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The Illusion of Choice

16½ psychological biases that influence what we buy

By Richard Shotton

Paperback £14.99 / $19.99
eBook £11.49 / $14.99
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The Illusion of Choice

16½ psychological biases that influence what we buy

By Richard Shotton

Jacket text

The compelling new book by Richard Shotton, author of The Choice Factory.

Every day, people make hundreds of choices.

Many of these are commercial: What shampoo to pick? How much to spend on a bottle of wine? Whether to renew a subscription?

These choices might appear to be freely made, but psychologists have shown that subtle changes in the way products are positioned, promoted and marketed can radically alter how customers behave.

The Illusion of Choice identifies the 16½ most important psychological biases that everyone in business needs to be aware of today – and shows how any business can take advantage of these to win customers, retain customers and sell more.

Richard Shotton, author of the acclaimed The Choice Factory, draws on academic research, previous ad campaigns and his own original field studies to create a fascinating and highly practical guide that focuses on the point where marketing meets the mind of the customer.

You’ll learn to take advantage of the peak end rule, the power of precision, the wisdom of wit – and much, much more.

You simply cannot afford to miss The Illusion of Choice.

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.

Media coverage

From Sky:

This year’s judging panel included a range of new additions with Chris Baker, Co-Founder of Serious Tissues who won the Grand Prix £1 million ad spend last year; Sky Sports News Presenter and Sustainability Lead, David Garrido; Pippa Glucklich, Chief Executive Office of Electric Glue; Marketing Consultant Michelle Carvil, author of Sustainable Marketing and Co-Founder… Read more »

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From Firestarters:

How do we make decisions about brands and products? What’s the power in targeting by mood and situation? Why should we be cautious to oversimplify metrics? Globally renowned expert on applying behavioural science in marketing – and author of ‘The Choice Factory’ and ‘The Illusion of Choice’ – Richard Shotton shares frameworks for navigating the… Read more »

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From he Science of Persuasion:

One of the coolest things we learned was that embracing imperfections in your branding can actually make you more relatable and endearing to your customers. Plus, leveraging behavioral biases can give you a short-term boost while also building trust with your audience. Win-win! Richard is the founder of Astroten, helping brands like Google and Barclays… Read more »

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From B2B Insights Podcast Channel :

Examples of behavioral science in action, including within the subtitle of Richard’s new book, The Illusion of Choice

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From Something You Should Know Podcast:

Consumer behavior is a fascinating area of research. While people like to think they make objective decisions about what to buy or not buy, there are a lot of factors that influence those decisions such as description, price, ease of use and many more. And they influence you in ways that are not so obvious.… Read more »

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From Contagious:

We spoke to Shotton shortly after the release of his second book, The Illusion of Choice: 16½ Psychological Biases That Influence What we Buy, about what experts underestimate when it comes to changing behaviour, what it means to apply a bias laterally, and whether ad agencies make life more difficult for themselves by trying to… Read more »

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From Focus Marketing Journal:

Which techniques will make ads more memorable? When will customers appreciate when you make their lives difficult? How to get customers to be more environmentally responsible? These questions were also answered by Richard Shotton, a world star in imparting the knowledge of behavioral science to marketers.

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From Behavioural Groove:

In fact, Richard’s book “The Illusion of Choice: 16 ½ psychological biases that influence what we buy” is a treasure trove of research and anecdotes which bridge the gap between the very technical world of academia and the “wild” application of behavioral science in real world marketing.

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From bTV Media Group:

Richard Shotton is a name whose contribution to the field of applied behavioral science in the context of marketing is impressive and telling. His first book, The Choice Factory – 25 Behavioral Biases That Influence What We Buy, explained how behavioral science can solve business challenges and was quickly named the best sales and marketing… Read more »

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Published: 28/03/2023
Pages: 216
Formats: paperback - ISBN 9780857199744
ebook - ISBN 9780857199751
audio - ISBN 0000000000083
Media enquiries

If you’d like to get in touch with the author for interview or comment, or you’d like a review copy of this book, please contact us at or call +44 (0)1730 233870.


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