Simpler: The Future of Government

Simpler: The Future of Government

by Cass R. Sunstein

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Overview

Governments everywhere are undergoing a quiet and profound revolution: they’re getting simpler, more cost-effective, and focused on improved outcomes not politics. For four years one of the leading lights of that revolution, Cass Sunstein, as President Obama’s “Regulatory Czar,” oversaw the brilliant and successful effort to give every American better government. In “a remarkably fun, engaging read” (Fortune.com), he explains how, why, and what should come next.

For Americans, the future of government arrived in 2009. Government became simpler, it became smarter. It worked better. Cass Sunstein, America’s “regulatory czar” under President Barack Obama, was at the center of it all. Drawing on state-of-the-art work in behavioral psychology and economics, Sunstein helped save the country more than $91 billion and an unknown number of lives. This was accomplished through the extraordinary power of nudges—seemingly modest policies that preserve freedom of choice, better lives, and fundamentally improve government. In combination with cost-benefit analysis, nudges are already saving money, saving lives, and improving, by simplifying, government. In Simpler, Sunstein speaks for the first time about what he encountered and accomplished in the Obama Administration and what the lessons are for everyone going forward.

We don’t need big government or small government; we need better government. Simpler is a “lucid, engaging treatment of behavioral economics that sees a role for the state in nudging humans towards rationality and responsibility. The result is a forthright, compelling vision of technocratic government that’s both efficient and humane” (Publishers Weekly, starred review). And it just may be “the most important book to come out of President Obama’s first term” (Walter Isaacson).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476726601
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 12/02/2014
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 446,909
Product dimensions: (w) x (h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Cass R. Sunstein is the nation’s most-cited legal scholar who, for the past fifteen years, also has been at the forefront of behavioral economics. From 2009 to 2012, he served as the administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. He is the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard Law School. His book, Nudge, coauthored with Richard Thaler, was a national bestseller.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Cockpit of the Regulatory State 1

Chapter 1 The Most Dangerous Man in America 15

Chapter 2 Don't Blink 36

Chapter 3 Human Error 51

Chapter 4 Plate, Not Pyramid 75

Chapter 5 Automatic for the People 100

Chapter 6 Invisible Gorillas and Human Herds 127

Chapter 7 Regulatory Moneyball 147

Chapter 8 Eliminating Red Tape 173

Chapter 9 The Nanny State? 190

Chapter 10 Simplifying Choice Architecture 209

Epilogue: The Three Most Important Things I Learned 215

Appendix 217

Acknowledgments 221

Notes 225

Index 249

What People are Saying About This

Chip Heath

"Everyone complains that government regulations are often dumb, but how could you make them smarter? Here's a guidebook by someone who did it. It should be read by everyone who sets policies for government, nonprofits, education, or business.

Esther Duflo

"Tucked away from the sound and fury of politics, there is the quiet world of policy making. This fantastic book, from a magnificent scholar turned a master of this world, restored my faith in what governments really do, and more importantly in what a smart government could do to help citizens live better, more fulfilled lives.

Dan Ariely

"We typically don't associate the idea of simple systems with government and large corporations. But in this fine book, Sunstein provides a glimpse into how we can tame the complexity beast and why it is important, even necessary if we want to improve our collective welfare.

Austan Goolsbee

"Cass Sunstein: scholar, public servant, choice architect. This lays out a new vision for how research from academics and attention from the public can be used to make regulations and government work better and simpler—to protect the public at the lowest possible cost and hassle. No wonder Glenn Beck said Sunstein was the most dangerous man in America.

Michael Greenstone

"Federal regulations determine the quality of the air we breathe and water we drink, the safety of our workplaces, the kinds of cars we can buy, and much more. In this book, Cass Sunstein shows how he helped President Obama use the smartest academic ideas to undertake the most important reform of our regulatory system in more than three decades. This revolution in regulation relies on using evidence, rather than ideology, to guide regulatory decisions and by making regulations simpler and easier to understand. Simple is a must (and fun) read for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of how government—and the people in it—are using the insights from the seminal research by Sunstein and others to make our lives healthier, safer, and more prosperous.

Daniel Kahneman

"This inspiring book has a tale and a lesson. In the tale, a thinker with a passion for reason moves from the ivory tower to the White House and becomes a doer. The lesson is that regulation is not a dirty word and that thoughtful government works.

Walter Isaacson

"This may be the most important book to come out of President Obama's first term. Contrary to conservative perception, the administration, guided by Cass Sunstein, launched a brilliant effort to simplify and reduce regulations. Sunstein found ingenious ways to protect citizens and nudge corporate behavior while maximizing freedom and business opportunity. Simpler is a fascinating guide to how behavioral economics is improving government, and none too soon.

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Simpler: The Future of Government 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
madalov More than 1 year ago
For all who disapprove of government and for all who think that the Congress is the only cause for the impact of government on our lives this book,written by an insider in government bureaucracy, can be an attitude changer. In addition, it offers tactics and strategies for private sector administrators.