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Can be seen as a big summary of all the progress in the experimental field from different point of views. There’re plenty of articles. Given the wide range it tries to cover, it may be, in some instances, a bit short of details, failing to give a round view of the implications. Anyway everything is properly referenced so the more interested reader can find all further information.
I bought this book based on a review in the New Yorker. My passion is science, statistics, and skepticism--a real non-fiction diet! The book didn't give me any better understanding of the author's points than I got from the New Yorker article. The book is "padded". I would cite Nate Silver's "The Signal and the Noise" as a better use of the reader's time and energy. As a side note: What's the aversion to putting some diagrams, tables, charts to clarify an experiment. LOL: The New Yorker cartoon is about 20 years too late!!
This book is a love letter to "Nudge" by Richard Thaler. Seriously. It is laden with references to the book as well as related studies in the field of behavioral economics. Matter of fact, if you do a shot every time you read "nudge" on the page, you'd most likely die of cirrhosis before you get to page 150... I was expecting more of a "deep-dive" per se, but most of the time is spent recounting material from other texts and adding some context. It's not bad, but it's not special.
The good: They wisely chose to spend some time on the way industry giants like Uber, Facebook, AirBnB, and others employ experiments to drive decision-making.
The bad: It's all a bit shallow, like when your friends tell you to come over to have a splash in the pool but it is a kitty pool... They gloss over practical terms for the sake of keeping things friendly for a presumably non-technical crowd.
I can't recommend it if you have read "Thinking Fast and Slow", "The Undoing Project", or any of the other behavioral economics classics. It's mostly rehashed.
However, if you are completely new to experiments (or the idea of using experiments to drive managerial decisions) then this book will prove a fast and enjoyable read.
This is a thoughtful, short and concise book about an in-demand topic, written by leading academics in the field of behavioral economics and experimentation. Luca and Bazerman provide examples to illustrate their points from various angles without making the book simply a collection of bullet points. They dive into the historical roots of behavioral science and experiments, focusing on the fields of Psychology and Economics. The authors cleverly describe the technicalities of experiments and behavioral insights with easy distinctions between similar and often confusing concepts, precluding the need for more technical detail. I particularly enjoyed the structured and organized dive into tech industry experiments. Each chapter of Part II describes one such experiment / tech company, accompanied by a lesson that illustrates the “take-away” point. Occasionally, I found their background stories to be somewhat myopically focused on researchers and organizations affiliated with their institution – Harvard University. As someone who is very familiar with the literatures they touch upon, I would expect to see a slightly broader perspective of how the contributions of other institutions helped shape the state of behavioral experimentation. Overall however, I would highly recommend this book to anyone – not necessarily to people interested in experiments. It’s such an important, widespread and on the rise topic, presented in a very accessible and illustrative manner, that it’s probably worth anyone’s time. On my website, I summarize the key points and takeaways from each chapter.