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Livestream: Cass R. Sunstein on "Too Much Information: Understanding What You Don’t Want to Know"

8:00am sharp to 9:00am EDT livestream of Prof. Cass Sunstein’s book talk

Event Details

Speaker Series

Date: Thursday September 17, 2020 | 08:00 AM - 09:00 AM
Speaker(s): Cass R. Sunstein, Robert Walmsley University Professor, Harvard Law School; Bestselling Coauthor of Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness; former Administrator, White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (Obama Administration)

Introduction: Dilip Soman, Canada Research Chair in Behavioural Science and Economics, and Director - Behavioural Economics in Action Research Centre at Rotman ("BEAR"), Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
Topic: "Too Much Information: Understanding What You Don’t Want to Know" (by Cass R. Sunstein for the MIT Press, Sept. 1, 2020)

On September 10 Rotman Events will email registrants the link to the page where you can watch the livestream of the talk on September 17 from 8:00am sharp to 9:00am EDT.

Location: Online
Cost: $36.99 plus HST per person (includes the link to the livestream and 1 unsigned hardcover copy of "Too Much Information" which will be shipped to paid registrants starting on September 17)
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Book Mailings: Starting September 17 unsigned hardcover copies of Too Much Information will be shipped to paid registrants.

Book Synopsis: This book is about how information can make us happy or miserable, and why we sometimes avoid it and sometimes seek it out.

How much information is too much? Do we need to know how many calories are in the giant vat of popcorn that we bought on our way into the movie theater? Do we want to know if we are genetically predisposed to a certain disease? Can we do anything useful with next week's weather forecast for Paris if we are not in Paris? In Too Much Information, Cass Sunstein examines the effects of information on our lives. Policymakers emphasize “the right to know,” but Sunstein takes a different perspective, arguing that the focus should be on human well-being and what information contributes to it. Government should require companies, employers, hospitals, and others to disclose information not because of a general “right to know” but when the information in question would significantly improve people's lives.

Sunstein argues that the information on warnings and mandatory labels is often confusing or irrelevant, yielding no benefit. He finds that people avoid information if they think it will make them sad (and seek information they think will make them happy). Our information avoidance and information seeking is notably heterogeneous—some of us do want to know the popcorn calorie count, others do not. Of course, says Sunstein, we are better off with stop signs, warnings on prescriptions drugs, and reminders about payment due dates. But sometimes less is more. What we need is more clarity about what information is actually doing or achieving.

About Our Speaker: Cass R. Sunstein, Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard Law School, was Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Obama administration. He was the recipient of the 2018 Holberg Prize, one of the largest annual international research prizes awarded to scholars who have made outstanding contributions to research in the arts and humanities, social science, law, or theology. He is the author of The Cost-Benefit Revolution, How Change Happens (both published by the MIT Press), Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness (with Richard H. Thaler), and other books.

Speaker Series Host: Behavioural Economics in Action at Rotman (“BEAR”)

Questions:, Megan Murphy, (416) 978-6122

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