Book Review: Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness

I have finished this books several days ago. This book is not about self improvement or personal development (that is what I first thought when I saw the title). This book is about designing choice environments where people make the choices that are best for them, others or society. First they explain that people have two cognitive systems: The reflective system and the automatic system. or planners and doers or Econs and Humans. The planner in me says tomorrow evening I will go to the Gym, when tomorrow evening arrives the doer in me sits on the couch watching television because that’s more convenient. The Econs in me is truly rational and makes choices that are best for him (like opting in in an pension plan), the human in me keeps forgetting about that pension plan for whatever reason.

The writers of this book call themselves libertarian paternalist. This means they think people should have as many choices as possible and be free to choice between the different options. But they think the design of the choice environment should be designed in a way most beneficial to the one who makes the choice. They start the book with the example of school cafeteria where depending on the arrangement of the display of the food some food would sell better then others. Think of putting deserts at the beginning of the line or at the end.

Is this a useful book for marketing director of a museum? First of all let me say that I enjoyed the book. It has nice examples and lets you think about choice architecture. And of course in exhibits visitors make constant choices about what they want to see, read, touch etc. But this book is not really about choices in a physical environment but more about choices in an administrative environment (like pensions, organ donations, investing). So for a marketing professional it is nice to read, for marketing museum professional I would not recommend it.

The authors website

Nudge, at