Nudge Theory: Practical Examples for Your Life

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform summary of "Nudge" by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein. Shortform has the world's best summaries of books you should be reading.

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Can you use choice architecture in your daily life? What are some Nudge theory practical examples to guide you?

Choice architecture is the concept of mapping options to benefits and drawbacks. Nudge theory practical examples are rooted in the effective use of choice architecture.

Read on to see some Nudge theory practical examples that you can apply to your own life.

Nudge Theory Practical Examples Start With Choice Architecture

Apply choice architecture in your own life.

Think about a choice that you’ve recently presented to someone in your life. (It can be as simple as asking someone what they want for dinner!) Write down the choice and to whom you offered it.

Now analyze the choice as a choice architect. Did you avail yourself of a default? Did you “map” the benefits of the various options for your chooser?

Think further about your choice architecture. Were the incentives—whether economic or otherwise—“salient” for your chooser?

Now think about a choice you’ll need to offer someone in the near future. How might you use the techniques of choice architecture to lead the person to the best possible choice?

Nudging Your Finances

Manage credit card debt in the absence of RECAP with this Nudge theory practical example and exercise.

Do you have a credit card? More than one? List the number of credit cards you have and the amounts owed on each.

Do you know the interest rate on each of those cards? If so, list them; if not, look them up and then list them. Also list any perks or special features of your card(s).

Now take stock. Which of your cards offers the lowest rate? Is your debt ideally allocated (i.e., do you have too much on a high-interest card)? If you only have one card, spend some time researching alternative cards—are other companies offering better rates?

Now that you’ve performed your own DIY version of RECAP, how else do you think credit card companies could improve their choice architecture or feedback mechanisms?

Create Your Own Nudge

Have some fun creating your own nudge.

Which of the nudges you’ve read about so far is your favorite? Why?

Using your favorite nudge as a model, propose a nudge in a similar life area. (For example, if you chose the procrastinator’s clock, you might think of an app that has a similar function.)

Now try to create a nudge from scratch. In what facet of your life could you use some improvement? And is there a nudge that can help you improve?

Nudge Theory: Practical Examples for Your Life

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best summary of Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein's "Nudge" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full Nudge summary:

  • Why subtle changes, like switching the order of two choices, can dramatically change your response
  • How to increase the organ donation rate by over 50% through one simple change
  • The best way for society to balance individual freedom with social welfare

Rina Shah

An avid reader for as long as she can remember, Rina’s love for books began with The Boxcar Children. Her penchant for always having a book nearby has never faded, though her reading tastes have since evolved. Rina reads around 100 books every year, with a fairly even split between fiction and non-fiction. Her favorite genres are memoirs, public health, and locked room mysteries. As an attorney, Rina can’t help analyzing and deconstructing arguments in any book she reads.

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