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Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness | [Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein]

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness

Every day, we make decisions on topics ranging from personal investments to schools for our children to the meals we eat to the causes we champion. Unfortunately, we often choose poorly. The reason, the authors explain, is that, being human, we are all susceptible to various biases that can lead us to blunder. Our mistakes can make us poor and unhealthy. We often make bad decisions about education, personal finance, health care, family, and the environment.
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Publisher's Summary

Every day, we make decisions on topics ranging from personal investments to schools for our children to the meals we eat to the causes we champion. Unfortunately, we often choose poorly. The reason, the authors explain, is that, being human, we are all susceptible to various biases that can lead us to blunder. Our mistakes can make us poor and unhealthy. We often make bad decisions about education, personal finance, health care, family, and the environment.

Thaler and Sunstein invite us to enter an alternative world, one that accepts that we are only human. They show that by knowing how people think, we can design choice environments that make it easier for people to choose what is best for themselves, their families, and their society. Using colorful examples from the most important aspects of life, Thaler and Sunstein demonstrate how thoughtful "choice architecture" can be established to nudge us in beneficial directions without restricting freedom of choice. Nudge offers a unique new take - from neither the left nor the right - on many hot-button issues, for individuals and governments alike. This is one of the most engaging and provocative audiobooks to come along in many years.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2008 Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein; (P)2008 Gildan Media Corp

What the Critics Say

"A manifesto for using the recent behavioral research to help people, as well as government agencies, companies and charities, make better decisions." (The New York Times Magazine)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (195 )
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3.6 (54 )
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  •  
    Joshua Kim Etna, NH, United States 06-10-12
    Joshua Kim Etna, NH, United States 06-10-12 Member Since 2005

    mostly nonfiction listener

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Book I Keep Coming Back To"

    Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein covers many of the same studies and experiments, and then puts a public policy slant on the conclusions. I'm finding in these sorts of books that the same academic studies and examples pop-up time after time, which is good as it takes me about 5 times to get them straight. Where Sway helped me understand why I'm susceptible to make bad decisions, Nudge helped me understand how I can use the principles of "choice architecture" to influence events and decisions. Both worthwhile reads for folks like us who have a vision of education we are trying to implement, both in terms of why people do things the way they do, and some "libertarian paternalistic" ways to shape decisions and actions.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    morton Rego Park, NY, United States 07-30-08
    morton Rego Park, NY, United States 07-30-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "How to improve health, wealth and happiness!"

    I highly recommend this audio book to anyone who is open to new thoughts and ideas and is interested in the principles of choice architecture. The authors put forth many low cost ideas that could result in major life improvements. I found it fascinating and very entertaining.

    11 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Glenn Richmond Hill, ON, Canada 07-30-08
    Glenn Richmond Hill, ON, Canada 07-30-08 Member Since 2008
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    "Nudge is too long"

    I enjoyed half the book but it dragged half way through repeating the same concept in different situations. Some may like the application of their theory but for me I ended up skipping some sections.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. Pearson Idaho 08-23-09
    E. Pearson Idaho 08-23-09 Member Since 2008

    Occasional Thinker

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "New Knowledge for Me!"

    This is all new for me, and well worth the time it took to listen to. Unlike many self-motivation books available (I mistakenly thought that is what "Nudge" is), I found this one to be actually motivating, and quite empowering. It became a bit tedious towards the end--as though the author was more into convincing me that he has correct opinions that into teaching me about choices and choicemaking, but I'd hardly call that a problem: I can weed out the bits of information that don't work. Happily, most of them do.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alex Troy, NY, United States 04-15-13
    Alex Troy, NY, United States 04-15-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "For those who know better than everyone else."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The narration is great, but the content is insulting rubbish. The most glaring problem with this book is the author's concept of "libertarian paternalism" which is akin to deeming an object to be a black-ish shade of white. The author has a worldview that puts his views of what's best for another individual ahead of what the individual believes is best for him/herself. He believes that individuals are fundamentally stupid and must therefore rely on an enlightened government bureaucrat to make better choices on behalf of said individual. The entire book is about manipulating an individual's environment so that s/he will make choices that the author deems "better" but "better" only from his point of view. For example, the author deems it unacceptable that a default choice for a healthcare plan would be NOT to auto-renew at the end of the term. Instead he suggests that the "libertarian paternalist" should make the default option automatic re-enrollment with the previous year's configuration. This, however, breaks the fundamental rule that each individual is responsible for his own well being and knows best how to sustain his own well being.There are a few bright spots such as the author's view on gay marriage. That is the only chapter I can recommend. The entire rest of the book is just a handbook on how a totalitarian bureaucrat can manipulate the sheeple.If you believe that the one person who can best make decisions for the individual is the individual him/herself, you will find this book appalling. When you realize that this guy currently influences the decision-making process of the president of the United States, it will start to make some news headlines make a little more sense.


    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen 08-13-08
    Stephen 08-13-08
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    "Beware: Vehicle for Getting Up on a Soap Box"

    The first 2/3 of the first half of this book were quite interesting and well presented. Presents psychological analysis of how people make decisions and how 'choice architects' can take advantage of these behaviors to 'nudge' you to make a decision. However, much to my displeasure, the book then becomes a soap box for 'libertarian' and liberal positions on global warming, health care and other issues. I felt like I was tricked (not nudged) into getting a book that I otherwise would never have bought. It seemed that the authors simply abandoned their more cerebral analysis of why people make decisions to present incomplete discussions of their personal several social issues. There is absolutely no balance to their discussions - made the book propoganda.

    17 of 31 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Lunt Mountain View, CA United States 09-19-13
    Chris Lunt Mountain View, CA United States 09-19-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Thoughtful but tedious"

    Good ideas belabored. I respect that they raised counter arguments. I'm happy there's a practicum for "Thinking Fast and Slow", but I'd like more examples in less detail.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steve Hagerstown, MD, USA 05-07-10
    Steve Hagerstown, MD, USA 05-07-10
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    "Boring, boring, boring"

    The narrator is blah, drab, unemotional, and does nothing to draw you into the book. But there isn't much interesting there. Very slow to develop, very boring. Feel like I mostly wasted my credit and time.

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
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  • Nadia
    Epsom, Surrey, United Kingdom
    4/11/09
    Overall
    "Good start but drifts a little"

    The concept of this book is very interesting and it starts well with some interesting ideas and good stories and examples, even if they are a little patronising and laboured in parts.

    Nonetheless, it is quickly possible to see how this principle can be applied at work or even in ones own life to bring about improvements, and for this alone the book is well worth it.

    However, a little over half way through it becomes bogged down in endless and excesive detail about american monetary policy and savings options, which becomes a little indigestible after a while.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
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