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Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness | [Richard Thaler]

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 all are susceptible to various biases that can lead us to blunder.
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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 all are susceptible to various biases that can lead us to blunder. Our mistakes make us poorer and less healthy; we often make bad decisions involving education, personal finance, health care, mortgages and credit cards, the family, and even the planet itself.

Thaler and Sunstein invite us to enter an alternative world, one that takes our humanness as a given. 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 books to come along in many years.

©2008 Yale University Press (P)2008 Yale University Press

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  •  
    Douglas C. Bates Boston, MA 04-20-12
    Douglas C. Bates Boston, MA 04-20-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An Important New Concept: Libertarian Paternalism"

    I had the pleasure of being in the very first class Richard Thaler ever taught on Behavioral Decision Theory -- the topic that would make his career and would form the foundation for the novel ideas in "Nudge." I've been a junkie on this this topic ever since. It's a delight to see how Thaler has advanced knowledge in this field.

    In this era of political polarity in the US, this is a most important book. Thaler presents proposals here that potentially both hard-core conservatives and liberals could both agree would be an improvement over the status quo. These days, that's almost impossible. Every member of Congress should read this book.

    The central idea is what Thaler calls "libertarian paternalism." The idea slices through the dichotomy that individuals know best for themselves and that government knows best by establishing systems where individual freedom is not curtailed (a downside of the liberal agenda) but which direct people to better choices (a failure of the conservative agenda).

    The ideas presented in Nudge are novel, and they are supported by substantial research in how people make decisions. This research show how mistaken traditional economic theory has been about how people make choices, and how employing a bit of psychology can make outcomes better for all.

    The concepts in Nudge have implications beyond government.They apply to business and other areas, too. I sent my company's CFO a copy when he couldn't believe our employee's behavior about our 401k plan. Nudge has a section on how Ph.d. economists make bad 401k decisions. Our employees were the same.

    If you're interested in improving how people make decisions, this is a must read.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 06-13-11
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 06-13-11 Member Since 2002
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    "interesting, but familar"

    Well narrated and well explained book about how we make, or are nudged to make certain decisions. If you've never read a book about this topic, this one is good. If you've already read a couple of similar tomes, this one doesn't add anything new.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gerardo Austin, TX, United States 01-19-14
    Gerardo Austin, TX, United States 01-19-14 Member Since 2011

    Businessman, Technologist, Marketer. Loves to learn and enjoys books. Mostly nonfiction plus historic novels.

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    "Weak in story and structure, terrible narrator"

    Nudge is a book about the new space of behavioral psychology which I find fascinating. This book, however, seems like a collection of examples and stories, some repetitive, with little depth. Overall the content is solid but it is weak in how it is organized and summarized.

    If you are interested in this topic I would recommend Dan Ariely's Predictably Irrational, or even Daniel Pink.

    My biggest problem with the book is the narrator. I simply could not stand it and had to stop listening. It has the most monotonous and boring voice you can imagine. the voice is completely void of any tone inflections, proper pauses, emotion or emphasis. I with more audiobooks were read by the authors. As a result I did not enjoy the book. I ended up skipping the second half of the latter chapters.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George Baah Atlanta, ga 02-04-13
    George Baah Atlanta, ga 02-04-13

    Borash

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    "Great book!"
    What made the experience of listening to Nudge the most enjoyable?

    A lot longer than I wished. The abridged version of the book should be available to customers


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Lehman Madison, WI 07-19-12
    James Lehman Madison, WI 07-19-12
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    "An paradigm-shifting book, well read."
    What did you love best about Nudge?

    The topics are truly complex, but the book is so well organized that any reader can come out the other side of this book understanding much more.


    What does Robert Bair bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His reading is well-paced; his pronunciation exacting.


    What’s an idea from the book that you will remember?

    We all at times have the power to be choice architects. In a world where we do not always have access to all the information we need when we have to make decisions, it is important that others are careful in designing the conditions in which we make choices and maximize both our liberty while minimizing our hazards.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ben 05-22-12
    Ben 05-22-12
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    "Save This Book from its Narrator"
    What did you like best about Nudge? What did you like least?

    The notion of libertarian paternalism is interesting, even if impossible to actually implement. Nonetheless, the revelation that decisions can be so widely influenced puts a great deal of responsibility on choice architects - even reluctant ones. You will never look at another salad bar line quite the same.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    More anecdote, rather than details on scientific studies, to bring it all to life. The story comes across as rather sterile and clinical.


    What didn’t you like about Robert Bair’s performance?

    Perhaps it was the material, but I found him to be painfully slow, even at 2x playback speed.


    Could you see Nudge being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Never. Perhaps a documentary, but this book is advocacy, not fiction. The authors develop a position for the role of government and even corporations in society. The case studies are generally more scientific than anecdotal in nature.


    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
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