Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness / Edition 1

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Overview

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 in this important exploration of choice architecture, 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.

 

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Editorial Reviews

Steven Levitt
"I love this book. It is one of the few books I've read recently that fundamentally changes the way I think about the world. Just as surprising, it is fun to read, drawing on examples as far afield as urinals, 401(k) plans, organ donations, and marriage. Academics aren't supposed to be able to write this well."—Steven Levitt, Alvin Baum Professor of Economics, University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and co-author of Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
Daniel Gilbert
"In this utterly brilliant book, Thaler and Sunstein teach us how to steer people toward better health, sounder investments, and cleaner environments without depriving them of their inalienable right to make a mess of things if they want to. The inventor of behavioral economics and one of the nation's best legal minds have produced the manifesto for a revolution in practice and policy. Nudge won't nudge you—it will knock you off your feet."—Daniel Gilbert, professor of psychology, Harvard University, Author of Stumbling on Happiness
Don Norman
“This is an engaging, informative, and thoroughly delightful book. Thaler and Sunstein provide important lessons for structuring social policies so that people still have complete choice over their own actions, but are gently nudged to do what is in their own best interests. Well done.”—Don Norman, Northwestern University, Author of The Design of Everyday Things and The Design of Future Things
Michael Lewis
“This book is terrific. It will change the way you think, not only about the world around you and some of its bigger problems, but also about yourself.”—Michael Lewis, author of The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game and Liar's Poker
Time - Barbara Kiviat
"Two University of Chicago professors sketch a new approach to public policy that takes into account the odd realities of human behavior, like the deep and unthinking tendency to conform. Even in areas—like energy consumption—where conformity is irrelevant. Thaler has documented the ways people act illogically."—Barbara Kiviat, Time
Roger Lowenstein
"Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein's Nudge is a wonderful book: more fun than any important book has a right to be—and yet it is truly both."—Roger Lowenstein, author of When Genius Failed
The New York Times Magazine - David Leonhardt
"A manifesto for using the recent behavioral research to help people, as well as government agencies, companies and charities, make better decisions."—David Leonhardt, The New York Times Magazine
Daniel Kahneman
“How often do you read a book that is both important and amusing, both practical and deep? This gem of a book presents the best idea that has come out of behavioral economics. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to see both our minds and our society working better. It will improve your decisions and it will make the world a better place.”—Daniel Kahneman, Princeton University, Nobel Laureate in Economics
Boston Sunday Globe - George Scialabba
"Engaging, enlightening."—George Scialabba, Boston Sunday Globe
National Post - Rebecca Walberg
"The suggestions in Nudge provide fascinating examples of how tiny changes in context can cue radically different behaviour. Awareness of these cues empowers consumers, voters and decision-makers."—Rebecca Walberg, National Post
Boston Globe - John F. Wasik
"An essential read . . . an entertaining book. . . . The book isn't only humorous, it's loaded with good ideas that financial-service executives, policy makers, Wall Street mavens, and all savers can use."—John F. Wasik, Boston Globe
Time

"Two University of Chicago professors sketch a new approach to public policy that takes into account the odd realities of human behavior, like the deep and unthinking tendency to conform. Even in areas—like energy consumption—where conformity is irrelevant. Thaler has documented the ways people act illogically."—Barbara Kiviat, Time

— Barbara Kiviat

The New York Times Magazine

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

— David Leonhardt

Boston Sunday Globe

"Engaging, enlightening."—George Scialabba, Boston Sunday Globe

— George Scialabba

National Post

"The suggestions in Nudge provide fascinating examples of how tiny changes in context can cue radically different behaviour. Awareness of these cues empowers consumers, voters and decision-makers."—Rebecca Walberg, National Post

— Rebecca Walberg

Boston Globe

"An essential read . . . an entertaining book. . . . The book isn't only humorous, it's loaded with good ideas that financial-service executives, policy makers, Wall Street mavens, and all savers can use."—John F. Wasik, Boston Globe

— John F. Wasik

Benjamin M. Friedman
Yes, there is such a thing as common sense—and thank goodness for that. At least that's this reader's reaction to Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein's Nudge, an engaging and insightful tour through the evidence that most human beings don't make decisions in the way often characterized (some would say caricatured) in elementary economics textbooks, along with a rich array of suggestions for enabling many of us to make better choices, both for ourselves and for society.
—The New York Times
Library Journal

In the first of these two books exploring human behavior and the choices we make, organizational expert Ori Brafman (coauthor, The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations) and his psychologist brother, Rom, an organizational expert, discuss the various psychological forces (e.g., diagnosis bias and loss aversion) that cause people to act irrationally. To help illuminate their discussion, they draw on the latest research in social psychology, behavioral economics, and organizational behavior. In Nudge, Thaler (behavioral science & economics, Graduate Sch. of Business, Univ. of Chicago) and Sunstein (jurisprudence, Univ. of Chicago Law Sch.) consider how the science of choice can gently "nudge" individuals toward making life-improving decisions. They divide the text into five parts-"Humans and Econs," "Money," "Health," "Freedom," and "Extensions and Objections"-and employ numerous examples throughout. Easy to read, conversational in tone, and story-driven, Sway is suitable for public libraries. Nudge, a more research-based analysis full of practical solutions to real-life problems, is strongly recommended for public libraries.
—Anita N. Jennings

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300122237
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 4/8/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 281,031
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard H. Thaler is the Ralph and Dorothy Keller Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics and the director of the Center for Decision Research at the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business. Cass R. Sunstein  is Karl N. Llewellyn Distinguished Service Professor of Jurisprudence, University of Chicago Law School and Departent of Political Science.

