Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness [NOOK Book]


For fans of Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink and Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow, a revelatory new look at how we make decisions

More than 750,000 copies sold

A New York Times bestseller

An Economist Best Book of the Year

A Financial Times Best Book of the Year

Nudge is about choices—how we make them and how we can make better ones. Drawing on decades of research in the fields of behavioral science and economics, authors Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein offer a new perspective on preventing the countless mistakes we make—ill-advised personal investments, consumption of unhealthy foods, neglect of our natural resources—and show us how sensible “choice architecture” can successfully nudge people toward the best decisions. In the tradition of The Tipping Point and Freakonomics, Nudge is straightforward, informative, and entertaining—a must-read for anyone interested in our individual and collective well-being.
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Editorial Reviews

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: 9781101655092
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 2/24/2009
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 66,743
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Richard H. Thaler is a pioneer in the fields of behavioral economics and finance.

Although his first writings on behavioral economics appeared in 1980, Thaler became more prominent between 1987 and 1990 when he wrote a regular column called “Anomalies”, published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives. In his column he wrote on a myriad of subjects that illustrated the ways in which human behavior seemed to violate traditional economic theories. These columns were later published in the collection The Winner’s Curse.

Daniel Kahneman later cited his joint work with Thaler as a “major factor” in his receiving the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. Commenting on the prize, he said, “The committee cited me ‘for having integrated insights from psychological research into economic science’. Although I do not wish to renounce any credit for my contribution, I should say that in my view the work of integration was actually done mostly by Thaler and the group of young economists that quickly began to form around him.”

Thaler is currently the Ralph and Dorothy Keller Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics, and Director of the Center for Decision Research, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago. He previously taught at Cornell University and MIT.

Cass R. Sunstein specializes in constitutional law, regulatory policy, and economic analysis of law. In the academic world, he is by far the most cited law professor in the United States. He has also written for many popular newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, The American Prospect, Time, Harpers, and The New Republic. He has also appeared on many national television and radio shows, including Nightline, Fox News, the ABC Evening News, the NBC Evening News, 20/20, the News Hour, The O’Reilly Factor, and Fresh Air.

Sunstein graduated in 1975 from Harvard College and in 1978 from Harvard Law School magna cum laude. After graduation, he clerked for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court. Before joining the faculty of the University of Chicago Law School, he worked as an attorney-advisor in the Office of the Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice. Mr. Sunstein has testified before congressional committees on many subjects, and he has been involved in constitution-making and law reform activities in a number of nations, including Ukraine, Poland, China, South Africa, and Russia. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Mr. Sunstein has been Samuel Rubin Visiting Professor of Law at Columbia, visiting professor of law at Harvard, vice-chair of the ABA Committee on Separation of Powers and Governmental Organizations, chair of the Administrative Law Section of the Association of American Law Schools, a member of the ABA Committee on the future of the FTC, and a member of the President's Advisory Committee on the Public Service Obligations of Digital Television Broadcasters.

Mr. Sunstein is author of many articles and a number of books, including (2001), Risk and Reason (2002), The Cost-Benefit State (2002), Why Societies Need Dissent (2003), The Second Bill of Rights (2004), Laws of Fear: Beyond the Precautionary Principle (2005), and Worst-Case Scenarios (2007). He is now working on various projects involving the relationship between law and human behavior

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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
( 63 )
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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

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  • Posted June 30, 2009


    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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