I feel the location in President Gardner's home really made us feel more comfortable and willing to share our opinions and observations about the material I really enjoyed the book itself and the free flow kind of discussion we had about it. I really felt that we all were able to understand and express what the book was saying and our ideas as well. The trip to the Chicago School of Business was an excellent way to end the program, we had lots of fun and we had a chance to speak with people outside our group who were experts in the field about what we had been thinking. -- Rachel Bergman '12
The trip to Chicago to hear the lecture series and meet Richard Thaler was both a cool experience and a great way to wrap up what we learned through the book. -- Melissa Bernstein '11
I really enjoy reading books outside of course curriculum and discussing them in an intellectual environment. In addition, I really like to interact with President Garner because I think he has a lot of knowledge and wisdom that he can share with students. Meeting the author of a book one has read is an amazing experience in and of itself. It really brings to life the ideas and theories discussed in the book, and it gives students the opportunity to look deeper into the different ideas put forth in the text. This was my second Berry Center reading group where we were able to meet the author after completing the book, and I think that both experiences fit under the "extraordinary opportunities" banner Cornell has. Another thing I liked about the reading group was the diverse group of students participating. I was glad that it wasn't all seniors in the room, and it wasn't all ECB or Politics majors. I felt like it was easier to have interesting discussion by having diverse opinions and backgrounds in the room. -- Leslie Tweeton '09
Reading Group - Day 1
Nudge Reading Group at President Garner's house. Everyone has their books and is ready to start.
Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wellness, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein
Becker Brown Bag
Cornell Students in the lobby at Chicago Booth School of Business
Chicago Booth School of Business
President Garner listens as student discuss their thoughts on the book
The Cornell students who attended the Becker brown Bag Lunch and Lecture
Author Dick Thaler discusses his book with students
President Garner listens carefully to author Dick Thaler's viewpoint
Thaler signs a copy of his book
More book signing!
Author Thaler signs future economist Audrey Saunder's book
Thaler chats with student Chris Davids
President Garner gets an autograph, too
Students and President Garner with author Dick Thaler
Cornell students pose with the newly installed Chicago Booth sign
Fall 2008 Reading Group
Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wellness, and Happiness
by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein
During the fall of 2008, facilitator and former President of the College Les Garner met with selected students to discuss Thaler and Sunstein's look at "how thoughtful choice architecture can be established to nudge us in beneficial directions without restricting freedom of choice."
Here's a brief synopsis of the book, provided by Yale University Press: "Every day, we make decisions about how to invest our money, where to send our children to school, and what to put on our dinner plates. Unfortunately, we often make poor choices - and look back at them with bafflement! We do this because as human beings, we all are susceptible to a wide array of routine biases that can lead to an equally wide array of embarrassing blunders in education, personal finance, health care, mortgages and credit cards, happiness, and even the planet itself.
Our errors are what make us human, but up until now, they have been largely ignored by those around us, whether they make a complex public policy or sell us a plain old bottle of wine.
In this ground-breaking collaboration, two extraordinary, if ultimately human, thinkers, economist Richard Thaler and legal scholar Cass Sunstein invite us into an alternative worlds, one that takes our humanness as a given. They show us that by knowing how people think, we can design choice environments that make it easier for them to choose what is best for themselves, their families, and their society."
On November 12, 2008, the Reading Group went to the University of Chicago Booth School of Business for a Becker Brown Bag Lunch and discussion and book signing with author Richard Thaler.