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Choice Factory: 25 Behavioural Biases That Influence What We Buy

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  799 ratings  ·  61 reviews
Before you can influence decisions, you need to understand what drives them. In The Choice Factory, Richard Shotton sets out to help you learn. By observing a typical day of decision-making, from trivial food choices to significant work-place moves, he investigates how our behaviour is shaped by psychological shortcuts. With a clear focus on the marketing potential of know ...more
Paperback, 202 pages
Published February 26th 2018 by Harriman House
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Ed Sellier
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Book review 📚‘The label improved the expectation and the expectation improved the taste.’
In THE CHOICE FACTORY Richard Shotton pays homage to the intrepid pioneers of Behavioural Economics, exploring the psychological shortcuts we (as makers of 35,000 daily decisions) take. The book contains 25 tight chapters, each covering a cognitive bias from mood to confirmation, media context to price.
Our long-term psychologies are shaped by decisions we make in auto-pilot and throughout the book you sens
Avnish Anand
I have a lot of interest in behaviour science, cognitive biases and psychology. I have read most of the popular books. But I have struggled to put them to use. In my life as a marketer and product and business leader.

With Choice Factory, I know much better now. It has 25 small chapters covering one cognitive bias each. Most of the biases are well known. I knew the theory and the research. But this book gives you relevant examples from the marketing world. And tips on how to put them to use.

I a
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A guide to the psychological tricks our brains play that influence our opinions, behaviour and spending, with specific advice on how to take advantage of these biases when creating advertising. Well written, and clearly split into 25 different biases, this should be essential reading for anyone in advertising or communications. I wish the author was not so negative about the potential of programmatic advertising - this bias comes through clearly - but I agreed with almost all of his other points ...more
Insyirah Amirul
Oct 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the first marketing book that I read voluntarily (the other one I read was a boring university textbook) and it intrigued me. All the strategies mentioned are based on human psychology. Recommended!
Chiara Cokieng
Feb 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Influence, applied. I listened to the audiobook. It is good, but now I need the cheat sheet!
Alison Jones
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating, well written, and super-practical: Shotton walks us through a series of cognitive and behavioural biases that leave us in no doubt that we are not the rational beings we like to think we are. It presents rigorous science and evidence lightly, with an accessible style - I particularly liked the device of the 'everyday in the life of the reader' story that introduces each chapter, showing how the bias in question plays out in familiar contexts.
It's written for marketeers and advertis
Samuel Elliott
Oct 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Our understanding of cognitive and behavioural biases originated in the field of psychology. Since then, their frequencies have grown steadily more encompassing, like broadcasts from a tumbledown radio tower. Solomon Asch. Baddeley and Hitch. And what ever happened to good old Starsky? These biases are what the seventies marketing executives would have told you, from behind the cigar haze of a Fleet Street pub, that they’d always known… People copy one another. They are the blind automata of the ...more
Mohammed Alogaili
Nov 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I always believe Marketing is an art, but there is always science behind it, now I have to say that all business-related skills and interaction are arts based on science, we do not realize it till someone investigate it, it is there but we don't know how to formulate it but Richard Shotten did.
The choice factory book has briefed the most aspects that had impact on our actions whether it is personal or business related, the book is structured on 25 sequenced chapters for cognitive biases, explain
Apr 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The choice factory is a powerful book combining behavioral science with a practical approach on implementing it in marketing especially advertising. Few other books in the literature have achieved this feat. Behavioral science books typically present the findings in a rigorous scientific way which presents a major challenge for marketers to apply the science and achieve notable results. The book is engaging and fun as the author narrates the reader’s journey throughout their day and shows how we ...more
John Griffiths
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
very thought provoking read which I enjoyed because of the systematic way it groups a whole lot of cognitive biasses together - references academic studies - adds practical surveys carried out by Richard Shotton himself for different ad agencies he has worked for and drops all of them into the framework of a single day of a typical person. Clever - the issue with so much behavioural economics is not being clear about the effect they are looking at and really how powerful it is. The book claims t ...more
Chris Rawlinson
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Choice factory is essential reading if you have anything to do with advertising or marketing in general. In plane and easy to understand English is shares 25 practical examples of how you can use Behavioural Biases to help give you and your brand or product a competitive edge against the competition. The best thing is these tips more often than not require little to no money, and instead explains how by making small simple changes you can set a path for success. Everyone I know who has read ...more
Pati Caceres
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’m sure “The Choice Factory” by Richard Shotton will soon become an indispensable guide for anyone working in marketing and advertising. It provides insights on why some ideas work while others don’t - based on consumer behavioral bias that are not usually considered by creative teams (mostly because we don’t even know about them).

Every chapter is backed by data from real-life experiments, and more than once you’ll find yourself wondering “Why I didn’t think of that before?”.

And my favorite pa
Dec 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Richard Shotton, takes many of the well know Behavioural Biases theory and puts into a practical test and validate it. The book came in as highly recommended one but I was quite disappointed, as there is no original theory proposed rather it focus only on the applications of existing theories to product marketing. If you already following researcher/authors like Daniel kahneman or Richard Thaler (both of their work were mentioned in the book) you will find this book less interesting.

