Nudge Theory: Background information when reading Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

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Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
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  • Published:
    May 2017, 336 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Francesca Baker

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Beyond the Book:
Nudge Theory

In Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, the protagonist's lack of knowledge or understanding of social norms and conventions evokes sympathy, and leaves her lonely and isolated, at odds with the world. She expresses bafflement at many, and rightly so – they simply do not make sense. But social norms are not just cultural oddities and habits. They are powerful, can be both positive and negative – but are able to be changed. Governments and brands around the world are harnessing their potential for impact.

Nudge theory is a type of behavioral economics based on the idea that by creating situations and circumstances that make certain behavior and activity more attractive, individuals can be encouraged to change. In their 2008 book, Nudge – Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness, Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein state that patterns of action and behavior are better changed by improving the "choice architecture" surrounding it – the physical, ...

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