The most recent book I’ve read is Nudge by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein.  It’s a book primarily about choice architecture. What’s that? Let me give you an example from the supermarket. The people who design what goes where in the supermarket are architecting choice. What they put on shelves at eye level are the products we readily see with little effort. What we find by the cash registers influence us at the last minute. The choice architects know we’re not likely to buy something for more than $5 on an impulse so they put inexpensive items there we can buy with little to no thought.

Here’s another example: If your company has a 401k, the number of mutual funds you put in there and the rate of the company match on contributions made will affect the choices of your employees. You’re architecting enrollment in your company retirement plan.

As a business owner, marketer or salesperson, you are likely to be a choice architect. With that power you can nudge people to make choices that may be good for them in the long run if you know what that is and have their best interest in mind.

In the world of nudges there are investment goods and sinful goods. Both are candidates for nudges. Let me share the difference between the two.

Investment goods have an immediate cost, with benefits coming later. Examples are dieting, putting videos on YouTube, and retirement savings. People usually do too little of these things.

Sinful goods create pleasure now and may compound to create nasty consequences later. Examples are smoking, drinking alcohol, and procrastination (though this may be debatable whether it’s pleasurable or not). People usually do too much of these things.

Your job, as a choice architect, is to encourage more activity in the investment goods category and less in the sinful goods category.

If you find this subject as interesting as I did, then you might like to get the book. Or, you can get a dozen examples of nudges from the book here. There’s a blog dedicated to Nudge, too. It’s not being updated anymore, but it still has lots of great info on nudges. I’d like to nudge you to listen to the book as an audiobook at 1.5x speed. You’ll get through it faster and be nudging sooner.

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