Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness

Registered by wingghirwing of Honolulu, Hawaii USA on 11/23/2016
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingghirwing from Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Wednesday, November 23, 2016
FOL book sale purchase.

Influence in decision making and shaping individual behavior and public policy.

Reserved for GD. Mailed 01/15/17.

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Friday, January 20, 2017
The wishlist book arrived safely today - along with a delightful surprise: the "WWH&LD?" tote! [The armadillo was the clue to interpreting that as "What Would Hap & Leonard Do?", for the alleged heroes of Joe R. Lansdale's darkly hilarious series. (Rumble Tumble actually features Bob the armadillo on the cover.)]

I hope that Nudge will offer decision-making tips other than patterning one's behavior on those good-hearted but bad-tempered guys {wry grin}!

Later: I found a good portion of the book quite intriguing, not least because I worked in software development and have experience in the ups and downs of designing user interfaces that will help more than they hurt. This book tends to focus on large-scale nudges, from government, utility companies, and other businesses, but the discussions include helpful hints to consumers as to the kinds of things to watch out for - default settings that may not be the optimum ones, opt-out vs. opt-in situations and their complexities, etc.

Some tips might be applicable to one's personal life, such as the anecdote in the introduction about an experiment in repositioning foods at school cafeterias to see if that alone might have a significant effect in how much healthy food the students chose over the snack foods. [The point was that keeping the choices while emphasizing the healthy ones could have a better result than trying to ban the less-healthy choices outright - a good psychological insight, as Prohibition should have taught us!]

I was amused by the contrast between the ultra-logical thinkers ("Econs", equated to Mr. Spock) and the regular folk ("Humans", often equated to - gulp - Homer Simpson), even though it obviously went to extremes in both directions. The authors do make the point that aiming decisions and interfaces at super-logical people doesn't work well, and, alas, there are too many examples of that still very much in force.

The chapter on organ donation was one of the more personally-applicable, though it focused on ways for lawmakers to increase the odds that people will sign up. Even without such changes, though, it served as a good reminder - nudge, if you will - for readers who haven't signed organ-donor cards to at least consider doing so, and to make sure their families and friends know of their wishes.

A couple of chapters feature lists of little nudges, often about newly-available gadgets or software that could provide help in encouraging one to exercise, coping with bad habits, and even reducing the amount of splashback at public urinals (that's due to the fly).

In some ways the idea of manipulating people's choices sounds disconcerting, but given that this happens all the time and that there is really no way to present options such that *some* manipulation isn't involved, it's a good idea to look into the more benign ways to do this - and to raise the consciousness of consumers.

Released 1 yr ago (1/22/2017 UTC) at Riverwalk trail (see notes for details) in Manchester, New Hampshire USA


I left this book, bagged against the elements, in the fence along the Riverwalk overpass near the sculpture of a bull. Hope the finder enjoys it!

[See other recent releases in New Hampshire here.]

*** Released as part of the 2017 Keep Them Moving release challenge. ***

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