I recently participated in a terrific Harvard Business Review webinar entitled: "Nudge Your Customers: Reducing Risk With Better Choices." Webinar protagonist and behavioral economist Daniel Goldstein of Yahoo Research and The London Business School offers compelling practical advice on how to “nudge” citizens and customers to perform behaviors that on the surface might appear to contradict their utility-optimizing, economic man, self interest. Goldstein's experimental work follows that of economist Richard Thaler and predictably irrational researcher Dan Ariely.

I can't swear to it, but I believe my extended family got nudges of a kind we'd prefer not to receive on our recent annual vacation to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Like it's been all summer on the Atlantic, the weather in OBX was hot and humid, with little solace from cloud cover and rain. Wary as always of too much sun as we laid on the beach and lounged by the pool, my family members continually lathered on high protection (and high cost) sun screen.

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