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Michael I. Norton

Professor of Business Administration in the Marketing Unit at the Harvard Business School.

He is the co-author - with Elizabeth Dunn - of the book, Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending

Dr. Norton holds a B.A. in Psychology and English from Williams College and a Ph.D. in Psychology from Princeton University. Prior to joining Harvard, Professor Norton was a Fellow at the MIT Media Lab and MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

His work has been published in a number of leading academic journals, including Science, the Journal of Personality and Social PsychologyPsychological Science, and the Journal of Consumer Research, and has been covered in media outlets such as the Economist, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. He has appeared on National Public Radio, CBS, Fox, and MSNBC, and written op-eds for the New York TimesForbes, and the Los Angeles Times.

His research has twice been featured in the New York Times Magazine Year in Ideas issue, in 2007 (Ambiguity Promotes Liking) and 2009 (The Counterfeit Self). His "The IKEA Effect: When Labor Leads to Love" was featured in Harvard Business Review's Breakthrough Ideas for 2009. In 2010, he won the Theoretical Innovation Prize from the Society of Personality and Social Psychology; in 2011, he won the SAGE Young Scholars Award from the Foundation for Social and Personality Psychology; in 2012, he was selected for Wired Magazine’s Smart List as one of “50 People Who Will Change the World.”

Q.) What would be your message to invite the younger minds to decision sciences?

Dr. Norton > Decision sciences can sound like an incredibly boring area of study, until you realize that underlying everything that humans do – from picking spouses and sandwiches, from choosing cars and careers – involve, on some level, a decision. As a result, the field is very broad, and I encourage new students to consider the study of judgment and decision making as the study of what humans are up to. Framed this way, it’s hard to think of a more interesting area of study.

A famous TED talk by Prof. Norton on how money can buy happiness, if spent correctly!


(As sent to Sumitava Mukherjee, March 2014