I founded Nudge Crowd upon a deep fascination for behavioral economics, and since I am also a huge Star Wars fan, you can imagine I was thrilled when I learned that Cass Sunstein, who together with Richard Thaler coined the term nudging, had published a book about what Star Wars can teach us about behavioral economics. Suddenly it mattered less that the Danish summer was all rainy as it provided a great excuse to immerse myself in this great hybrid between a fan boys love letter and an intelligent tour de force in behavioral economics, constitutional law and the moral questions of fatherhood and free will.
In true Star Wars style, the book is divided into Episodes. Episode I-III are devoted to the recurring questions of ‘was the success of Star Wars due to luck and timing or is it simply just the greatest movie series ever made?’ By introducing the reader to studies in network effects and information cascades, Sunstein provides entertaining perspectives to the discussion.
Episode IV-VII explore the many ways in which Star Wars can be interpreted. In particular, I was sold when Sunstein used the vidid discussion amongst fans about which order to watch the episodes in and what the role the new movies should optain in the saga, as a point of departure to discuss his own research of how judges need to interpretent the constitution.
However, my favorite episode is number IV in which Sunstein awakes a new hope: that through behavioral insights, we might achieve Jedi powers – sort of. After all, when Obi-Wan told Luke, “Your eyes can deceive you, don’t trust them”, could he not just equally as well be presenting the limitations of our fast thinking system 1?
It is a book that you probably need to be fan to enjoy, but then Star Wars proves to be a great resource for discussing and illustrating the many topics Sunstein touches upon in this book. It is fun and provides a lot of great anecdotes you can flash to your nerdy friends.
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By Stig Nyman
I am the founder of Nudge Crowd. When I’m not working on finding inspirational challenges or developing the platform, I enjoy writing an article or two on our blog!
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