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The Brainy Business | Understanding the Psychology of Why People Buy | Behavioral Economics

Dec 4, 2020

Reading and research are some of my favorite things. (I’m guessing that doesn’t surprise you too much...especially if you’ve ever dug into the show notes for the podcast.) For this reason, I frequently get asked for my top book recommendations. While completing the citation list for my own book (which has over 210 citations by the way!) a few sources popped up often enough that it felt like a great time to do this episode. 

Plus, if you want to buy a brainy book this holiday season for a friend or loved one any of these could be a great choice! There are, of course, links to all the books I will be talking about in today’s episode within the show notes. AAAAND...while it doesn’t officially come out until May 2021, there are also links for my book, Unlocked, in the show notes as well, which I’ll update as we get closer to the launch (and beyond). SO…that is exciting to check out as well.

Happy reading!

I hope you love everything recommended via The Brainy Business! Everything was independently reviewed and selected by me, Melina Palmer. So you know, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means if you decide to shop from the links on this page (via Amazon or others), The Brainy Business may collect a share of sales or other compensation.

Show Notes:

  • [02:36] If you’ve been listening to the podcast for a while, it likely won’t surprise you to learn that when people ask me for my book recommendations I always ask more questions. For example, “what are you looking to do with the information?” or “how do you want to apply that?” or “what’s the goal?”
  • [03:15] I could recommend books all day long, but this episode only includes the seven books I reference most often and most commonly recommend. I intend this to be the first in a series on the podcast where I will recommend books for various topics
  • [03:54] First on the list, is Daniel Kahneman’s, Thinking, Fast and Slow. Kahneman is a pillar in the field, the first to win a Nobel prize, and he (along with the late, Amos Tversky) conducted so much of the research that the field is based upon, it is amazing how many concepts are rooted in Kahneman’s work.
  • [04:44] If you are really wanting to understand behavioral economics and behavioral science including what it is built upon and get a peek inside the inner workings of the brain of one of the field’s founding members Thinking, Fast and Slow is definitely worth it.
  • [05:58] Kahneman is the source of the dual system theory of how our brains work. What I call the subconscious and conscious here on the show, he calls System 1 and System 2. If you want more about how he sees those working and how it all comes together in peoples’ behavior, Thinking, Fast and Slow is a great book for you. 
  • [06:42] Next, we have our other Nobel laureate, Richard Thaler, and the book he co-authored with Cass Sunstein, Nudge.
  • [07:52] If you are looking to influence behavior through nudging, to “improve decisions about health, wealth, and happiness,” and just want a great foundation in the entire concept of nudges and choice architecture, I highly recommend Nudge.
  • [08:14] The last of the foundational “most common books you have likely seen on any behavioral economics list,” is Predictably Irrational, by Dan Ariely.
  • [09:04] If you have not yet read Predictably Irrational and are interested in “the hidden forces that shape our decisions” I highly, highly recommend this book. If you are looking for a first foray into behavioral economics books to start reading, I would likely start with Predictably Irrational because it is so relatable. 
  • [10:04] The first book in our next category (of marketing/branding/communications) is called The Buying Brain: Secrets for Selling to the Subconscious Mind by AK Pradeep. He gives great insights into the brain: how it has developed (with details on the senses), as well as the processes going on in the brain AND how it relates to today’s buying behavior.
  • [11:46] The next book is another one you may not have heard of or seen on lists before, it is called Neurobranding, by Peter Steidl. It gives a baseline of neuroscience and how the field applies to marketing, it came out a few years after The Buying Brain in 2014. 
    - (NOTE: That link is to the edition I have, which at the time of posting this is a bit expensive, so it may be out of print. There is an updated version here, but the content appears to be a little different. I’m sure it is still great, but can’t personally vouch content and it might differ a bit from what I said was included during the episode.)
  • [13:22] This next book is kind of a bridge between the marketing space and productivity – it’s Friction, by Roger Dooley. Friction is such an eye-opening book. It has so many practical examples that apply to business like expense reports with unnecessary friction and forms on a website that had small changes that increased (or decreased) usage and adoption rates. 
  • [14:43] Reducing friction is important, but you need to know the behavior you are trying to nudge people toward before focusing on changing the processes. This book helps you see how other businesses have accomplished that, and ways you can relate it in your own business.
  • [15:06] Our last book is all about productivity and being less distracted. Or as Nir Eyal calls it, Indistractable.
  • [15:36] Nir shares about motivation, understanding your internal and external triggers, how they apply to you, making time for the things that matter, and helping you to actually focus on them.
  • [16:02] I really loved part three on “hacking back” external triggers.
  • [17:49] This book will help you understand how to find your traction and also how to keep yourself from getting distracted from those most important things.
  • [18:17] As a recap, our foundational books are: Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman; Nudge by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein; and Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely.
  • [18:31] Then our marketing and brand books, The Buying Brain by AK Pradeep and Neurobranding by Peter Steidl, and we bridge the path between marketing, efficiencies, productivity, and experience with Friction by Roger Dooley, and round it all out with Indistractable by Nir Eyal.
  • [19:14] And, my book, Unlocked is scheduled to launch on May 11, 2021. Woohoo!
  • [19:52] Have you read any of these books? Which one are you going to pick up first? Is there a go-to book you think should be in my next review episode? Come share it all with me on social media (links below).

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