Book Club: Nudge

As Citizens Of Culture investigates our cultural perspective on Money: Personal Finance, Choice, and the Creative Economy  we look to also uncover some information about how we make decisions in our environment and what amount of input we prefer from outside sources.

If you have ever asked a waiter at a restaurant “What’s good here?” You have given them the opportunity to nudge you in the direction, you would most prefer based on their knowledge of the restaurant. The wait staff, is familiar with the menu and what is most popular, this concept is one of the core principles within nudge.

This section in the Introduction was of particular interest:

Carolyn is what we will be calling a choice architect.  A choice architect has the responsibility for organizing the context in which people make decisions. Although Carolyn is a figment of our imagination, many real people turn out to be choice architects, most without realizing it. If you design the ballot voters use to choose candidates, you are a choice architect. If you are a doctor and must describe the alternative treatments available to a patient, you are a choice architect. If you design the form that new employees fill out to enroll in the company health care plan, you are a choice architect. If you are a parent, describing possible educational options to your son or daughter, you are a choice architect. If you are a salesperson, you are a choice architect (but you already knew that).

….. As we shall see, small and apparently insignificant details can have major impact on people’s behavior. A good rue of thumb is to assume that “everything matters.” In many cases, the power of these small details come from focusing the attention of users in a particular direction. A wonderful example of this principle come from, of all place, the men’s room at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. There the authorities have etched the image of a black housefly into each urinal. It seems that men usually do not pay much attention to where they aim, which can create a bit of a mess, but if they see a target, attention and therefore accuracy are increased. According to the man who came up with the idea, it works wonders. “It improves the aim,” says Aad Kieboom.  “If a man sees a fly, he aims at it.” Kieboom, an economist, directs Schiphol’s building expansion. His staff conducted fly-in urinal trials and found that etchings reduce spillage by 80 percent.


The ideas presented in this book will be of value to any of us that are choice architects. Be it employers, designers, parents, or marketing professionals but the greater context of this book will be our own personal lives. Availing us a new opportunity to see how we manage our own choices, in wealth, health, and life to and nudge ourselves in better directions.

We invite you to read along.


As usual, if this is your first foray into the Book Club the first book is on us, just fill out the form below and sign up for the forum and your paperback or ebook will arrive in a few days (continental US).





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