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

Nudge by Richard H. Thaler
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's review
Aug 12, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: economics
Read in July, 2012

This is a wonderful book. The authors put forth the idea of "libertarian paternalism" as a sort of third way of envisioning how we should think of making policy decisions that would enhance people's lives. They really put forth a great argument, and I shall be using some of the theory in this book in my classroom this year, in the way of creating incentives that may be more compelling for high school students.

This is an economics work that leans heavily on human psychology in an effort to explain why great masses of "humans" make decisions that are detrimental to themselves, and their future selves. In order to combat some of these decisions, the authors turn to policy decisions in which "humans" are more likely to choose an option that is more beneficial, than not. And this is NOT a work extolling the virtues of big government, instead focusing on subtle pushes or "nudges" to increase positive outcomes. ("Humans" is purposefully put in quotes by me----read the book and you will understand why)

I think that anyone in a management or teaching position would do well to read this, and, that the ideas could be embraced by both liberals and conservatives as an alternative way of creating good public policy. Apart from that, this does have some lessons that anyone could benefit from learning, and in doing so, break away from our reptilian portions of our mind.

4/5 (four and a half if I could)

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