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

Nudge by Richard H. Thaler
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's review
Feb 17, 2009

really liked it
Recommended to Terry by: I think it was Ars Technica
Recommended for: policy wonks
Read in February, 2009 , read count: 1

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. Normally there's four burners arranged in a square with a row of knobs operating them. It's ambiguous which knob offers what burner. If the burners were arranged in a trapezoid it'd be obvious which knob operates which burner.

Fabulous. A stunning example of how applying science, math and economics to policy could result in cases where people are strictly better off with almost no effort.

I've received positive feedback from most of the ideas presented to friends on both sides of the aisle.
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