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Published on 9/15/2017
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Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness

Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness is a book written by University of Chicago economist Richard H. Thaler and Harvard Law SchoolProfessor Cass R. Sunstein.

The book draws on research in psychology and behavioral economics to defend libertarian paternalism and active engineering of choice architecture. 

The book received largely positive reviews. The Guardian described it as "never intimidating, always amusing and elucidating: a jolly economic romp but with serious lessons within."  It was named one of the best books of 2008 by The Economist


  • 1Summary
    • 1.1Human behavior
      • 1.1.1Two systems of thinking
      • 1.1.2Fallacies and biases
    • 1.2Libertarian paternalism
    • 1.3Policy recommendations
      • 1.3.1Retirement saving
      • 1.3.2Health care
  • 2Reception
  • 3See also
  • 4Notes
  • 5References
  • 6External links



Human behavior 

One of the main justifications for Thaler's and Sunstein's endorsement of libertarian paternalism in Nudge draws on facts of human nature and psychology. The book is critical of the homo economicus view of human beings "that each of us thinks and chooses unfailingly well, and thus fits within the textbook picture of human beings offered by economists." 

They cite many examples of research which raise "serious questions about the rationality of many judgments and decisions that people make". They state that, unlike members of homo economicus, members of the species homo sapiens make predictable mistakes because of their use of heuristics, fallacies, and because of the way they are influenced by their social interactions.

Two systems of thinking 

The book describes two systems that characterize human thinking, which Sunstein and Thaler refer to as the "Reflective System" and the "Automatic System".  These two systems are more thoroughly defined in Daniel Kahneman's book Thinking, Fast and Slow.

The Automatic System is "rapid and is or feels instinctive, and it does not involve what we usually associate with the word thinking". 



Instances of the Automatic System at work include smiling upon seeing a puppy, getting nervous while experiencing air turbulence, and ducking when a ball is thrown at you.

The Reflective System is deliberate and self-conscious. It is the one at work when people decide which college to attend, where to go on trips, and (under most circumstances) whether or not to get married. 

Fallacies and biases 

Because of these differences and conflicts between these systems, people are often subject to making mistakes that are the result of widely occurring biases, heuristics, and fallacies. These include:

Name Description
Anchoring A cognitive bias wherein one relies too heavily on one trait or piece of information. An example would be a resident of Chicago who is asked to guess the population of Milwaukee. Knowing that Milwaukee is a major city, but certainly not as large as Chicago, the person would take the population of Chicago (roughly 3 million) and divide it by, say, three (arriving at one million). A resident of Green Bay (which has a population of around 100,000) might know that Milwaukee is larger than Green Bay, and triple the population of their home city to arrive at a guess (of 300,000). The difference in guesses of people because of their geographical location is an instance of anchoring. The real population of Milwaukee is about 580,000.
Aaheuristic When people predict the frequency of an event based on how easily an example can be brought to mind. The authors state that this could help explain why people think that homicides occur more than suicides, as examples of homicides are more readily available. The availability heuristic can have negative effects in business and politics, because people will overstate risks, resulting in people purchasing unnecessary insurance, or governments pursuing social goals at the expense of other more fruitful ones. 
Representativeness heuristic Where people judge the probability or frequency of a hypothesis by considering how much the hypothesis resembles available data. An example would be perceiving meaningful patterns in information that is in fact random. These include false accounts of "cancer clusters" and the common belief in basketball that players can get "hot". Due to the number of shots taken, players are bound to have times when they score many shots in a row, but basketball fans wrongly believe that a player that has just made a series of shots is more likely to make their next shot. 
Status quo bias This is when people are very likely to continue a course of action since it has been traditionally the one pursued, even though this course of action may clearly not be in their best interest. An example of the status-quo bias at work would be when magazine companies offer trials of their magazines for free, but then, after the trial has ended, continue to send magazines and charge the customer until he or she actively ends the subscription. This leads to many people receiving and paying for magazines they do not read. 
Herd mentality People are heavily influenced by the actions of others. Sunstein and Thaler cite a famous study by Solomon Asch where people, due to peer pressure, answer certain questions in a way that was clearly false (such as saying that two lines are the same length, when they clearly are not).
Libertarian paternalism 

Libertarian paternalism (also called soft paternalism) is the union of two political notions commonly viewed as being at odds: libertarianism and paternalism.

