Since the original publication of Nudge more than a decade ago, the word that served as the title of the ground-breaking book has entered the vocabulary of businesspeople, policy makers, engaged citizens and consumers everywhere. Nudge has sold more than two million copies worldwide and has been praised by the likes of Daniel Kahneman, Steven Levitt and Michael Lewis, making it one of the most important and influential books of the 21st century. Nudge has taught us how to use choice architecture to help us make better decisions for our health, wealth and happiness. It has given rise to more than 400 nudge units in governments around the world and has influenced countless groups of behavioural scientists in every part of the economy.
In October 2021 Richard Thaler, one of the co-authors of the book and winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize for economics, came to Intelligence Squared to talk about Nudge: The Final Edition, a cover-to-cover refresh of the original publication, which incorporates Thaler’s own experiences and an explosion of new academic research. He shared insights into a host of issues that we face in our daily lives – health, personal finance, retirement savings, credit card debt, home mortgages, medical care and organ donation. He discussed how in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic governments and businesses have had to think creatively about how to nudge people to wear masks, socially distance, and get vaccinated. He reflected on what role nudges can play in getting individuals, companies and the nations of the world to address the climate crisis. And he revealed his new concept of ‘sludge’ – paperwork and other unpleasant and unnecessary chores, which, as he argues, every organisation should be on a mission to seek out and destroy.