Interested in behavior science? Effective Altruism & Poverty Alleviation? Both? Here are some books, articles, videos & websites that I go back to and hope you will find them useful as well.


Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape our Decisions – Dan Ariely
Probably the easiest and definitely the most entertaining introduction to behavioral science.

Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness – Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein
If you’ve wondered where the term “nudge” comes from, read this book. Behavioral economics applied to public policy problems.

Switch: How to Change Thing When Change is Hard – Chip Heath & Dan Heath
Practical strategies for behavior change. Some great case studies and a vivid telling of the core System 1 & 2 process.

Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman
Only for intermediate/advanced readers. The book is weighty, physically & cognitively.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – Robert B. Cialdini
Six clear strategies for persuasion

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in LIfe and Business – Charles Duhigg
A good description of the “habit loop” and great case studies.

Good Habits, Bad Habits: The Science of Making Positive Changes that Stick – Wendy Wood
The definitive book on habits, written by the leading habits researcher.

The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds – Michael Lewis
An entertaining account of the path-breaking friendship between the fathers of behavioral science: Daniel Kahneman & Amos Tversky. Come for the story, stay for the content.

Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics – Richard H. Thaler
Another entertaining yet content-packed story, this one an autobiography by the Nobel Prize Winner, Richard Thaler.

Start at the End: How to Build Products That Create Change – Matt Wallaert
I love the practical strategies, particularly on running pilots & experiments.

Designing for Behavior Change: Applying Psychology and Behavioral Economics- Stephen Wendel
Comprehensive, practical, a bit expensive. I use it alongside Matt’s book as a “how to”> A nice section on ethics & behavioral science in organizations.

Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much – Sendhil Mullainathan & Eldar Shafir
A powerful book linking behavioral science to poverty alleviation.

The Life You Can Save: How To Do Your Part to end World Poverty – Peter Singer
Peter Singer makes a compelling moral case for using our resources to combat world poverty. It’s free here.

Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty – Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo
Nobel Prize winners Banerjee & Duflo systematically examine programs and interventions in aid to ask: what works?


Mind, Society & Behavior: The World Development Report 2015
More a book than an article, this is a comprehensive report by the World Bank on applying behavioral science to development.

The New Science of designing for Humans – Piyush Tantia
Confused about design thinking, behavioral science and how they intersect? This jargon-free article is for you.

Nudge 2.0: A Broader Toolkit for Lasting Behavior Change – Cait Lamberton & Ben Castleman
This thoughtful article goes beyond “nudging” to integrate work from marketing, social & cognitive psychology and behavioral economics.

Behavioral Science Around the World – World Bank eMBeD unit
A good round-up of how behavioral science is being implemented by governments through “nudge units” in 10 countries.

The Economist as Plumber – Esther Dulfo
Substitute “behavioral scientist” for “economist” here and you get the idea of the secret to good interventions: Always Be Tinkering.

A Marketers Guide to Behavioral Economics – Ned Welch (McKinsey Quarterly)
Simple ways in which behavioral economics can help marketers.

How Google Optimized Healthy Office Snacks – Zoe Chance, Ravi Dhar et al
A great 4Ps framework and a good case study on how Google implemented behavior science.


EAST Framework
A practical way to start applying behavioral insights to your work, developed by the Behavioral Insights Team (which started as UK’s Nudge Unit).

Behavior Change Wheel
A much more dense framework, probably if you have an advanced knowledge of behavioral science. I like the link to policy. Susan Michie & authors have a research paper & a book on this as well.


Behavioral Scientist
This is my go-to for staying up-to-date on research – high quality and readable articles by the “who’s who” of behavioral science.

Habit Weekly
A fun site around – you guessed it – habits and behavioral design.

Busara Center for Behavioral Economics
Busara has been working on poverty alleviation & behavioral science in the Global South (Africa, India, and other places) for many years – get some of their wisdom through great case studies on their site.

Amazing resource packed website with lots of great studies, whitepapers and guides from a leading behavioral science consulting firm.

The Behavioral Insights Team
The original “nudge unit” and now an autonomous organization, the Behavioral Insights team completed 10 years this year. Browse this site for lots of detailed case studies.

Effective Altruism
All your questions on “effective altruism” and using data & evidence to do the most good (the results may shock you!) here.

The Life You Can Save
The Life You Can Save is the organization carrying on Peter’s philosophy around giving effectively to end world poverty. I am on the Board of this organization and believe strongly in it. Find out effective charities, take the pledge, and donate!

Videos & Podcasts

Peter Singer – The Why & How of Effective Altruism (TED Talk)
A simple introduction to Peter Singer’s philosophy which was hugely responsible for spawning the Effective altruism movement.

Philosophize This! – Podcast
I went through all 145 (then) episodes over the summer & fall. Stephen West’s LinkedIn profile says “Grocery Bagging Technician and Toilet Scrubbing Manager – Safeway” (2008-2014) and he does the impressive feat of making philosophy accessible without dumbing down content.