The message of Nudge is to show us how we can be encouraged, with just a slight nudge or two, to make better decisions. The book starts by explaining the reasons for wrong decisions we make in everyday life.
Most people have a pretty clear idea of what’s good for them and what’s not. They are determined to eat healthily, save money for retirement and not smoke.
But when it comes to actually seeing these things through in everyday life, they often do the opposite: they eat unhealthily, they’re reckless with money and they smoke too much.
Unwise behaviors crop up in all parts of our lives, from eating habits to investment decisions to the way we structure our daily schedule. We grab a chocolate bar even though we know that an apple would be better for us; we hit snooze every time our alarm rings despite knowing this means we’ll only have to rush later.
Such behavioral patterns cause problems when quick decisions result in serious long-term consequences.For example, statistics show that when it comes to saving money, most US citizens save very little even though they know this can cause them trouble later.
If we suddenly lose our income due to illness or unemployment or have unexpected expenses like getting our car fixed, and have no savings to fall back on, we become angry about the irrational decisions we made in the past. And yet, despite knowing this, we continue to make financial decisions based on short-term rather than long-term goals.
We don’t always make decisions that are best for us in the long run.