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

Nudge by Richard H. Thaler
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's review
Aug 12, 2008

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bookshelves: non-fiction, psychology, politics, health, business-economics, owned-books
Recommended for: libertarian social psychologists
Read in August, 2008

I've been reading way too many books related to applications of social psychology lately, so this review might be somewhat biased, but I was somewhat disappointed with the depth of analysis the authors provided. Specifically, much of the research they covered appeared highly similar to many other recent books on effective use of psychological principles to produce social change. Many of the judgmental biases they point out have been highlighted in several books published in the last three years. The primary distinction of this book really seems to be its political bent with specific recommendations for public policy on a number of issues. "Libertarian paternalism" is an interesting idea, and much more palatable with the empirical base the authors put forth compared to many of the unintended paternalistic consequences of current government policies. I would recommend this book to people interested in psychology, politics, and public policy, but who haven't read a broad swath of recent books on judgmental biases written by economists, psychologists, and journalists. Incidentally, one bias they forgot to cover was the tendency of "humans" to believe that they alone are actually an "econ" in a world of irrational people.

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