Best Behavioral Economics books that everyone can benefit from

Omer Lewinsohn

Omer Lewinsohn

Best Behavioral Economics

As a humble digital marketer and online business broker, I’ve had the privilege of delving into the fascinating world of behavioral economics. This multidisciplinary field, merging psychology and economics, has profoundly shaped my understanding of decision-making in both the online business landscape and everyday life. In this curated list, I invite you to join me on a modest exploration of the best behavioral economics books. Each of these works promises to offer valuable perspectives and practical applications that can enrich your insights. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or someone simply curious about the intricacies of human behavior, these books hold the potential to transform the way you approach decision-making and its impact on your journey to success.

Quick Table

No.TitleAuthorKey Insight
1Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and HappinessRichard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein‘Choice architecture’ and the subtle power of nudges
2Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our DecisionsDan ArielyBiases and patterns in irrational decision-making
3Thinking, Fast and SlowDaniel KahnemanThe dual systems of thought and cognitive biases
4Behavioral Economics: When Psychology and Economics CollideDavid LaibsonThe intersection of psychology and economic decision-making
5Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral EconomicsRichard H. ThalerThe evolution and impact of behavioral economics
6Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of EverythingSteven D. Levitt and Stephen J. DubnerEconomic principles applied to various aspects of life
7The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying LogicDan ArielyThe benefits and insights of irrational behavior
8Influence: The Psychology of PersuasionRobert B. CialdiniPrinciples of persuasion in everyday situations
9Behavioral Economics: The BasicsPhilip Corr & Anke PlagnolFundamental concepts and applications in behavioral economics
10The Art of ChoosingSheena IyengarThe complexities of choice and decision-making processes
11The Nudge Unit: Inside the Government Department That Changed Our Minds and Saved Us BillionsDavid HalpernBehavioral economics in public policy-making
12The Behavioral InvestorDaniel CrosbyPsychological factors in investment decisions
13The Choice Factory: 25 Behavioral Biases That Influence What We BuyRichard ShottonLeveraging behavioral biases in marketing
14The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our MindsMichael LewisThe human story behind the development of behavioral economics

So here is my personal list of the best behavioral economics books:

1. “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness” by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein

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As a digital marketer, I’ve found ‘Nudge’ to be a treasure trove of insights. It explores the concept of ‘nudging’ and ‘choice architecture’—subtle changes in the way choices are presented that can significantly influence the decisions people make. This book is a must-read for anyone trying to comprehend how behavioral economics can shape public policy, business strategy, and even personal decisions. It provides practical ways to guide decision-making without restricting freedom of choice, making it valuable for public policymakers, business strategists, and individuals seeking to improve their decision-making skills

Why do I love it? The book provides practical ways to guide decision-making without restricting freedom of choice.

Who can benefit from it? Public policymakers, business strategists, and individuals seeking to improve their decision-making skills.

What are the lessons you can learn? You’ll learn to appreciate the subtle power of nudges and their potential to drive significant behavioral changes.

2. “Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions” by Dan Ariely

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Personal Note:

My second favorite (and not just because he’s Israeli too). ‘Predictably Irrational’ delves into the intriguing world of irrational behavior and decision-making. It’s not only a fascinating read but also offers specific tactics and ideas for digital marketing, sales, business, or any real-life occasion. By studying the biases and behavioral patterns that influence our choices, this book provides fresh perspectives that are beneficial for anyone interested in psychology, economics, or the science of decision-making.

In “Predictably Irrational“, Dan Ariely delves into the intriguing world of irrational behavior and decision-making. The book uncovers how our decisions are far from being perfectly rational, influenced instead by a variety of biases and behavioral patterns. By studying these patterns, we can better understand our choices and improve our decision-making processes.

Why do I love it? The book challenges our understanding of rationality, providing a fresh perspective on human behavior.

Who can benefit from it? Anyone interested in psychology, economics, or the science of decision-making.

What are the lessons you can learn? You’ll discover the hidden influences that shape your decisions and learn how to mitigate their impact.

3. “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman

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Okay, I have to admit, this is my absolute favorite, and it’s the one that changed my life and my career path. I’ve read it at least ten times in both English and Hebrew, and I still find new ideas that I adore. ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ introduces two systems of thinking—’System 1,’ which is fast and intuitive, and ‘System 2,’ which is slow and deliberate. Understanding how these systems operate can equip us with the tools to make better decisions in our personal and professional lives. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in cognitive psychology and decision-making, and it offers a deeper understanding of how cognitive biases influence our thinking and how we can overcome them.

