“Give Yourself a Nudge” – Book Review

Discover the proactive way to decision-making and let values be the architect of your personal and professional future.

In his latest book,  “Give Yourself a Nudge: Helping Smart People Make Smarter Personal and Business Decisions”, decision-making expert Ralph L. Keeney, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at the Fuqua School of Business of Duke University, USA, shares a powerful strategy that can help readers optimize their quality of life and general wellbeing by making better choices.

What makes choices better? The author advocates for an intentional effort to create and structure the decisions that you face in your life. This is different from simply solving problems as they arrive. Keeney’s method puts you in the driver’s seat in your life and teaches how to switch from a reactive mental stance to a proactive, opportunity-generating mindset.

Nudges, the central concept of the book, refer to better ways to inform one’s decisions. By applying the value-focused approach, the reader can gradually improve the type of decisions that they face and identify superior alternatives to address and solve each of these contexts.

The eleven chapters of the book walk you through the entire process that can significantly improve your decision-making skills. Based on research in the fields of psychology and behavioral economics, the step-by-step guide provides a thorough educational setting that explains each of the building blocks of the method and their role and offers various suggestions on how to implement them in both personal and organizational settings.

The reader will discover the reasoning behind the value-focused method, how to define and structure a decision, how to identify one’s guiding values, how to build alternatives and create decision opportunities, as well as how to handle those contexts in which other individuals influence the alternative you end up implementing in a decisional context.

Keeney also shows how value-focused decision-making can significantly improve a person’s quality of life and how to use the strategy to bring about better results.

“Give Yourself a Nudge” is filled with real-life examples and amazing analyses of social, personal, and organizational dynamics. These segments of the book show you the strategy in action and provide a good, realistic frame for future self-assessment.

I enjoyed reading the book and I have already started applying the method to some of my own decisions, as I found it not only useful, but very appropriate for my own interests, objectives, and personality structure. In particular, I was happy to discover that the attitude guiding the entire process and the suggested steps is an assertive one. Unlike other books on decision-making, “Give Yourself a Nudge” takes a person’s subjective reality into account. Your emotional life cannot be separated from the cognitive processes involved in meaningful decision-making, and this book sets itself apart by not trying to artificially demand a separation between otherwise connected mental processes.

I also liked that the author does not expect the reader to simply replace their previous decision-making process with his method, but suggests optimizing the existing strategy instead – if predominantly successful, that is -, with the elements included in this guide.

The content of the book is a great fit for beginners and decision-making experts alike, as it covers basic concepts, but also nuances of the advanced stages of the process. The only difference may be that those already proficient in intentional decision-making can skip segments of the book dealing with the very first steps into the field.

“Give Yourself a Nudge” is a practical book and yet a very enjoyable, inspirational read, a fresh approach to a subject incredibly important in the field of self-guided personal development. I strongly recommend you read it and start implementing value-focused decision-making into your personal and professional life. I know I will.

“Give Yourself a Nudge: Helping Smart People Make Smarter Personal and Business Decisions” is available in Kindle and Paperback formats starting April 23rd, 2020. You can Look Inside or buy the book here:


P.S. This is not a commercial endorsement. I get no commission from the sales of this book. A representative of Cambridge University Press invited me to read and honestly review the book for Psychology Corner. My review is based on an advance copy of the book.

Photo Source: Copyright (C) Cambridge University Press. Used with the publisher’s permission.

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