Sam Leith

The Books Podcast: Cass Sunstein - Beyond the Nudge

The Books Podcast: Cass Sunstein - Beyond the Nudge
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In this week's Books Podcast I'm 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 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.

I ask 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.