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Inside the Nudge Unit: How small changes can make a big difference Paperback – 2 Jun 2016

4.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: WH Allen; Reprint edition (2 Jun. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753556553
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753556559
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 2.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"There is no better guide to governance in the twenty-first century" (Cass C Sunstein, co-author of Nudge)

"Offers a penetrating insight into the potential of behavioural mechanics, revealing what really works" (The Times Literary Supplement)

"A stunning book – thrilling, eye-opening and deeply informative" (Alain de Botton)

"Explains how to change people's behaviour in subtle but profound ways. Politicians of all parties could learn from this book" (Guardian)

"A must-read account of one of the Cameron government's best innovations. Inside the Nudge Unit is a brilliant guide to making any organisation not just more effective, but more human" (Steve Hilton, former Senior Advisor to David Cameron and author of More Human)

Book Description

Life changing lessons from the government’s Behavioural Insight Team (BIT) or ‘Nudge Unit’, the unconventional multi-million pound saving initiative that makes a big difference through influencing small, simple changes in human behaviour.

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Customer Reviews

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Format: Kindle Edition
This excellent book is about an experiment. In 2010 David Cameron set up a Nudge Unit, that is a Behavioural Insights Team (BIT). Its grandiose aims were to change the approach of a minimum of two big departments; to inject a much better understanding of human behaviour across government departments, and to deliver a ten- fold return on its cost. If not, it would be shut down after two years.

In its first two years the unit carried out dozens of experiments in healthcare, tax, crime, employment, economic growth and energy conservation. It worked. Many , particularly civil servants, were disappointed. The results of these experiments demonstrated that small changes could have large beneficial effects, and at very low cost.

This book is , therefore, about the application of psychology to everyday challenges. The author is Chief Executive of the unit and the National Advisor on What Works. Prior to this he was Chief Analyst in the PM's Strategy Unit for six years. He has held academic jobs as a psychologist at Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard. .He has written a remarkable book about an enterprise which few thought would ever see the light of day, let alone succeed.

In 2008, Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein published 'Nudge' . The book set out to see if the behavioural and social sciences could help people achieve their objectives and also improve government effectiveness and efficiency. They called their philosophy liberal paternalism. Neither author believed their ideas would lead to countries all over the world creating new government departments to incorporate behavioural science principles into the way policies were designed.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Politics and Governance is often seen as an industry of big ideas and [almost] inhuman decision making, but the Behavioural Insights Team of the British Government specialise in the gentle reframes and paternal influences that don't make the front page news, but could seriously impact your annual utility bills or the effectiveness of our healthcare system for the better of us all. In part this book feels like a simple overview of the work the BIT has done since its inception in 2010, and perhaps it would have been nice to have a closer understanding of exactly how the team operates when handling a project [in a later book maybe?], but nevertheless it serves as a wonderful window into the complexities not only faced by policy makers, but the empathy, care and attention that goes into deploying them to the public. Behavioural Insights are beginning to be addressed and utilised by many types of businesses and this book serves as an excellent introduction to the guys who were among the first to understand their power and use them effectively.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ever since I read the first of many Guardian rants about the Behavioural Insights Team in 2010, I have been a fan seeking knowledge. In today’s world it’s the norm for populations to put two fingers up against government policies that may possibly have a negative impact their self-centric lives. Even with a realisation that the policies may be good for the greater cause. From my lowly position as part of the general population, I’ve been a follower of all things that ‘influence’. Thus my interest in BIT and the reason that I bought this book the day it launched.

Having read it as an avid supporter this wonderfully written and engaging book seems to be the transfer of Richard Thaler’s original gospel “Nudge” to the real world of Britain today.

This is not an academic tome. The book’s an armchair read with a glass of plonk in hand. The simplicity of the language used in the book belies the complexity of what has been and continues to be achieved. By making micro-tweaks to the way things have always been done, the book demonstrates that large changes can be effected. Needless to say, the tweaks are a little more sophisticated than that word implies but David Halpern explains the evidence behind them in an easy to understand way.

I’ve even started to think about using some of the principles that I have learnt watching BIT over the years in my micro SME business. I can’t claim to have the vigour of the Nudge Unit but I can report that careful testing and searching for evidence has resulted in my reducing my all important DSO by a few simple text additions to the invoices I send.

A great read. Don’t expect to pick it up and put it down. You will want to devour it in as few sessions as possible. It will make you smile.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The product arrived in time, and was packaged well.

The book itself has helped me to understand, and has also given me an overview of behavioural economics. I found it a helpful guide of real life scenarios to complement an elective module as part of my degree programme. It's written brilliantly, and in my opinion is suitable for a wide range of readers interested in ways decisions are made by policy makers, and ways these decisions could be more efficient.
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Format: Paperback
I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

This is a fascinating first-person account of the creation of the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) in the UK Government, describing its early obstacles, its occasional failures and its enormous successes. It is impressive to reflect on how much BIT has achieved with such simple approaches, such as boosting organ donation by hundreds of thousands, helping many thousands quit smoking or getting thousands of unemployed people back to work faster. As a cancer researcher, it is humbling to see how low-cost behavioural interventions can yield improvements to public health that are quite frankly beyond the reach of far more expensive efforts in medical research. In fact it is not just the hundreds of thousands of lives saved that makes this impressive, but the realisation of just how easily many millions of lives could be saved or improved by systematically using better evidence in policy decisions.

Yet, this book is also much more. Beyond the amazing achievements of BIT, I found the broader implications of the book especially inspiring. Particularly regarding how to improve the workings of markets and governments to the service of the public. It is refreshing to realise that randomised control trials, "What Works" centres and other efforts of evidence-based policy can not only improve how governments act, but also progressively replace ideology with evidence in government and politics. And how randomised control trials may prove to be the answer to the old challenge of achieving effective innovation in the public sector, playing the role of market competition in the private sector.

A very insightful book and a must read for any citizen and every Prime Minister.
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