Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness

Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness

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Overview

Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein

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
 
New York Times bestseller
An Economist Best Book of the Year
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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143115267
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/24/2009
Edition description: Updated
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 17,657
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Richard H. Thaler, a pioneer in the fields of behavioral economics and finance, is the Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, where he is the director of the Center for Decision Research. He is also the co-director (with Robert Shiller) of the Behavioral Economics Project at the National Bureau of Economic Research and the 2015 President of the American Economic Association. He has been published in several prominent journals and is the author of a number of books, including Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics.
 
Cass R. Sunstein is the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard Law School, where he is the founder and director of the Program on Behavioral Economics and Public Policy. He is by far the most cited law professor in the United States. From 2009 to 2012 he served in the Obama administration as Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. He has testified before congressional committees, appeared on national television and radio shows, been involved in constitution-making and law reform activities in a number of nations, and written many articles and books, including Simpler: The Future of Government and Wiser: Getting Beyond Groupthink to Make Groups Smarter.

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.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Nudge"
by .
Copyright © 2009 Richard H. Thaler.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

NudgeAcknowledgments
Introduction

Part I: Humans and Econs

1. Biases and Blunders
2. Resisting Temptation
3. Following the Herd
4.When Do We Need a Nudge?
5. Choice Architecture

Part II: Money

6. Save More Tomorrow
7. Naive Investing
8. Credit Markets
9. Privatizing Social Security: Smorgasbord Style

Part III: Health

10. Prescription Drugs: Part D for Daunting
11. How to Increase Organ Donations
12. Saving the Planet

Part IV: Freedom

13. Improving School Choices
14. Should Patients Be Forced to Buy Lottery Tickets?
15. Privatizing Marriage

Part V: Extensions and Objections

16. A Dozen Nudges
17. Objections
18. The Real Third Way
19. Bonus Chapter: Twenty More Nudges
Postscript: November 2008
Notes
Bibliography
Index

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Fundamentally changes the way I think about the world. . . . Academics aren't supposed to be able to write this well." —Steven Levitt, co-author of Freakonomics

"[An] utterly brilliant book. . . . Nudge won't nudge you-it will knock you off your feet." —Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness

"Nudge is as important a book as any I've read in perhaps twenty years. It is a book that people interested in any aspect of public policy should read. It is a book that people interested in politics should read. It is a book that people interested in ideas about human freedom should read. It is a book that people interested in promoting human welfare should read. If you're not interested in any of these topics, you can read something else." —Barry Schwartz, The American Prospect

"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 Moneyball

Interviews

A conversation with Richard Thaler & Cass Sunstein

Q: What do you mean by "nudge" and why do people sometimes need to be nudged? 

A: By a nudge we mean anything that influences our choices. A school cafeteria might try to nudge kids toward good diets by putting the healthiest foods at front. We think that it's time for institutions, including government, to become much more user-friendly by enlisting the science of choice to make life easier for people and by gentling nudging them in directions that will make their lives better.

Q: You discuss tricks our minds play on us, and biases we have. What are some of those? 

A: As with visual or optical illusions, our minds can play tricks on us. For example, we are very sensitive to the way choices are described or "framed." A medical treatment can be made more or less attractive depending on whether the outcomes are described in terms of the chances of survival or the chances of death, even though these are, of course, equivalent.

Q: What are some of the situations where nudges can make a difference?

A: Well, to name just a few: better investments for everyone, more savings for retirement, less obesity, more charitable giving, a cleaner planet, and an improved educational system. We could easily make people both wealthier and healthier by devising friendlier choice environments, or architectures.

Q: Can you describe a nudge that is now being used successfully? 

A: One example is 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 the employee gets a raise. This plan has more than tripled saving rates in some firms, and is now offered by thousands of employers.

Q: You are very adamant about allowing people to have choice, even though they may make bad ones. But if we know what's best for people, why just nudge? Why not push and shove? 

A: Those who are in position to shape our decisions can overreach or make mistakes, and freedom of choice is a safeguard to that. One of our goals in writing this book is to show that it is possible to help people make better choices and retain or even expand freedom. If people have their own ideas about what to eat and drink, and how to invest their money, they should be allowed to do so.

Customer Reviews

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Nudge 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 66 reviews.
Romero More than 1 year ago
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.
Nilesh Saraf More than 1 year ago
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.
Missive65 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anyone who has a psych degree will know these ideas/priciples. May be interesting to others though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great techniques for the slow brainwashing of the great mass of people who have no interest in thinking for themselves. A must read for any aspiring dictator, whether they dream of controling a country or a corporation.
lollo55 More than 1 year ago
Read this for a sociological project and appreciated the humor with which the authors addressed some of the issues. It contains great examples of how our benevolent overseers can nudge us in the right direction and help us as mere humans make the decisions we might otherwise be unwilling or too lazy to make for ourselves. My only criticism is that the points are made through examples from many areas and then repeated and repeated and REPEATED!!!! It could we'll have been shorter and still very good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Must read for anyone interested in public or private policy issues.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A poor attempt at disguising brainwashing for so-called enlightenment. Please don't attempt to think for yourself, you're too weakminded. Let me tell you what's best for you. Not worth any rating!
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