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Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (2008)

by Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,957533,477 (3.5)38
Thaler and Sunstein offer a groundbreaking discussion of how to apply the science of choice to nudge people toward decisions that can improve their lives without restricting their freedom of choice.
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    Coercion: Why We Listen to What "They" Say by Douglas Rushkoff (elenchus)
    elenchus: Two sides of the same coin: Rushkoff's Coercion examines how influence or manipulation is to the detriment of the individual's self interest, precisely in order to benefit someone else (usually selling something); Thaler's Nudge as a deliberate effort to influence an individual in the direction of their own self interest, when typical behavior is found to be against their own interests (such as unhealthy eating habits or overspending).… (more)
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» See also 38 mentions

English (49)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  Romanian (1)  All languages (53)
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
Wow! This book starts off really interestingly; it details the way our minds work and the techniques for getting people to listen to your message. All worth reading and I took several pages of notes to reconsider at my leisure.

Then, we hit part two: a party political broadcast on behalf of the neoliberal parties of the world. Oh well, I'll skip that bit and get on to the climate section. As a green, this will recapture my interest...

The text is that money talks. Raise a few taxes, but not too much. The poor will be scared off from fossil fuel use and the rich? Why, they'll pay for ignoring the regulations and the poor are so stupid that they'll take a little extra money and suffer in silence.

Thanks boys, don't call us, we'll call you - all sorts of names! ( )
  the.ken.petersen | Feb 10, 2021 |
Came to get some insights on how to apply nudges to my product management work.
Instead heard how to fix the American society (not used to sharing/caring at a large government scale). Lots and lots of US centered form filling, government policy details.
Good points are:
- raises awareness on the fact that nudges matter
- authors does not put himself too much at the center of the book like other non-fictions these days (thought the use of "we" instead of "I" creates a weird pattern of wondering who he is talking about sometimes)
( )
  jbrieu | Nov 6, 2020 |
Not sure why I read this... Not the kind of thing I like at all. But it does kinda show how to be a sleaze ball and try to push people into doing what you want. That's yucky to me but I suppose if that is your thing this is a good book.

Audiobook note :good narrator. ( )
  marshapetry | Oct 16, 2020 |
This book is intended for "choice architects": people who design situations where others have to make a decision. This includes policymakers, human resources professionals, and teachers; among others. The book advocates a policy of "libertarian paternalism": allowing people to make their own decisions, but subtly encouraging them in one direction through design of default options or explicit propaganda. I found it very interesting and useful for my job ( )
  Rachel_Hultz | Aug 15, 2020 |
This book was written shortly before Barack Obama’s election as U.S. President. Notably, that time was also just before the Great Recession. In that light, this book seems to suggest an ending to the deep conflicts between the world-views of conservative and liberal Baby Boomers and an opening to some sort of resolution of their tensions.

It attempts to paint a middle way between economic conservatives (libertarians) and economic liberals (paternalists), a way called “libertarian paternalism.” This philosophy tries to preserve freedom of choice while allowing a suggested choice (a “nudge”) in the “choice architecture.” By way of reading this over a decade after composition, such a setup is currently practiced through opting into or out of default decisions.

Likewise, in light of ten years of history, this book does not seem quite as revolutionary as it did in the days of Obama’s via media. Much of the new sparkilness of a middle way to solve our national problems has dissipated into entrenched warfare between an old way and a new way. Perhaps voices like Thaler’s and Sunstein’s will end up ruling the day. However, the present and the expected near-future seem bleak in light of the lack of receptivity towards proposals based on intelligence alone. Academically, decision theory (the field of this text) has continued to prove ascendant, and the field’s novelty has been a victim of its own success. This book has played its own role in these stories. It is interesting to peruse its pages with that knowledge.

Nonetheless, it is striking to read the breadth of impact that this acclaimed pair cite. From marriage and homosexuality to organ donation, from the design of urinals to the defaults in workplace benefits, a wide berth of worlds is considered. The scope speaks to the erudition of these economists.

One avenue not much considered by this book is the role of artificial intelligence in selecting such default choices. Will computers prove to be the most enlightened choice architecture? Can instant analyses influence the choice architecture so that human can make better decisions? Time and history will tell. This work should continue to inspire the minds of thoughtful people for a while, and it will sit in the annals of economic history some time to come. ( )
  scottjpearson | Feb 11, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
But regardless of whether Thaler and Sunstein’s ideas are ideologically neutral, most of them are the essence of common sense.
Although Nudge has no positive redeeming qualities, there is some value in what it reveals about contemporary politics. Thaler and Sunstein have unwittingly exposed an increasingly popular approach to whittling away freedom in America.

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Richard H. Thalerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Sunstein, Cass R.main authorall editionsconfirmed
Bausum, ChristophTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
James, LloydNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pratt, SeanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For France, who makes everything in life better, even this book. - RHT
For Ellyn, who knows when to nudge her father. - CRS
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A friend of ours, Carolyn, is the director of food services for a large city school system.
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Thaler and Sunstein offer a groundbreaking discussion of how to apply the science of choice to nudge people toward decisions that can improve their lives without restricting their freedom of choice.

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