Sunstein and Thaler state that "the libertarian aspect of our strategies lies in the straightforward insistence that, in general, people should be free to do what they like-and to opt out of undesirable arrangements if they want to do so". 



 The paternalistic portion of the term "lies in the claim that it is legitimate for choice architects to try to influence people's behavior in order to make their lives longer, healthier, and better". 

Choice architecture describes the way in which decisions are influenced by how the choices are presented. People can be "nudged" by arranging the choice architecture in a certain way without taking away the individual's freedom of choice. A simple example of a nudge would be placing healthy foods in a school cafeteria at eye level, while putting less-healthy junk food in harder-to-reach places. Individuals are not actually prevented from eating whatever they want, but arranging the food choices that way causes people to eat less junk food and more healthy food.



Policy recommendations 

Sunstein and Thaler apply the idea of nudges in the context of choice architecture to propose policy recommendations in the spirit of libertarian paternalism. They have recommendations in the areas of finance, health, the environment, schools, and marriage.  They believe these problems can at least be partially addressed by improving the choice architecture.

Retirement saving 

Thaler and Sunstein point out that many Americans are not saving enough for retirement. They state that "in 2005 the personal savings rate for Americans was negative for the first time since 1932 and 1933 – the Great 



Depression years".

One change they offer is creating better default plans for employees. Employees would be able to adopt any plan they like, but, if no action is taken, they would automatically be enrolled in an expertly designed program [such as social security]. They also propose what they refer to as the "Save More Tomorrow" plan. This is to address the issue of people having the desire to save more, yet procrastinating on actually doing so. This program would invite "participants to commit themselves, in advance, to a series of contribution increases timed to coincide with pay raises". 

Health care 

The book contains an analysis of the Bush administration program Medicare Part D. Thaler and Sunstein state that "on some dimensions Bush was on the right track" with the plan, but that, "as a piece of choice suffered from a cumbersome design that impeded good decision making". Specifically, they think that default choices for programs should not have been random, and that beneficiaries of the program were not given adequate resources to deal with the number of choices they were faced with. They think that seniors who did not sign up for a program should have one assigned to them, and that, yearly, they should be mailed an itemized list of all drugs they had used and all of the fees they incurred. This information would be freely available online so beneficiaries could easily compare their programs with other similar ones. 




George Will's review for Newsweek magazine stated that "nudges have the additional virtue of annoying those busybody, nanny-state liberals who, as the saying goes, do not care what people do as long as it is compulsory". 


British journalist Bryan Appleyard, in a review for The Times, was critical of the book, describing it as a "very, very dull read, a dogged march through social policies with boring lists of what nudges should be imposed and how" and that "what the book needs is not more examples but more elaboration of the central idea". 


Christopher Shea wrote for The Washington Post that "In the end, it must be said, the profusion of proposals in Nudge, however worthy, and the countless summaries of studies supporting them grow a bit wearisome. As influential as the book is likely to be, it's hard to imagine it pushing its way alongside Malcolm Gladwell's Blink (inferior social science, far breezier style) on the bestseller list". 


Elizabeth Kolbert writing for The New Yorker held reservations about some of the book's conclusions when she wrote that

many of the suggestions in Nudge seem like good ideas, and even, as with “Save More Tomorrow,” practical ones. The whole project, though, as Thaler and Sunstein acknowledge, raises some pretty awkward questions. If the “nudgee” can’t be depended on to recognize his own best interests, why stop at a nudge? Why not offer a “push,” or perhaps even a “shove”? And if people can’t be trusted to make the right choices for themselves how can they possibly be trusted to make the right decisions for the rest of us? 