Why do I love it? It provides a comprehensive exploration of the two systems of thinking that drive our choices.

Who can benefit from it? This is a must-read for anyone interested in cognitive psychology and decision-making.

What are the lessons you can learn? It offers a deeper understanding of how cognitive biases influence our thinking and how we can overcome them.

4. Behavioral Economics: When Psychology and Economics Collide” by David Laibson

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“‘Behavioral Economics: When Psychology and Economics Collide’ is a book that explores the fascinating field of behavioral economics, which combines insights from psychology and economics to better understand how people make decisions. Laibson discusses a variety of topics related to behavioral economics, including the ways in which people’s decisions are influenced by emotions, biases, and heuristics. He provides examples of how these psychological factors can lead to ‘irrational’ behavior. This book is a comprehensive and accessible introduction to the field of behavioral economics, making it a must-read for students, researchers, and practitioners interested in psychology, economics, or the ways in which people’s behavior can be influenced.

5. “Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics” by Richard H. Thaler

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In ‘Misbehaving’, Thaler chronicles the rise of behavioral economics as a field and his personal involvement in it. He provides an engaging account of how irrational behavior has been incorporated into economic theory, offering a new perspective on economics that takes into account real human behavior. This book is a must-read for economics students, researchers, and anyone curious about the history of behavioral economics. It provides a deep understanding of the principles and applications of behavioral economics

Why do I love it? It provides a first-hand account of the evolution of behavioral economics.

Who can benefit from it? Economics students, researchers, and anyone curious about the history of behavioral economics.

What are the lessons you can learn? The book provides a deep understanding of the principles and applications of behavioral economics.

6. “Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything” by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

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Personal Note:
I had to take one course in school and complete a project on this book. It’s not a pure behavioral economics book, but it can ignite your curiosity about the lack of rationality in economics. ‘Freakonomics’ is a fascinating exploration of the hidden side of everything, challenging conventional wisdom and showcasing the unconventional insights that economics can offer. By applying economic thinking to diverse topics, the book challenges our assumptions and helps us see the world in a new light. It emphasizes the power of incentives and how they can shape behavior, making it a valuable read for anyone interested in a fresh perspective on economics.

Freakonomics” is a fascinating exploration of the hidden side of everything, challenging conventional wisdom and showcasing the unconventional insights that economics can offer. By applying economic thinking to diverse topics, the book challenges our assumptions and helps us see the world in a new light.

Why do I love it? The book engages readers with its unconventional application of economic principles. Who can benefit from it? Anyone interested in a fresh perspective on economics.

What are the lessons you can learn? The book emphasizes the power of incentives and how they can shape behavior.

7. “The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic” by Dan Ariely

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In ‘The Upside of Irrationality’, Ariely explores the benefits of irrational behavior and decision-making. The book offers a fresh perspective on irrationality, highlighting its potential to drive personal and societal changes. It provides an unconventional perspective on irrationality, making it a must-read for anyone interested in the paradoxical benefits of irrational behavior.

Why do I love it? The book provides an unconventional perspective on irrationality.

Who can benefit from it? Anyone interested in the paradoxical benefits of irrational behavior.

What are the lessons you can learn? You’ll learn to appreciate the upside of irrationality and its potential to drive change.

8. “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert B. Cialdini

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“‘Influence’ delves into the principles of persuasion and their application in everyday life. The book provides valuable insights on how to influence others and resist unwanted persuasion, making it a valuable resource for individuals and businesses alike. It offers a deep dive into the psychology of persuasion and is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding and harnessing the power of persuasion ethically.

Why do I love it? It offers a deep dive into the psychology of persuasion.

Who can benefit from it? Anyone interested in understanding and harnessing the power of persuasion. What are the lessons you can learn? You’ll gain a deeper understanding of the principles of persuasion and how to use them ethically.

9. “Behavioral Economics: The Basics” by Philip Corr & Anke Plagnol

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“‘Behavioral Economics: The Basics’ provides a comprehensive overview of the field of behavioral economics. It discusses the key concepts, theories, and applications of behavioral economics, making it an excellent resource for students, researchers, and practitioners in the field. This book offers a solid understanding of the fundamentals of behavioral economics and its real-world applications.

