Destined to become a seminal work on innovative digital design.

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A comprehensive debut book demonstrates the application of behavioral psychology to digital design.

“Behavior change designer” may well become a widely recognized job title thanks to this breakthrough work. Bucher, who describes herself as a psychologist applying her knowledge to the design of behaviorally based digital experiences, has created a volume that is absorbing, timely, and (not surprisingly) impeccably designed. This tightly organized book begins with an authoritative overview of behavior change design and then logically addresses how to “achieve desired outcomes.” The rest of the book focuses not on design elements but design strategy as it relates to users. For example, one chapter discusses how to make choices easier while another covers how to help users overcome obstacles. Later chapters move into broader issues, such as how technology encourages connections and trust, how an organization benefits from behavior change design, and what the future holds for this emerging discipline. One especially strong aspect of the work is the author’s use of numerous examples in the form of full-color screen images accompanied by pertinent captions and detailed descriptions. Every one of these examples is relevant and illustrative of the text. Another valuable addition to the book is a feature at the end of each chapter called “Perspective,” in which the author introduces an expert and includes answers to questions that directly relate to the chapter. The insights of these individuals serve to further illuminate the author’s own writing by providing a different yet supporting viewpoint. Bucher also intersperses intriguing “Notes” and “Tips,” highlighted in color type to differentiate them. For example, in one tip, she provides a solid definition of the term “good decision” while a note reveals the importance of “Accessibility in Design,” or “making your products usable to people with disabilities.” Bucher’s explanations and observations are cogent, incisive, and research-based; they are often in easily readable bulleted form, augmented by the occasional useful chart. By the end of this superb book, readers will get the feeling that no aspect of behavior change design has been neglected.

Destined to become a seminal work on innovative digital design. (color diagrams, illustrations)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-933820-42-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Rosenfeld Media

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.



The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...


A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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