The intende
Brendan Norris
Mar 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
As a non-marketer but business generalist, this book provided incredible insights into how humans *actually* make decisions (and then post-rationalise so we think we're rational beings). The author explains 25 cognitive biases - that many of us are unaware we have/practise - in a very approachable manner that allows the reader to understand how and where they occur in daily life. And of course, if you're doing any marketing or advertising yourself, it doesn't take too much imagination to see how ...more
Chris Esposo
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book is written for those who are not well-read in the behavioural sciences subject area, either formally or the pop-sci stuff you can get at any bookstore. As such, if you've ever read just a handful of books, say one from Thaler, one from Chialdini, and you'd be aware of much of what is written in here, perhaps in better detail. The book is maybe written for those who need some kind of background in a real hurry. If that's you, picking up your book may be worth your while. Otherwise, it i ...more
Jul 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: economics
Liked this book and appreciated the structure, in terms of the different chapters and supporting experiments.

Thought the closing section was beyond weak - not the concept, but the brief argument. I find this slightly concerning because this area deserves more thought and consideration.

Another frustration was the lack of statistical grunt behind some of the more recent testing, sample size being a simplistic an obvious flaw.

However, overall I appreciated the information and certainly gleaned some
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed and benefited a lot by reading this gem, there is intensive research behind it and many experiment revalidations which proof the literature concepts.

Each bias got a paragraph at the end that hooks you with the upcoming one. which will definitely make you go through the book unconsciously.

The How-to-apply section under each bias is very useful and related to real life in a very noticeable way.

In general, great book and for sure I will re-read it more than once in the future.
Glenn Cameron
Aug 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Accessible great little read with lots to think about!

Many of what is discussed is clearly bringing together in some cases centuries of behavioural learning but having just decided to read in the COVID era a lot felt highly topical around our need for social proof balanced against social distancing, significant life events causing us to be more open to change through marketing again felt very apt observation right now and also contactless payments now having had massively accelerated adoption th
Peter P.
Jan 09, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are a regular reader of social psychology, you may feel like you've read much of this before - and you likely have done. That said, Shotten's format for laying out the respective chapters and exploration of various behavioral biases works well and provides a nice overview for readers who are less well-versed in neuroscience and social psychology. Shotten bring his marketing nous to a wide range of topics including priming, confirmatory bias, the science of pricing and the pitfalls of know ...more
Jake Goretzki
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Simple, refreshingly clear guide to sine of the more obvious BE biases worth knowing (no huge revelations, but nicely summarised). I really like the 'Bloke having a normal day' preamble examples - which mean you could effectively flick back once you're done to remember them all. I also like the Kitty Genovese reveal at the end (no, she didn't survive and become the TV sexologist Dr Ruth, but...turns out the foundation story of Bystander Effect is kinda bullshit). ...more
Apurv Kashyap
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What we miss out on!

To those out there, this book is a revelation of your inner workings. For those in the know or in marketing, this is a lifesaver giving minor hacks and ideas to test to boost your campaigns just enough to get those precious percentage points.
Fast and witty, this book engrossed you and cleverly uses callbacks to connected points so that you never lose track of the whole story.
Give it a try, you won't regret it.
Davide Lionetti
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really liked the structure of the book: pretty straightforward explaining the background and possible applications of each of the 25 biases mentioned in this book.
Talking about the biases, some of them are actually very interesting and have a practical application whereas others are a little bit too abstract hence it's not a 5-star for me.
Julián A.
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's a great book, essentially for it's practical focus. Most of the chapters are truly biases; others chapters are more relevant aspects to take into account (variability, ethics, replicability crisis). The book doesn't say much about methods for testing reliably the tactics, but that's not to the focus of the book. ...more
Flo R
Dec 27, 2019 rated it liked it
A good book to learn some interesting basics about buying behaviours. The statistics were worth knowing though should have been displayed visually. A lot of the factual information felt like it was just crammed into the pages. It would've been memorable to absorb with straightforward points and graphs or maybe even as a PowerPoint presentation. ...more
Ross Craig
Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great book that blends qualitative real life examples of cognitive biases with the experiments that back them up. Primarily aimed at marketers but useful for everyone in terms of understanding what we really think and why.

If you enjoy the work of the likes of Dave Trott, Rory Sutherland, Malcolm Gladwell etc then you'll definitely get a lot out of The Choice Factory. Recommended.
Mohammed Al-Harbi
I found the book very interesting and easy to read. Chapters were structure an a way that makes it easier to go back and forth to the desired subject. The scenario in each chapter helped me to better understand the material. It was very helpful and enlightening to understand how behavioral bias influences our decision and how that might be used in marketing.
J. T.
Jun 15, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting with some useful titbits

Look it was an interesting book on the whole. Some of the biases were really relevant and others less so. I'd have liked to have seen even more applications of these learnings to marketing. While the book makes a good stab of deacademeaising (sorry for the word), the balance is still to far shifted to the research.
Jun 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
There are some really eye-opening statistics in Richard Shotton's book which includes data from a number of experiments. Broken into 25 chapters, each has something to learn from. This is a great book on behavioural economics for marketers to delve into to help create a more effective marketing campaigns. ...more
Mrs Jenny McLaughlan
Got me thinking!

I really enjoyed this book. It provides so simple things that I will now apply to my business and test. All backed by evidence gives me confidence to do fbis, but it's authenticity is further enhanced by the fact I see many of the behaviours described in myself. I found it so valuable i plan to ask my team to read it too.
Giedrė Žitkauskaitė
Dec 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Easy to read, clearly structured, enjoyable, interesting. The negative would be as with many coaching books - it introduces itself as remedy when it's rather a guide to be accompanied by a lot of creative and critical thinking and hard work, which might be misleading too young creatives it targets. ...more
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