The Elements of Choice
Why the Way We Decide Matters
Eric J. Johnson
A leader in decision-making research reveals how choices are designed—and why it’s so important to understand their inner workings
Every time we make a choice, our minds go through an elaborate process most of us never even notice. We’re influenced by subtle aspects of the way the choice is presented that often make the difference between a good decision and a bad one. How do we overcome the common faults in our decision-making and enable better choices in any situation? The answer lies in more conscious and intentional decision design.
Going well beyond the familiar concepts of nudges and defaults, The Elements of Choice offers a comprehensive, systematic guide to creating effective choice architectures, the environments in which we make decisions. The designers of decisions need to consider all the elements involved in presenting a choice: how many options to offer, how to present those options, how to account for our natural cognitive shortcuts, and much more. These levers are unappreciated and we’re often unaware of just how much they influence our reasoning every day.
Eric J. Johnson is the lead researcher behind some of the most well-known and cited research on decision-making. He draws on his original studies and extensive work in business and public policy and synthesizes the latest research in the field to reveal how the structure of choices affects outcomes.
We are all choice architects, for ourselves and for others. Whether you’re helping students choose the right school, helping patients pick the best health insurance plan, or deciding how to invest for your own retirement, this book provides the tools you need to guide anyone to the decision that’s right for them.