Christen's Reviews > Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness

Nudge by Richard H. Thaler
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's review
Feb 28, 2011

it was ok

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 selecting a few loan providers to recommend, because there is bribery to become one of the ones selected. The authors then criticize another plan (I think Medicare) for not recommending certain of the available plans, because people have too much choice. So it seems to me that any system may suffer from one of these problems. Or someone who is deemed an "outside expert" could advise, but I'm not sure how to prevent the bribery problem there either. The authors seem to indicate that it's best if companies force people to participate in some form of retirement plan "for their own good" but the authors do not seem to recognize that enrolling people and automatically matching their contribution also imposes costs on the employer. I don't know why people don't enroll in programs that give them free money, but at what point do we make people the masters of their own destiny. I think they and I differ in our views on this. It seems that other people don't have this difficulty with this book, so maybe it's just me. Your mileage may vary.
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