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Book Freak - Issue #82: How to Improve Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness

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Book Freak

May 3 · Issue #82 · View online

Short pieces of advice from books


This issue of Book Freak presents four pieces of advice from Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein

Need to gain weight? Dine with other people
“An especially good way to gain weight is to have dinner with other people. On average, those who eat with one other person eat about 35 percent more than they do when they are alone; members of a group of four eat about 75 percent more; those in groups of seven or more eat 96 percent more.”
Understand the "loss aversion" bias
“Roughly speaking, losing something makes you twice as miserable as gaining the same thing makes you happy. In more technical language, people are “loss averse… Once I have a mug, I don’t want to give it up. But if I don’t have one, I don’t feel an urgent need to buy one. What this means is that people do not assign specific values to objects. When they have to give something up, they are hurt more than they are pleased if they acquire the very same thing.“
Money is money
“The money that has recently been won is called ‘house money’ because in gambling parlance the casino is referred to as the house. Betting some of the money that you have just won is referred to as “gambling with the house’s money,” as if it were, somehow, different from some other kind of money. Experimental evidence reveals that people are more willing to gamble with money that they consider house money.”
The default option is a subtle form of coercion
“In many contexts defaults have some extra nudging power because consumers may feel, rightly or wrongly, that default options come with an implicit endorsement from the default setter, be it the employer, government, or TV scheduler.”
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