Your – soon to be – favourite books

Must read summer list, according to Erasmus University professor Aurélien Baillon

‘What are your three favourite books?’ That’s what Dutch financial newspaper ‘Het Financieele Dagblad’ asked Aurélien Baillon. He is an endowed Professor of Economics of Uncertainty at Erasmus University. Chances are they’ll be your favourites pretty soon too.


# 1 The undoing project. A friendship that changed our minds
Forty years ago, Israeli psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky wrote a series of breathtakingly original studies which created the field of behavioural economics, and started the trend of mistrusting human intuition and deferring to algorithms.
The Undoing Project is about a compelling collaboration between two men who had one of the greatest partnerships in the history of science, working together so closely that they couldn't remember in whose brain originated which ideas, or who should claim credit. This story about the workings of the human mind is explored through the personalities of two fascinating individuals so fundamentally different from each other that they seem unlikely friends or colleagues.

The undoing project. A friendship that changed our minds, Michael Lewis, Ww Norton & Co, 2016, €16.

# 2 Payoff - The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations
Every day we work hard not only to motivate ourselves, but also the people we live with, work for, and/or do business with. From the boardroom to the living room, our role as motivators is complex, and the more we try to motivate partners and children, friends and co-workers, the clearer it becomes that motivation is far more intricate and fascinating than we had assumed.
Payoff investigates the true nature of motivation, our partial blindness to the way it works, and how we can bridge this gap. Dan Ariely (Professor of Psychology and Behavioural Economics at Duke University) digs deep to find the root of motivation, how it works, and how we can use this knowledge to deal with important choices in our own lives.

Payoff - The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations, Dan Ariely, Simon & Schuster/ Ted, 2008, €15,99.

Waarom we altijd tijd te kort komen & ander irrationeel gedrag, Dan Ariely, Business Contact, mei 2008, €16,99.

# 3 Nudge - Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness
Richard Thaler (University of Chicago) was the first economist to recognise the importance of Kahneman and Tversky’s work. His philosophy on political action is based on their work. In Nudge he and professor Cass Sunstein (Harvard Law School) offer a pioneering study of the application of the science of choice, a guide that uses colourful examples from all aspects of life. In that way this book demonstrates how it’s possible to design environments that make it more likely for us to act in our own interests.

Nudge - Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness, Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein,  Penguin Putnam Inc, 2009, €18,95

Nudge, naar betere beslissingen over gezondheid, geluk en welvaart, Richard H. Thaler en Cass R. Sunstein, Business Contact, februari 2015, €15.