Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness - Deepstash

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Although this book is focused more on policy innovation, I liked the parts which show that any consumer-focused innovation should begin with understanding how consumers choose.

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness

by Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein


2.56K reads


A nudge… is any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people’s behavior in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives.

  • Loss Aversion: We prefer not to lose rather than gain
  • Myopia: We make choices based on short term gain, often at long-term costs
  • Conformity: We tend to make choices to conform with the behaviour and expectations of others
  • Anchoring Bias: Choosing by relying too heavil...

Who is a Choice Architect and why do we need nudges?

A choice architect is one who indirectly influences the choices other people make. They are entitled to the responsibility for organizing the context in which people make decisions. 

If you design the ballot the voters use it to choose candidates or design ...

The Fly in the Urinal

The authorities at Schipol Airport in Amsterdam have etched the image of a black housefly into each urinal in the men's room. Men usually don't pay much attention to where they aim but if they see a target, their attention and accuracy increases.

The natural urge is to aim (and drown the fl...

6 Principles of good choice architecture

iNcentives - The right incentives for the right people enable good decision-making processes.

Understand Mappings is how people can better relate to the consequences of different decision pathways

Defaults - People often leave the def...

Two Opportunities

Insights from the architecture of choice reveal two opportunities for the innovator based on basic psychology and the fact that people have two distinctive thinking styles that they flip between;

  • Reflective thinking (aka “Systematic”, “Central”, “System 2” thought) tha...

Defaults are ubiquitous and powerful

For a given choice there is a default option, an option that will obtain if the chooser does nothing, then we can expect a large number of people to end up with that option. 

Automatic renewal for magazine subscriptions is a classic example.

If the choice architect forces to choose th...

Understand Mapping

A good system of choice architecture helps people to improve their ability to map and select options that will make them better off.

One way to do this is to make the information about various options more comprehensible, by transforming numerical information into units that translate more ...

  1. Either play on the fallacies and biases that pattern our automatic (lazy) thinking (see list further down),
  2. Or jolt people into reflective thinking by providing them with a new way of thinking about something 

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