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The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less by…
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The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less

by Barry Schwartz

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Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
1/17/2016 11:41 AM Mentioned in a review in the Times. I recall when this came out and think it might be worth a read.
  ntgntg | Jan 17, 2016 |
rating 3.25

In The Paradox of choice, Schwatz pulls heavily from a few books to help solidify his points.
Thinking Fast and Slow - Kahneman
Blink - Gladwell
Bowling Alone - Putnam

To oversimplify this book, more choices do not make us happier. They end up making us less satisfied with the choice we have made and frustrate us along the way to make the choice we end up making. Study after study herein referenced showed how we think we want choices but in reality we will pick the same thing we are already familiar with more times than not.

a few tips from the book:
Unless you are dissatisfied stick with what you always buy
Don’t be tempted by new and improve
Don’t scratch unless there is an itch
( )
  JWarrenBenton | Jan 4, 2016 |
rating 3.25

In The Paradox of choice, Schwatz pulls heavily from a few books to help solidify his points.
Thinking Fast and Slow - Kahneman
Blink - Gladwell
Bowling Alone - Putnam

To oversimplify this book, more choices do not make us happier. They end up making us less satisfied with the choice we have made and frustrate us along the way to make the choice we end up making. Study after study herein referenced showed how we think we want choices but in reality we will pick the same thing we are already familiar with more times than not.

a few tips from the book:
Unless you are dissatisfied stick with what you always buy
Don’t be tempted by new and improve
Don’t scratch unless there is an itch
( )
  JWarrenBenton | Jan 4, 2016 |
I don't think there's much new psychology research in this book, but it's written in an easy-to-read manner. It's particularly worthwhile for those of us who build things in the digital world (and, of course, for anyone who wonders why they are anxious about the choices they make.) ( )
  thebradking | Feb 22, 2014 |
This is another in a seemingly endless procession of recent pop-psych/pop-econ books. So many to choose from!

Like so many others, Schwartz describes concepts and phenomena like opportunity cost, diminishing returns, loss aversion etc. in terms of his thesis. That is, contrary to popular wisdom (side note: with all these pop-psych/pop-econ books out there, I'm beginning to think that only the ideas that have any merit are those that run contrary to popular wisdom.), the widening array of choices everywhere in life has a detrimental effect on our happiness.

For starters, I partially disagree with his premise that freer markets lead to more choice. Freer markets also lead to firm concentration and scale or volume effects, which put downward pressure on the number of choices available. For example, shirts that used to be sold by collar size are now S, M, L, XL. I can't find jeans made with heavier gauge denim anymore. The quirky independent bookstore with the eclectic selection went out of business. But, overall it seems like there are more choices out there in many markets, and that is enough to make his premise functional. Whether there has actually been an increase in the differences between choices (personally, I would bet on a decrease) is another matter.

Next quibble: it isn't until you are well into the book that Schwartz admits the abundance of choice negatively affects only a subset of the population: the maximizers, or those who try to wring every last drop of utility from their decisions. The paradox is not universal. At this point it turns into more of a self-help book for maximizers.

Final complaint: This book is padded for length. Badly. Many sections reminded me of a student trying to stretch his or her essay out to the minimum number of pages, much to the detriment of the book. The thesis is stretched beyond its limits of applicability. A section on the downside of peoples' choices of religion? Another on their choices of race??? And there is example, after example, after example. I will be so, so relieved when today's technological upheavals in the publishing industry finally do away with this standard length (~75,000 words) for popular non-fiction.

Overall I think this is a worthwhile read, especially for those who tend to agonize over their decisions. ( )
  jeffjardine | Jul 31, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
Schwartz, in an effort to help us mend our ways, applies to individual shoppers Simon’s distinction between maximizing and satisficing. A maximizer is someone who “can’t be certain that she has found the best sweater unless she’s looked at all the sweaters,” Schwartz writes.
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060005696, Paperback)

In the spirit of Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock, a social critique of our obsession with choice, and how it contributes to anxiety, dissatisfaction and regret. This paperback includes a new P.S. section with author interviews, insights, features, suggested readings, and more.

Whether we’re buying a pair of jeans, ordering a cup of coffee, selecting a long-distance carrier, applying to college, choosing a doctor, or setting up a 401(k), everyday decisions--both big and small--have become increasingly complex due to the overwhelming abundance of choice with which we are presented.

We assume that more choice means better options and greater satisfaction. But beware of excessive choice: choice overload can make you question the decisions you make before you even make them, it can set you up for unrealistically high expectations, and it can make you blame yourself for any and all failures. In the long run, this can lead to decision-making paralysis, anxiety, and perpetual stress. And, in a culture that tells us that there is no excuse for falling short of perfection when your options are limitless, too much choice can lead to clinical depression.

In The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz explains at what point choice--the hallmark of individual freedom and self-determination that we so cherish--becomes detrimental to our psychological and emotional well-being. In accessible, engaging, and anecdotal prose, Schwartz shows how the dramatic explosion in choice--from the mundane to the profound challenges of balancing career, family, and individual needs--has paradoxically become a problem instead of a solution. Schwartz also shows how our obsession with choice encourages us to seek that which makes us feel worse.

By synthesizing current research in the social sciences, Schwartz makes the counterintuitive case that eliminating choices can greatly reduce the stress, anxiety, and busyness of our lives. He offers eleven practical steps on how to limit choices to a manageable number, have the discipline to focus on the important ones and ignore the rest, and ultimately derive greater satisfaction from the choices you have to make.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:49 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Whether buying a pair of jeans or applying to college, everyday decisions, big and small, have become increasingly complex due to the abundance of choice with which we are presented. As Americans, we assume that more choice means better options and greater satisfaction--but choice overload can make you question your decisions before you even make them, it can set you up for unrealistically high expectations, and it can make you blame yourself for failures. This can lead to decision-making paralysis, anxiety, and stress. In this book, social scientist Schwartz explains at what point choice--the hallmark of individual freedom that we so cherish--becomes detrimental to our psychological and emotional well-being. He offers practical steps on how to limit choices to a manageable number, focus on those that are important and ignore the rest, and derive greater satisfaction from the choices you have to make.--From publisher description.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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