In July 2011, a subgroup of the UK House of Lords Science and Technology Committee concluded a year-long review of behavioral change based on 148 written submissions and evidence from 70 witnesses. The review was led by Baroness Neuberger. In an interview with The Guardian newspaper, Baroness Neuberger reports finding “precious little” evidence for effective impact of Nudge:



You need more than just nudge ... Behavioural change interventions appear to work best when they're part of a package of regulation and fiscal measures ... all politicians love quick fixes ... one of the problems with all of this is if you really want to change people's behaviour it takes a very long time ... you have to look at a 20- to 25-year span before you get a full change of behaviour.


American law professor, Pierre Schlag, notes that for all their attention to framing issues, Sunstein and Thaler neglect a number of important questions: "(1) What to optimize? (2) When is a nudge a shove? (3) Should we prefer experts? and (4) When do we nudge?" 


See also


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Some of the purported physical benefits of fasting include:

  • Improved mental clarity and concentration
  • Weight and body fat loss
  • Lowered blood insulin and sugar levels
  • Reversal of type 2 diabetes
  • Increased energy
  • Improved fat burning
  • Increased growth hormone
  • Lowered blood cholesterol
  • Prevention of Alzheimer’s disease (potential)
  • Longer life (potential)
  • Activatation of cellular cleansing (potential) by stimulating autophagy (a discovery that was awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in medicine)
  • Reduction of inflammation


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Published on Feb 27, 2017

Ketogenic Diet vs. Low Carb Diet: Thomas DeLauer-
Ketosis to Help Your Business?
-Ketosis is when your body turns to fat rather than carbohydrates for energy. Ketosis can occur during fasting, when you reduce the amount of carbs or calories in your diet, during pregnancy or after exercising for a long period of time.



Many diets use ketosis as the means of burning fat while maintaining muscle - examples include the Atkins diet and other low-carb diets. This strategy can also lead to decreased hunger. How long does it take to kick your body into fat burning, ketosis mode? Roughly 3-4 days of consuming less than 50 carbs per day, the equivalent of 2 bananas. Benefits include weight loss, seizure prevention, cardiovascular health and type-2 diabetes help, to name a few. 



How does it Work? When glucose is in short supply, your liver will break down fats into ketones, which are then used throughout your body for energy. Muscles and other tissues in your body use ketones rather than glucose for energy metabolism. In a healthy person, the production of ketones for energy is the body’s natural response to starvation, so this happens when dieting, overnight and during fasting. 



Glucose or Ketones: Which is More Effective? Many brain diseases, such as epilepsy, are already being treated by the ketogenic diet. The mechanisms to why it helps the brain are still being studied, but there are some possible reasons that ketones seem to be a good energy source for the brain. One major Ketone, beta-hydroxybutyrate, or BHB, provides more energy per unit of oxygen than glucose, and thus may be even more efficient than glucose at providing energy to the brain. (3) 
-The ketogenic diet has also been found to increase the number of mitochondria in brain cells.



In a 2004 study on rats, one group was fed a ketogenic diet while the other was fed a normal diet. A positive impact was found on the gene expression for mitochondrial enzymes in the hippocampus, the memory and learning center of the brain. (4)
Ketosis and Body Water Composition: High fat and low carb diets are known to lead to fast weight loss. The fast weight loss is due to water weight being shed (5) 
-When you decrease carbs, you decrease water storage in the body. 



Who Can Benefit From Ketosis? If you are looking to shed some body fat, ketosis may be a good tool. This can go along with an exercise regimen as you maintain muscle while losing fat. Ketosis can also benefit those who need to boost brain power as energy may be utilized more effectively in the brain. 
*Be careful because those with diabetes can get too high of a level of ketones in their blood, which is very dangerous. This occurs due to the low levels of insulin in the blood, which will signal the body to produce excess ketones that will build up in the blood, making the blood pH too low.



1. What is Ketosis? 
2. Diabetes Education Online 
3. The fat-fueled brain: unnatural or advantageous? 
4. A cDNA microarray analysis of gene expression profiles in rat hippocampus following a ketogenic diet 
5. Composition of Weight Loss During Short Term Weight Reduction

medical information. It specifies that the information does not constitute advice, and makes it clear that the accuracy of the information is not guaranteed. Further, users are advised to seek professional medical assistance in the event that they are suffering from any medical problem.

