Independently minded publishing

The Choice Factory

25 behavioural biases that influence what we buy

By Richard Shotton

Paperback £14.99 / $19.99
eBook £11.49 / $14.99
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The Choice Factory

25 behavioural biases that influence what we buy

By Richard Shotton

Jacket text

Before you can influence decisions, you need to understand what drives them. In The Choice Factory, Richard Shotton sets out to help you learn.

By observing a typical day of decision-making, from trivial food choices to significant work-place moves, he investigates how our behaviour is shaped by psychological shortcuts. With a clear focus on the marketing potential of knowing what makes us tick, Shotton has drawn on evidence from academia, real-life ad campaigns and his own original research.

The Choice Factory is written in an entertaining and highly-accessible format, with 25 short chapters, each addressing a cognitive bias and outlining simple ways to apply it to your own marketing challenges. Supporting his discussion, Shotton adds insights from new interviews with some of the smartest thinkers in advertising, including Rory Sutherland, Lucy Jameson and Mark Earls.

From priming to the pratfall effect, charm pricing to the curse of knowledge, the science of behavioural economics has never been easier to apply to marketing.

The Choice Factory is the new advertising essential.

About the author

Richard began his career in marketing twenty-one years ago before setting up his own company, Astroten. Astroten help clients such as Google, Facebook, Sky, BrewDog and Mondelez apply findings from behavioural science to their marketing.

Richard is the author of The Choice Factory which explains how behavioural science can solve business challenges. The Choice Factory was voted best sales and marketing book of the year at the Business Book Awards. It was a #1 bestseller on Amazon and is now available in 12 languages.

In 2021 Richard was made an honorary lifetime fellow of the IPA and an associate of the Moller Institute, Churchill College, Cambridge University.

He tweets about the latest social psychology findings from the handle @rshotton.


The Choice Factory is both practical and deeply profound due to Richard Shotton’s expertise from extensive research as well as from advertising.

So, if you are to read only one book that will make you master of behavioural economics I would highly recommend – The Choice Factory.

Lars Bo Christiansen – CMO / Marketing Director

If you’re in the business of influencing people then Richard’s book is a must read. It provides a welter of practical advice on how behavioural science can be harnessed by businesses .

Dan Pink, author of When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

The Choice Factory is a fun easy read packed with sound research that marketers can apply to their businesses immediately.

Nir Eyal, author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

“The Choice Factory” is the most popular new book for marketers so far this year. Well read, well discussed and well liked from everyone, it casts an eye on the the history of how customers come to given decisions, and the psychological background behind them doing so. “


“Perhaps one of the best aspects of working in marketing and advertising is being given the chance to take on interesting challenges, to overcome tricky obstacles and to solve, at times strange but fascinating, puzzles. For those working in marketing and advertising with a desire to be more effective in addressing these challenges, obstacles and puzzles, Richard Shotton’s entertaining and practical book is the ideal guide.”

Robert Thackerey, AdMap

‘… the easiest to read and most actionable.’

Marketing Effectiveness Reading List – Part 2

I would therefore recommend this book to the whole marketing profession as it will enable us all to stand back and consider how we influence consumers to buy products or participate in market research. Well worth the read!

Alan Wilson, University of Strathclyde, UK

Richard is genuinely interested in human behaviour and how it drives our decisions; this book is easy to read and not dry based in the subject-matter. It is a must-read for modern marketers.

IAA Education Matters Newsletter – Q2 2018

This beautifully written book brings to life the counter-intuitive ways in which we make our everyday decisions.

Jules Goddard, Fellow, London Business School

“At last someone has written a commonsense, practical guide to using behavioural science to sell things. It is backed by lots of research and working examples drawn from the author’s own experience and his encyclopedic knowledge of the industry. In short, this is a classic advertising textbook in the making.”

Steve Harrison, British copywriter, creative director and author

Media coverage

From MarTech Series:

Richard Shotton, keynote speaker at FINITE Fest, Author of The Choice Factory and Founder of Astroten, commented, ‘With an agenda that targets B2B marketers specific pain points, and a star-studded lineup of course, FINITE Fest should be one of the best B2B marketing conferences of 2022. I know I’m looking forward to my session on… Read more »

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From Bike Biz:

Marketing is changing, and we are beginning to understand the psychological influences that affect consumer behaviour. No longer are we focusing on discount prices or bright colours. Here, James Smith outlines some of the key findings from Richard Shotton’s The Choice Factory – 25 behavioural biases that influence what we buy

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From Stamford Advocate:

Research described by Richard Shotton, in his book, The Choice Factory, shows that, on average, only 8% of customers willingly switch brands. But, when there is a significant life event (e.g. marriage, buying a house, an international crisis, etc.), 21% of customers are likely to switch brands. That number will go even higher as brands… Read more »

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From Wayfinding:

Humour is an excellent mechanism for coping with stress and cementing relationships, according to author of The Choice Factory, Richard Shotton.

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From Thinkbox:

Behavioural scientist and author of The Choice Factory, Richard Shotton, explores how brands can harness the power of public statements to build trust.

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From Magnetic:

Publishers have a wealth of insight that quantifies the important role that magazines play in people’s lives. The affinity consumers have for the content they read, increases the likelihood of action being taken. We also know that magazines are seen as time well spent (PAMCo), and when people are in a positive frame of mind,… Read more »

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From Think Box:

Behavioral scientist and author of The Choice Factory, Richard Shotton, explains why life-changing events such as we are living thorough now will change customers purchasing habits – and brands should avoid being left behind.

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From Onrec:

Richard Shotton, Behavioural Scientist and Author of ‘The Choice Factory’, said: “The way people claim to behave versus how they actually behave are two very different things. Recruitment is about understanding people; improving knowledge about the inherent biases in human behavior will have important implications for the industry. While behavioural science is increasingly used in… Read more »

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From The Times India:

Richard Shotton, author and behaviourall science expert quoted the example to highlight the bias of overconfidence and how marketers tend to overlook behavioural science, while making marketing decisions.

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The 25 Biases
1. The Fundamental Attribution Error
2, Social Proof
3. Negative Social Proof
4. Distinctiveness
5. Habit
6. The Pain of Payment
7. The Danger of Claimed Data
8. Mood
9. Price Relativity
10. Primacy Effect
11. Expectancy Theory
12. Confirmation Bias
13. Overconfidence
14. Wishful Seeing
15. Media Context
16. The Curse of Knowledge
17. Goodhart's Law
18. The Pratfall Effect
19. Winner's Curse
20. The Power of the Group
21. Veblen goods
22. The Replicability Crisis
23. Variability
24. Cocktail Party Effect
25. Scarcity


Further reading


Foreign language editions of The Choice Factory:

Published: 12/02/2018
Edition: 1st
Pages: 218
Formats: paperback - ISBN 9780857196095
ebook - ISBN 9780857196101
audio - ISBN 0000000000004
Media enquiries

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