Our key publications
Powerful real-world ideas and inspiration developed by Bernard Ross and the Decision Science team.
Change For Good: an introduction to decision science
Here is the only book specifically written for charities and non-profits to explore how behavioural economics and neuroscience can help achieve social goals, changing behaviour to positive choices.
The summary download offers you insights into the basic ideas behind behavioural economics, neuroscience and evolutionary psychology.
Each chapter explores a different decision science principle and links this to issues like increasing fundraising results, improving mental and physical wellbeing, promoting equity in the workplace, encouraging positive attitudes to excluded communities and more.
Change For Better: fundraising lessons from behavioural science practitioners around the world
At last a book that brings behavioural science out of the academic labs and supermarket aisles and makes it relevant to practitioners promoting social good through charity fundraising. The book brings together 17 global case studies put together by a team of 24 leading practitioners.
In 400+ pages they share experiments they’ve conducted on how to apply behavioural science to fundraising. They cover a range of situations from improving face to face results to boosting online giving for humanitarian causes and even improved museum visitor collection boxes.
Making The Ask: The artful science of high-value fundraising
f you’re a fundraiser or social entrepreneur keen to secure large gift for any kind of social cause you need to be able to ask the right people for the right money in the right way. But how do you do that?
In this ground-breaking book, global experts Bernard Ross and Clare Segal share their approach – used by major fundraising organisations from UNHCR in the Middle East to MSF in the US and from UK’s Oxford University to MEF Museum in Argentina – which has been used to secure gifts up to $110m in a single ask.
For you to start your behavioural success journey.
EASIEST: a framework to plan your communication
In this framework Bernard Ross explains some key principles to make sure it’s EASIEST for your stakeholders – donors to service users – to make the right choice.
EASIEST is a helpful mnemonic for how to apply key behavioural principles to fundraising: Ethical; Attractive; Social; Info-lite; Emotional; Story-fied; and Time based. Applying these six principles will transform your fundraising messages.
Change for Better: inspiring global examples of fundraising success using decision science
This follow up to Change for Good has been put together by a team of 20+ global experts, exploring how decision science has worked across the globe in a range of settings. There are detailed case studies from the UK, USA, Kenya, Austria, Australia and more.
The case studies explore the application of decision science to topics as varied as bequests, direct mail, online fundraising, special events, charity shop collections, and face to face. It includes the story of Edinburgh Zoo, which went form £20K to £1.3M in just 18 months using simple decision science principles.
Helping Supporters Choose: Putting the science into cultural fundraising
This how to guide shares the results of the world’s largest arts and cultural fundraising experiment run over six months across nine theatres, galleries, museums, touring companies and arts centres.
Each venue had a specially designed programme designed to increase their income across channels: online, in ticket systems, through collection boxes, membership schemes and even in face-to-face solicitation. This publication explains how these experiments were designed and how you can apply them to your work.
Neuromarketing Books: A Selected Reading List
Adapted from an original list by Roger Dooley.
Looking to learn more about neuromarketing, or the scientific side of social marketing and business? There are a whole range of books out there and it can be hard to know where to start. To get you going, we’ve put together a select list of 12 key reads by some of the top thinkers on the subject.
Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions
Why do smart people make irrational decisions every day? The answers will surprise you. In this book, behavioural economist Dan Ariely cuts to the heart of our strange behaviour, demonstrating how irrationality often supplants rational thought and that the reason for this is embedded in the very structure of our minds. Ariely combines everyday experiences with psychological experiments to reveal the patterns behind human behaviours and decisions. Although this isn’t exactly a marketing or business book, these lessons will convince even the most sceptical businessperson that non-conscious influences on decision-making are both real and important.
Decoded: The Science Behind Why We Buy
Barden’s book uses decision science to explain the motivations behind consumer choices, and specifically how this can be valuable to marketing. He deciphers the ‘secret codes’ of products, services and brands to explain how they influence our purchase decisions. Combining insights from behavioural economics, psychology and neuroscience, Decoded shows how marketers can apply this knowledge to great effect with a pragmatic framework and guidelines. It is packed with case studies and detailed explanations, making it clear and easy to understand for anyone interested in understanding consumer behaviour.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
This classic book on persuasion explains the psychology of why people say “yes” – and how to apply these understandings. Dr Cialdini draws on 35 years of rigorous, evidence-based research to present the six universal principles of influence that marketers still use every day. You will learn to become a skilled persuader, and how to defend against them. Terms like “social proof” and “scarcity” are part of every marketer’s lexicon today – this is the book started it all. It is just as applicable today as when it was first released.
Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade
Three decades after writing his bestselling Influence, Cialdini delivered a sequel that extends that classic work in several ways. He offers revelatory new insights into the art of winning people over: it isn’t just what we say or how we say it that counts, but also what goes on in the key moments before we speak. Cialdini reveals how to master the world of ‘pre-suasion’, where subtle turns of phrase, tiny visual cues and apparently unimportant details can prime people to say ‘yes’ before they are even asked. And, a big surprise for persuasion experts – Cialdini adds a seventh principle of influence to the long-established six!
Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing
Brainfluence is a top neuromarketing book, which explains how to practically apply neuroscience and behavioural research to better understand consumers’ decision-making patterns. This can then improve marketing strategies. It is divided into 100 short chapters, each starting with a concept based on research, and then showing how that can be applied in a practical way. Brainfluence is designed to be accessed in any order, so readers can jump around and find what is most useful to them. This scientific approach to marketing has helped many well-known brands and companies determine how to best market their products to different demographics. Dooley also includes ideas for small businesses and non-profits, proving the wide-ranging value of neuromarketing.
Friction: The Untapped Force That Can Be Your Most Powerful Advantage
Published this year, Dooley’s latest book is Friction. It explores the idea that Amazon, Netflix, Google, and Uber all have one thing in common: they have built empires on making every interaction effortless for customers. In today’s world of instant connectivity and customer empowerment, the speed and efficiency of business transactions determine ultimate success or failure. Dooley explains how every business (or company, non-profit etc.) can gain a competitive edge by reducing those points of friction. By identifying roadblocks and altering them, use this book to create positive, lasting change.
Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
In this book, Eyal reveals how successful companies create products that people can’t put down – and shows how you can do it too. Using years of research, consulting and insights from practical experience, Hooked explores how to create user habits that stick and explains how products influence our behaviour. Eyal’s Hooked Model is a four-step process embedded into the products of many successful companies, to subtly encourage customer behaviour and form habits. This book is not abstract theory, but a how-to guide for building better products.
Thinking, Fast and Slow
Thinking, Fast and Slow is an essential and fundamental guide to how humans think. A Nobel Prize winning economic and psychological thinker, Kahneman explains how two “systems” in the mind make decisions. One system is fast, intuitive and emotional. The second is slower, more deliberative and logical, but they work together to shape our judgements and decisions. This book exposes both the capabilities and biases of fast thinking and reveals the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and behaviour. It then explores how to tap into the benefits of slow thinking, to give a comprehensive explanation of why we make decisions the way we do. The book is very readable for non-scientists and has been a best-seller since its release.
Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy
Most anti-smoking campaigns inadvertently encourage people to smoke. Product placement in films rarely works. The scent of melons helps sell electronic products. These are just some of the lessons from Lindstrom’s ground-breaking three-year study of what really makes consumers tick. He worked with organisations around the world, using brain-scanning technology to test what people actually feel about certain advertising techniques and products. Buyology is the result. It shows how much we deceive ourselves when we think we are making considered decisions, and how factors like childhood memories and religious beliefs shape our tastes and decisions.
Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy
Following on from Buyology, in this book Lindstrom explores and exposes the full extent of psychological tricks and traps companies devise to persuade us to buy. Writing from the perspective of a consumer advocate, he offers an insider’s view into how big brands use marketing and adverts to manipulate shoppers into spending money. For instance, advertisers and marketers target children before they have even been born, try to capitalise on public panic over diseases or extreme weather events and even make products (like some lip balms) chemically addictive. This might sound scary, but it is an essential insight into industry techniques.
Nudge: Improving decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness.
Thaler is another Nobel Prize winner, and the ideas in Nudge are central to his win. This book is about how we make choices, from small ones about what to have for lunch, to bigger decisions about financial investments and our children’s education. It shows that no choice is ever presented in a neutral way, and we are all susceptible to the biases that can lead to bad decisions. But knowing how people think can help to create a “choice architecture” that nudges people towards the best decisions. Today, governments and businesses have applied Thaler and Sunstein’s behavioural science approach in the real world, helping more people to save for retirement, or become organ donors.