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Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happinessby Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein
Synopses & Reviews
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 all are susceptible to various biases that can lead us to blunder. Our mistakes make us poorer and less healthy; we often make bad decisions involving education, personal finance, health care, mortgages and credit cards, the family, and even the planet itself.
Thaler and Sunstein invite us to enter an alternative world, one that takes our humanness as a given. 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 books to come along in many years.
A groundbreaking discussion of how we can apply the new science of choice architecture to nudge people toward decisions that will improve their lives by making them healthier, wealthier, and more free
About the Author
Richard H. Thaler is considered a pioneer in the fields of behavioural economics and finance. Born in New Jersey, USA, on September 12, 1945, Thaler received his bachelor's degree from Case Western Reserve University in 1967. He received his master's degree in 1970 from the University of Rochester and his Ph.D. in economics in 1974.
Thaler first gained attention between 1987 and 1990 with a regular column, "Anomalies," published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives. In his column he wrote of individual instances in which economic behavior seemed to violate traditional microeconomic theory.
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 has written a number of books intended for the lay reader on the subject of behavioral finance, including Quasi-rational Economics and The Winner's Curse, the latter of which contains many of his "Anomalies" columns revised and adapted for a popular audience. Thaler is an active voice in the global discussions underway on the subject of individual pension plans. Thaler and like-minded colleagues have been using behavioral findings to influence President Bush’s proposal for Social Security reform.
Thaler is currently Robert P. Gwinn Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics and Director of the Center for Decision Research, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago. He is also Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research (co-director with Robert Shiller of the Behavioral Economics Project, funded by the Russell Sage Foundation).
Cass R. Sunstein was born in 1954. He graduated in 1975 from Harvard College and in 1978 from Harvard Law School magna cum laude. After graduation, he clerked for Justice Benjamin Kaplan of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and 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 a member of the Department of Political Science as well as the Law School. He is author of many articles and a number of books, including After the Rights Revolution: Reconceiving the Regulatory State (1990), Constitutional Law (co-authored with Geoffrey Stone, Louis M. Seidman, and Mark Tushnet) (1995), The Partial Constitution (1993), Democracy and the Problem of Free Speech (1993), Legal Reasoning and Political Conflict (1996), Free Markets and Social Justice (1997), Administrative Law and Regulatory Policy (1998) (with Justice Stephen Breyer and Professor Richard Stewart and Matthew Spitzer), One Case At A Time (1999), Behavioral Law and Economics (editor, 2000), Designing Democracy: What Constitutions Do (2001), Republic.com (2001), Risk and Reason (2002), The Cost-Benefit State (2002), Punitive Damages: How Juries Decide (2002), Why Societies Need Dissent (2003), The Second Bill of Rights (2004), and Laws of Fear: Beyond the Precautionary Principle (2005). He is now working on various projects involving the relationship between law and human behavior.
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