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on November 17, 2011
Nudge, by Richard H. Thaler Cass R. Sustein is both a technical analysis of choice within an economic disciplinary tradition and an expression of libertarian political theory. It breaks humanity into two groups: humans and econs. Humans act like real people with full dimensionality. Econs act like the reductionist "rational man" who populates the fundamental assumptions of much of conventional economic theory. The first three chapters develop the concept of "choice architecture," based on how humans actually respond in situations of choice. So long as it keeps empirical focus as a balance to liberatarian perspectives the work is excellent. This initial conceptual section and the following two sections on applications in areas of Money and Health provide insights that usefully correct absolutist extremes of libertarian political theory and assumptions of conventional economics into a kind of 'libertarianism lite' or 'libertarian paternalism' in the expression of the authors. Beginning with the discussion of "Saving the Planet," the remaining applications lose the empirical focus of the initial chapters and lean more and more on libertarian theory. Rising through the two final sections ("Freedom" and "Extensions and Objections") the text morphs into an exposition of libertarian political theory. The first third to one-half of this book make it very much worth purchasing for anyone involved in practical work that involves structuring programs for customer choice. Overall, this is an excellent book though it would have been better to have ended in the Health applications with the section on "How to Increase Organ Donations," and not relaxed into the world of libertarian political theory in the remainder. Still, you have to like the book. It is a significant contribution to knowledge in the area of choice.
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on October 23, 2015
Have you ever wondered how spin doctors manage to get us on board with the perspective they want us to believe? This book explains some of how they achieve that.
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on September 14, 2016
"Decision architecture". Now I have a new life goal to become a certified decision architect.
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on January 2, 2015
We all need to start thinking about some of the concepts in this book and consider choice architecture.
However, I felt the points were made early in the book and much of it was too hypothetical rather than using examples from the real world.
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on February 20, 2017
This book is a utopian tract extolling what a "Progressive" totalitarian society would look like (to its "Progressive" leaders). It would consist of the bureaucrats "nudging" the entire populace to do whatever the very Progressive leadership wants, but not so hard or so fast as to provoke a rebellion. This would ultimately create a "Progressive" utopia without the usual mass murder and gulags that historically accompany such schemes. And History would then end, and all would live happily ever after.

(Undoubtedly, there would always be those who resisted, but utopians always find means to deal with them.)

If you believe that all "Progressive" bureaucrats are wise, and that all of their children are above average, then this is the book for you.

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on October 15, 2016
Easy and good reading!
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on November 6, 2016
As a physician/health economist, Nudge is one of my most recommended books to students. It's useful and practical for everyone.
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on August 2, 2017
Very helpful and practical.
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on December 21, 2013
The book has one nice idea, but it stretches it for too long, It is nicely written and has some good parts, but in many cases it takes the obvious and goes on and on explaining it providing a lot of uninteresting details.
The way to go about this book is to skip through the boring materials
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on October 23, 2008
This is a terrific book. The authors cover terrain which has been explored recently in books such as "Predictably Irrational" and "Sway" -- loosely speaking, why we humans persistently engage in behavior patterns which do not benefit us in the long term. Their own research, at the University of Chicago, builds upon the work of Tversky and Kahneman in behavioral economics; the behavioral insights gained form the basis for public policy changes in a number of different areas.

The book provides a funny, engaging, remarkably clear exposition of the various factors which lead us to make poor decisions. This alone would make it worth reading. What makes it exceptional is that they actually suggest *remedies* that might help us save ourselves from our own flawed gut instincts. Indeed, they go one step further, making a convincing argument for incorporating these remedies as a part of public policy. The examples that they consider are directly relevant to decisions each of us faces routinely: choices that primarily affect our own welfare, like decisions about health and lifestyle, credit and money management, investing for retirement; and choices with broader societal implications, like those pertaining to environmental behavior, organ donation, charitable giving and community involvement. They use the term "libertarian paternalism" to characterize their public policy recommendations; don't allow the term to put you off - their suggestions really make a lot of sense.

"Nudge" is very well-written and extremely readable. I was impressed by the amount of useful and interesting material the authors managed to incorporate in just 250 pages. I highly recommend this book.
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