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Read an Excerpt

Common "Nudges"

  1. The design of menus gets you to eat (and spend) more. For example, lining up all prices on either side of the menu leads many consumers to simply pick the cheapest item. On the other hand, discretely listing prices at the end of food descriptions lets people read about the appetizing options first…; and then see prices.
  2. "Flies" in urinals improve, well, aim. When Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport was faced with the not uncommon issue of dirty urinals, they chose a unique solution: by painting "flies" in the (center of) commodes, men obligingly aimed at the insects, reducing spillage by 80 percent.
  3. Credit card minimum payments affect repayment schedules. Among those who only partially pay off credit card balances each month, the repayment level is correlated with the card's minimum payment — in other words, the lower the minimum payment, the longer it takes a consumer to pay off the card balance.
  4. Automatic savings programs increase savings rate. All over the country, companies are adopting the Save More Tomorrow program: firms offer employees who are not saving very much the option of joining a program in which their saving rates are automatically increased whenever they get a raise. This plan has more than tripled saving rates in some firms, and is now offered by thousands of employers.
  5. "Defaults" can improve rates of organ donation. In the United States, about one–third of citizens have signed organ donor cards. Compare this to Austria, where 99 percent of people are potential organ donors. One obvious difference? Americans must explicitly consent to become organ donors (by signing forms, for example) while Austrians must opt out if they do not want to be organ donors.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction I

Part I Humans and Econs

1 Biases and Blunders 17

2 Resisting Temptation 40

3 Following the Herd 53

4 When Do We Need a Nudge? 74

5 Choice Architecture 83

Part II Money

6 Save More Tomorrow 105

7 Na&iumlet;ve Investing 120

8 Credit Markets 134

9 Privatizing Social Security: Smorgasbord Style 147

Part III Health

10 Prescription Drugs: Part D for Daunting 161

11 How to Increase Organ Donations 177

12 Saving the Planet 185

Part IV Freedom

13 Improving School Choices 201

14 Should Patients Be Forced to Buy Lottery Tickets? 209

15 Privatizing Marriage 217

Part V Extensions and Objections

16 A Dozen Nudges 231

17 Objections 239

18 The Real Third Way 255

19 Bonus Chapter: Twenty More Nudges 257

Postscript: November 2008 269

Notes 272

Bibliography 281

Index 303

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 45 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 64 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 24, 2010

    eBook does not contain figures as in the print version

    I bought this book for my nook but was disappointed to realize, after reading a few pages, that many of the figures that are present in the print version are not present in the ebook. In place of the figures, there are boxes with a statement saying that rights were not granted for digital media, and "please refer to print version." I thought that the point of buying a nook and ebooks was to, for the most part, replace the print ones. It's an interesting book, but I wouldn't buy the e-version until they have the figures and exact same content as print.
    Barnes and Noble should tell people in advance whether an ebook does not have same content as the print version. Not sure if by not warning people, B&N gives grounds for a class action lawsuit, but it is, at best, unethical not give such warning. Let the buyer beware is not exactly the way to satisfy your customers.

    22 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 21, 2011

    do not buy the nook version

    Many important figures are missing. The formatting is very bad, headings are not in bold and spacing is wrong. it does not feel like a book but instead some draft version of the book. Barnes and Noble should not be selling the nook version if they arent able to deliver the e-book experience. very disappointed - dont even consider it.

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 30, 2009

    "Nudge"--a leftist fraud manifesto

    The very first page sets the tone--an optical illusion that the authors had to cheat on to convey their point. (Look at the dimensions of the table legs...) Hidden nicely in the authors protestations of being "libertarians" is the unmistakable "we know better than you" leftist agenda. Plus, anyone who yet advocates for anthroprogenic global warming in the face of all of the scientific evidence disproving same illustrates a deficiency of intellect, and severely tarnishes their attempt at a 'scholarly' treatise. Granted there are some interesting points, but on the whole, the piece is fundamentally flawed. What else did they slant to make their argument(s)?

    8 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2009

    Must Read

    Must read for anyone interested in public or private policy issues.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 3, 2009

    Not compelling.

    This was recommended by someone who read the book but I should have read more excerpts before purchasing. I have only gotten through the first 3 CDs and not very motivated to spend the time listening to the remaining cds. The substance is somewhat basic, common sense. I will eventually listen to the remaining CDs and hope the content improves.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Free-Thinking Enlightenment

    History has proven time-and-again, that paternalism, libertarian or otherwise, will eventually lead to corruption and abuse.

    having said this, I would still recommend this book, and the ideas contained within. To those who appreciate free-thought, as opposed to partisan-bias.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2014

    Viper

    I wasnt using you i would never

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2013

    Mirrere

    *Stands*

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  • Posted June 30, 2009

    Nudge

    Interesting book along the lines of The Tipping Point and Blink.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Good for perspective

    I not only enjoyed the book, but found it's emphasis on making small changes which can make a big difference. Should be required reading for government employees and lawmakers.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted January 10, 2011

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