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Nudge

Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness
Narrated by: Sean Pratt
Length: 10 hrs and 35 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, Philosophy
3.5 out of 5 stars (31 ratings)

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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 are all susceptible to various biases that can lead us to blunder. Our mistakes can make us poor and unhealthy. We often make bad decisions about education, personal finance, health care, family, and the environment.

Thaler and Sunstein invite us to enter an alternative world, one that accepts that we are only human. 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 audiobooks to come along in many years.

©2008 Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein (P)2008 Gildan Media Corp

Critic reviews

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

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Good start but drifts a little

The concept of this book is very interesting and it starts well with some interesting ideas and good stories and examples, even if they are a little patronising and laboured in parts.

Nonetheless, it is quickly possible to see how this principle can be applied at work or even in ones own life to bring about improvements, and for this alone the book is well worth it.

However, a little over half way through it becomes bogged down in endless and excesive detail about american monetary policy and savings options, which becomes a little indigestible after a while.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Sleep

Nudge me when it gets to the end.Nudge me when it gets to the end

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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting & useful concepts, but...

The basic premise behind this book is interesting, useful and practical. We could all do with more of a nudge. If you are in business understanding the concepts and ideas in this book will be invaluable...
However the really painfully detailed, lengthy accounts and examples that make up the bulk of this book ad-tedium feel like someone trying to pad out a book from of a few ideas.
Be prepared to hit the fast forward button for large parts of this book.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Nudge, fudge - think, think!

Taking an oxymoron as your starting point, the anticipated route would be explore the apparent contradictions and show that from the thesis and anti-thesis there can be a synthesis that is something greater than the original parts. At least that's how Carlo Marlowe had it.

In the first instance I’d have been re-assured to see any evidence whatsoever for the existence - let alone the validity - of ‘Libertarian Paternalism. Our recent history lurches from one corporate scandal to covert operations emanating from one state after another.

Their central posit (whilst following the American way of liberally making nouns with founding-father verbs of our common language) is the idea that it is both possible and legitimate for private and public institutions to affect behavior while also respecting freedom of choice, as well as the implementation of that idea. When and where did this ever happen?

And what follows then is the application of the term ‘Architect’ to those who write the questions on which algorithms are programmed. It is enough to know that this most modern of dating-site drivers, derives from the name of the mathematician, Mohammed ibn-Musa al-Khwarizmi, who was part of the royal court in Baghdad and who lived from about 780 to 850 to confirm that a ‘Choice Architect’ is simply a grandiose common-place and an affectation served to flatter those who see themselves as the subject of this treatise.

And who are these targets - Whitehall Mandarins, Central Bankers, State Department Heads.....well, er..no....Pension Plan administrators, School Admission administrators - functionaries rather than our commissaires .

Bureaucracies do not speak unto Power - Power is delivered through the minutiae of everyday life...that’s the big idea that’s missing from this work.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Joshua Kim
  • 10-06-12

A Book I Keep Coming Back To

Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein covers many of the same studies and experiments, and then puts a public policy slant on the conclusions. I'm finding in these sorts of books that the same academic studies and examples pop-up time after time, which is good as it takes me about 5 times to get them straight. Where Sway helped me understand why I'm susceptible to make bad decisions, Nudge helped me understand how I can use the principles of "choice architecture" to influence events and decisions. Both worthwhile reads for folks like us who have a vision of education we are trying to implement, both in terms of why people do things the way they do, and some "libertarian paternalistic" ways to shape decisions and actions.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • morton
  • 30-07-08

How to improve health, wealth and happiness!

I highly recommend this audio book to anyone who is open to new thoughts and ideas and is interested in the principles of choice architecture. The authors put forth many low cost ideas that could result in major life improvements. I found it fascinating and very entertaining.

13 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Jon
  • 24-12-15

I liked the first half.

I liked the concept of a nudge. The author's political viewpoints and recommendations distracted from this towards the end of the book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Glenn
  • 30-07-08

Nudge is too long

I enjoyed half the book but it dragged half way through repeating the same concept in different situations. Some may like the application of their theory but for me I ended up skipping some sections.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • E. Pearson
  • 23-08-09

New Knowledge for Me!

This is all new for me, and well worth the time it took to listen to. Unlike many self-motivation books available (I mistakenly thought that is what "Nudge" is), I found this one to be actually motivating, and quite empowering. It became a bit tedious towards the end--as though the author was more into convincing me that he has correct opinions that into teaching me about choices and choicemaking, but I'd hardly call that a problem: I can weed out the bits of information that don't work. Happily, most of them do.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Stephen
  • 13-08-08

Beware: Vehicle for Getting Up on a Soap Box

The first 2/3 of the first half of this book were quite interesting and well presented. Presents psychological analysis of how people make decisions and how 'choice architects' can take advantage of these behaviors to 'nudge' you to make a decision. However, much to my displeasure, the book then becomes a soap box for 'libertarian' and liberal positions on global warming, health care and other issues. I felt like I was tricked (not nudged) into getting a book that I otherwise would never have bought. It seemed that the authors simply abandoned their more cerebral analysis of why people make decisions to present incomplete discussions of their personal several social issues. There is absolutely no balance to their discussions - made the book propoganda.

18 of 32 people found this review helpful

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  • Daddy Shawn
  • 09-09-19

Great ideas about encouraging people.

Some of what is covered in this book is found elsewhere. But the main point I found intriguing. How do you nudge or encourage people to do the right thing? Studying the natural tendencies of people is worthwhile. When behavior is shocking, maybe it shouldn't be.

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  • Clayton Farmer
  • 02-08-19

Well worth a listen!

Loved it, took me a while to get into it and finish, however there's some great principles.

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  • RLG
  • 31-07-19

Homo Economicus is dead

In the book: Great book on choice architecture and libertarian paternalism. Discussion on Medicare Part D, Mortgages, and Privatization of Social Security (among other things). Highly recommended.

Outside the book: Homo Economicus (the rational human with the computational brain power to make the most efficient decision on absolutely everything) is dead. This should effect and utterly obliterate the efficient-market hypothesis and most anything based outside of behavioral economics, but hasn't.

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  • Gvido
  • 28-08-17

Very informative and interesting

Great resource on this interesting subject. I was advised to read it as a background and basic book on behavior economics and it surely hit the mark. Very good information.