Concept books

It’s interesting how many books are based on a concept, usually connected with human behaviour. We’ve had things like the tipping point and the long tail and recently we’ve had kluge, nudge and sway (sounds like a dance move: the lovely Candy Lane performing a kluge, nudge and sway).

So what’s Kluge: It’s a book by a New York psychiatrist Gary Marcus and it takes its name from an engineering term for something that’s a clumsy or inelegant solution to a problem. Marcus uses it to refer to the evolved human brain and says that we should recognise our brain as a clumsy contraption and his book tells us how we should set goals with achievable plans and always have a plan B to fall back on.


And Nudge? Richard H. Thaler, a professor of behavioural science and economics at Chicago University, is the author of the book of this title. It’s about how to reconcile our desire for freedom with the liberal impulse to regulate and nudges are ways that movers and shakers can redirect collective choices into radical improvements for society. Significant in a big election year when nudge comes before election and shove after.

And then there’s Sway. Ori and Rom Brofman, the former an author of a book on business and social organisation and the latter a clinical psychologist, have authored this book. It’s about “blockers”, the people who save us from biases that sway our judgement and decisions that have little rational basis. We tend to have preconceptions and like people similar to ourselves so it’s useful to move into more objective ways of selecting people and making decisions. Interestingly Amazon, at the end of the usual gushing tributes from all and sundry, tells us that if we have been led into buying the book after the endorsements, we have been swayed!