The problems that might arise out of the publication of medical information are obvious. It is the nature of medical information that acting upon it, or not acting upon it, may lead to harm. For example, harm may result if a user decides not to visit a doctor because of something he or she has read on a website, self-prescribes some medicine based on that reading, ignore previous medical advice or neglects to take a medicine previously prescribed.



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Intermittent fasting can provide many important health benefits, 


Why Restricting Your Eating Time Period To 8 Hours per day, Will Transform Your Health


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Image result for Fasting




Published on Apr 27, 2017

3 Drinks for Fat Loss & Digestion: Apple Cider Vinegar- Thomas DeLauer… for all your business, health, and fitness answers.
Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar: The benefits of apple cider vinegar come from its powerful healing compounds, which include acetic acid, magnesium, probiotics, and polyphenols. 
Acetic Acid- Apple Cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which is a synthetic carboxylic acid with antibacterial and antifungal properties. 
Weight loss/Metabolism- A study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, mice fed a high-fat diet along with acetic acid -- vinegar's key component -- developed up to 10% less body fat than control rodents.



Zevia: Zevia is an all-natural zero calorie soda made without artificial sweeteners, is non-GMO, kosher, gluten-free, vegan and contains no colors, dyes or phosphoric acid. Considered all-natural, Zevia uses Stevia as a sweetener.

Regulate Blood Sugar/Glucose- An article published in Journal of Dietary Supplements evaluated how stevia affects diabetic rats. It was discovered that rats treated with 250 and 500 milligrams every day “significantly” reduced fasting blood sugar levels and balanced insulin resistance, and triglycerides.

Matcha Green Tea: Matcha Green Tea is the highest quality powdered green tea available. Made from the nutrient-rich young leaves picked from the tips of shade-grown Camellia sinensis plants, Matcha Green Tea is steamed, stemmed, and de-vined before being stone-ground into very fine powder.

EGCg (epigallocatechin gallate)



Green tea contains a specific set of antioxidant known as catechins. Among antioxidants, catechins are the most potent and beneficial. One specific catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg) makes up 60% of the catechins in Matcha Green Tea. Out of all the antioxidants, EGCg is the most widely recognized for its cancer fighting properties. 

Reduces Inflammation- Egcg appears to effectively inhibit TAK1 by blocking its phosphorylation. TAK1 is a mediator of inflammation, and is integral to the activation of downstream mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) in response to receptor stimulation by the inflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-1β and tumor necrosis factor (TNF).

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences conducted a study and found that matcha green tea may reduce the severity of rheumatoid arthritis. During the study, mice were injected with collagen to induce a condition similar to rheumatoid arthritis in humans. Of those who drank tea, 44% became arthritic. Of those who didn’t drink tea, 94% became arthritic. (12)



1) Acetic Acid Upregulates the Expression of Genes for Fatty Acid Oxidation Enzymes in Liver To Suppress Body Fat Accumulation - Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (ACS Publications). (n.d.). Retrieved from

2) Polyphenols Can Aid Gut Health, Boost Longevity. (n.d.). Retrieved from

3) Do Polyphenols Improve Your Gut Bacteria? (n.d.). Retrieved from

4) Effects of apple cider vinegars produced with different techniques on blood lipids in high-cholesterol-fed rats. - PubMed - NCBI. (n.d.). Retrieved from

5) Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV): Is it Really a Powerful Healing Tonic? - Underground Health. (n.d.). Retrieved from

6) The Effect of Stevia Rebaudiana on Serum Omentin and Visfatin Level in STZ-Induced Diabetic Rats (PDF Download Available). (n.d.). Retrieved from

7) Stevioside inhibits atherosclerosis by improving insulin signaling and antioxidant defense in obese insulin-resistant mice. - PubMed - NCBI. (n.d.). Retrieved from

8) Sharma, N., Mogra, R., & Upadhyay, B. (2009). Effect of Stevia Extract Intervention on Lipid Profile. Retrieved from

9) United States Patent: 6500471. (n.d.). Retrieved from

10) EGCG extract, health benefit, side effects. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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