Why do I love it? It provides a comprehensive introduction to behavioral economics.

Who can benefit from it? Students, researchers, and practitioners in the field of behavioral economics.

What are the lessons you can learn? You’ll gain a solid understanding of the fundamentals of behavioral economics and its real-world applications.

10. “The Art of Choosing” by Sheena Iyengar

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“‘The Art of Choosing’ explores the science and psychology of choice, offering practical insights into how we make decisions and how we can make better ones. It provides an engaging and comprehensive exploration of the psychology of choice, making it valuable for anyone interested in understanding and improving their decision-making skills.

Why do I love it? It provides an engaging and comprehensive exploration of the psychology of choice. Who can benefit from it? Anyone interested in understanding and improving their decision-making skills. What are the lessons you can learn? How to navigate the complexities of choice and make better decisions.

11. The Nudge Unit: Inside the Government Department That Changed Our Minds and Saved Us Billions” by David Halpern

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“This book provides a deep dive into the UK’s Behavioural Insights Team, better known as the ‘Nudge Unit,’ showing how it has used behavioral economics to create public policies that are both cost-effective and beneficial for society. It’s a fascinating exploration of how behavioral economics can be applied to policy-making, making it essential reading for policymakers, public administrators, and anyone interested in how behavioral economics can shape public policy.

Why do I love it? It’s a fascinating exploration of how behavioral economics can be applied to policy-making.

Who can benefit from it? Policymakers, public administrators, and anyone interested in how behavioral economics can shape public policy.

What are the lessons you can learn? How to design and implement public policies using insights from behavioral economics.

12. “The Behavioral Investor” by Daniel Crosby

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“‘The Behavioral Investor’ offers a comprehensive guide to the psychological and sociological aspects of investing, providing insights into how biases and misperceptions affect investment decisions. It’s a practical and engaging guide for investors, financial advisors, and anyone interested in behavioral finance. You’ll learn how to make better investment decisions by understanding and managing behavioral biases

Why do I love it? It’s a practical and engaging guide to understanding and overcoming the biases that impact investment decisions.

Who can benefit from it? Investors, financial advisors, and anyone interested in behavioral finance. What are the lessons you can learn? How to make better investment decisions by understanding and managing behavioral biases.

13. The Choice Factory: 25 Behavioral Biases That Influence What We Buy” by Richard Shotton

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“‘The Choice Factory’ explores how understanding behavioral biases can help marketers influence consumers’ purchasing decisions. It offers practical insights into the application of behavioral economics in marketing, making it a valuable resource for marketing professionals and anyone interested in understanding the psychology of consumer behavior.

Why do I love it? It offers practical insights into the application of behavioral economics in marketing. Who can benefit from it? Marketing professionals and anyone interested in understanding the psychology of consumer behavior.

What are the lessons you can learn? How to leverage behavioral biases to influence consumer purchasing decisions.

14. “The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds” by Michael Lewis

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“‘The Undoing Project’ tells the captivating story of the friendship and collaboration between two psychology giants, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, whose groundbreaking work laid the foundation for the field of behavioral economics. It’s a beautifully written account of the genesis of behavioral economics, told through the lens of a remarkable friendship. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of behavioral economics and the human stories behind its development.

Why do I love it? It’s a beautifully written account of the genesis of behavioral economics, told through the lens of a remarkable friendship.

Who can benefit from it? Anyone interested in the history of behavioral economics and the human stories behind its development.

What are the lessons you can learn? The transformative power of collaboration and the human story behind the development of behavioral economics.

Worth Mentioning

There are many other noteworthy books on behavioral economics that offer a wealth of knowledge and insights. These include ‘Randomistas: How Radical Researchers Are Changing Our World’ by Andrew Leigh, ‘The Choice Factory: 25 Behavioral Biases That Influence What We Buy’ by Richard Shotton, and ‘The Misguided Mind: Correct Everyday Thinking Errors, Be Less Irrational, And Improve Your Decision Making’ by Steven Schuster, among others. Choosing the right book depends largely on your specific interests and goals in the behavioral science niche. Whether you’re a student, a professional, or simply an avid reader, these books offer a wealth of knowledge and insights that can help you understand and leverage the principles of behavioral economics.

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Omer Lewinsohn

Omer Lewinsohn

online entrepreneur with a passion for understanding the why behind human behavior in the digital world.