is patronizing, and the first few chapters are a rehash of every other pop-econ book I've ever read. I kept going because of the Economist's "Best Book" label, and because of the complimentary blurb from one of the authors of Freakonomics.

I felt all along that the book had a heavy corporate bias, but kept reading because the initial explanation of choice architecture had been so interesting. I started getting irritated when cap-and-trade measures
With Thaler and Sunstein being the Gods of libertarian paternalism a humble economics student like me had a hard time trying to write an unbiased (hah, econometric joke!) review but I tried my best.

The authors coined a theory that went viral among politicians in Anglo-American countries. It's quite simple: While people don't like being told what to do, they are glad to get help deciding when it comes to more difficult things like loans and how to best invest their money (some people, me include
As you struggle with New Year's resolutions, you might want to consider consulting this book for guidance.

At the time this book was published, both authors were professors at the University of Chicago. Both Thaler and Sunstein are firm believers in the efficacy of market forces, but they recognize that human beings often make choices that are bad for themselves (for a variety of reasons) in the long run. Both authors would like to limit government coercion in peoples’ lives, but they recognize t
Our last camping trip gave me a chance to finish up Nudge, a social economics book by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein. The first part of the book lays out the subject of choice architecture and ways that influence can, or even has to be asserted by system designers and policy makers. The authors promote "libertarian paternalism," which seeks desirable results using nudges that largely maintain freedom of choice for participants. The remainder of the work presents numerous examples and ide ...more
Chad Warner
Dec 28, 2011 Chad Warner rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Chad by: .net Magazine
This book opened my eyes to how humans make decisions, and how easily they can be influenced by their peers and by the way choices are presented to them. Through engaging research and entertaining anecdotes, it shows how to “architect” choices to nudge people towards certain decisions. The authors call this “libertarian paternalism”, because it uses incentives to motivate desired behavior rather than using command and control measures like laws and bans. I highly recommend this book for its prac ...more
Very easy to read, conversational in places between the two authors. On reflection there is much in it which seems to spell out in length things that we know to be true. I like the practical examples, especially those around the environment, saving money and so on. Discussing the book with book group friends raised lots of interesting issues. For example the danger of individualising social issues and making individuals responsible for social problems. There are other influences which the author ...more
Vince Wu
The central idea of the book is simple: People should be free to choose, but it's also desirable to influence people's choices for the better. In fact, the authors pretty much explain the concept soup to nuts in the introduction. The rest of the book felt a bit tedious as such... I would summarize the rest as a refresher on human fallibility and extensive examples of how choice architecture could be applied to wide ranging aspects of life.

This quote summarizes the central idea of the book:

« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior
  • Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives
  • Micromotives and Macrobehavior
  • Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change
  • Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure
  • Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions
  • Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism
  • The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies
  • Everything is Obvious: Once You Know the Answer
  • Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes And How To Correct Them: Lessons From The New Science Of Behavioral Economics
  • Spent: Sex, Evolution, and Consumer Behavior
  • Herd: How to Change Mass Behaviour by Harnessing Our True Nature
  • Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions
  • The Wisdom of Crowds
  • Thinking and Deciding
  • Don't Believe Everything You Think: The 6 Basic Mistakes We Make in Thinking
  • Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases
  • Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life
The Winner's Curse: Paradoxes and Anomalies of Economic Life Advances in Behavioral Finance Advances in Behavioral Finance, Volume II Quasi Rational Economics Jissen Kōdō Keizaigaku: Kenkō Tomi Kōfuku Eno Sōmei Na Sentaku

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“A choice architect has the responsibility for organizing the context in which people make decisions.” 2 likes
“Libertarian paternalism is a relatively weak, soft, and nonintrusive type of paternalism because choices are not blocked, fenced off, or significantly burdened.” 1 likes
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