Spectator Books: Cass Sunstein - Beyond the Nudge

Apr 17, 10:00 AM

In this week's Books Podcast Sam is joined by Professor Cass Sunstein -- best known here as co-author of the hugely influential 2008 book Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness, which spawned a whole transatlantic movement in using behavioural psychology to influence public policy (not least over here in the Cabinet Office's celebrated "Nudge Unit"). Cass's new book is called How Change Happens -- and extends the arguments of his previous books to talk about the mechanisms that determine quite big, and quite abrupt shifts in politics and social attitudes.

Sam asks him how his ideas about nudging have changed over the last decade; about the limits and contradictions of "libertarian paternalism"; about the dangers of "group polarisation"; about how much we can or should trust to big tech and the mechanisms of the market; and about how the explosion in digital media has changed the democratic landscape for good.

Spectator Books is a series of literary interviews and discussions on the latest releases in the world of publishing, from poetry through to physics. Presented by Sam Leith, The Spectator's Literary Editor. Hear past episodes of Spectator Books here.