Being smart is making smart decisions  

"The book helps us understand that as human beings we are full of biases. The first step is to recognize these biases and understand how they are causing us to make certain decisions."
Por Antonio López
Aug 17, 2022

Intelligence should not be measured by the level of your grades, by whether you get a 100 or 70 on a test. Intelligence should be measured by the decisions you make. If you are an intelligent person, it is very likely that throughout your life you will make good decisions, or, at least, make the right decisions that allow you to live a life of freedom, well-being, and happiness.

To achieve this it’s important that we have a necessary and sufficient amount of information.

This information is what will allow us to know that maybe A is better than B. Or that B maybe seems better than A, but in the long run B turns out to be a better option. And so on.

Today I’d like to share with you a book that will help you to make better decisions. It’s called “Nudge” and was written in 2008 by Richard H. Thaler, a Nobel Prize winner in economics, and Cass R. Sunstein, a Holberg Prize winner. The subtitle of this book reads like this: “improving decisions about health, wealth and happiness”… You can imagine that this is the right book to start making better decisions in our lives.

The book is divided into five parts: 1) humans and econs, 2) money, 3) health, 4) freedom, and 5) extensions and objections. Through its 19 chapters, Thaler and Sunstein explain to us the complexity of life and how it’s important for us humans to be intelligent enough when we make decisions (or when we do not make them) since these define our lives. If we are smart enough, we will have the life we ​​want. If not, our life will be circumstantial.

But what does this have to do with economics? A lot! Economics is about making decisions based on the resources we have. Basically, this book helps us understand how through small nudges we can make better decisions for the benefit of our health, finances and happiness. Do you want to know what these nudges are? You have to read this book! What I can do now is share with you what I learned the most:

Be aware of your biases and don’t follow the herd

The book helps us understand that as human beings we are full of biases. The first step is to recognize these biases and understand how they are causing us to make certain decisions.

Also, you must be aware that many of the decisions you make are made because you and others do. Be careful with this! It is very likely that you are living a life that does not belong to you. How much of the decisions you make are yours and how much are others’?

“Help yourself and I will help you”

If you are a person who was born and raised in a religious-Christian context, you have surely heard this phrase. One of the things I learned in this book is that you need to build a “choice architecture” that helps you to make better decisions. If you want to go to the gym more often, put a visible reminder that says “Go to the gym, today”, or put your sports clothes ready, so that, as soon as you see it, you put it on and you can go to the gym. Or if you have a problem with drinking a lot of soda, just don’t buy anymore… never test your willpower because, in most cases, we are going to lose.

In short, it is a book that I highly recommend if you want to improve your decisions. You will learn a lot and you will begin to see life from a different perspective. Buying this book would be a very good decision. What are you waiting for?

Antonio López

Antonio López

Founder of The Bookish Man.
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