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The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less by…

The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less (edition 2005)

by Barry Schwartz

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2,285394,300 (3.75)33
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 preface from the author. 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. As Americans, 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 counter intuitive 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 those that are important and ignore the rest, and ultimately derive greater satisfaction from the choices you have to make.… (more)
Title:The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less
Authors:Barry Schwartz
Info:Harper Perennial (2005), Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:popsci, pb

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The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less by Barry Schwartz


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Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
A good book that shows how having too many choices can lead to stress and anxiety. ( )
  ffifield | Oct 31, 2018 |
Interesting ideas about abundant choice and its effect on emotional well-being. My main complaint is that this book is a bit oversimplified -- I would have liked more supporting details/citations/anecdotes than Schwartz tended to give... I felt like I already knew most of this coming in based on his appearance on Radio Lab.

Still, interesting. ( )
  akaGingerK | Sep 30, 2018 |
I've made a bad choice by reading this book out of MILLIONS out there. What a fool I am!

Just kidding. But I gotta say, he focuses a lot on the exemplifying and the such. And when I mean a lot, I mean it.
It's frustrating, it's exhausting, it's time wasting and he did it with less than 300 pages. I think he or its publisher didn't wanted to release such a short book, so they filled it with repetition.
I also need to point there that it's even worse if you're already read [b:Thinking, Fast and Slow|11468377|Thinking, Fast and Slow|Daniel Kahneman|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1317793965s/11468377.jpg|16402639] by Daniel Kahneman (quite probably you did), and because it's pretty pessimist overall. I don't agree with many things presented and some conclusions are questionable.

"As this chapter has shown, decisions like these arouse discomfort, and they force indecision. Students take time off, take on odd jobs, try out internships, hoping that the right answer to the “What should I be when I grow up?” question will emerge. One quickly learns that “What are you going to do when you graduate?” is not a question many students are eager to hear, let alone answer. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that my students might be better off with a little less talent or with a little more of a sense that they owed it to their families to settle down back home, or even a dose of Depression-era necessity—take the secure job and get on with it! With fewer options and more constraints, many trade-offs would be eliminated, and there would be less self-doubt, less of an effort to justify decisions, more satisfaction, and less second-guessing of the decisions once made."

If you've read this and you're still willing to read the book, skip Part I. Seriously. You won't miss anything. It talks about the overload of choices we have e.g. at the supermarket and gives the advice to not care much about so many choices... but if we weren't already doing so, we couldn't live our lives. The main problem with repetition is that he does it throughout the whole book.
I would say that you can skip the first half from Part III too. It could easily be a 4/5 book, but there are many things to improve. ( )
  Spr1t3 | Jul 31, 2018 |
This book is an argument for the idea that the proliferations of choices we choose from is making us sick and in fact is reducing the quality of and happiness surrounding the choices we make. This is basically a research paper turned into a commercial product. I found the book entertaining but incredibly long winded and repetitive. The essential message of the book can be gotten by reading the Prologue: The Paradox of Choice: A road map, Part I: When we choose and Part IV What we can do. What lies between are the details of and the supporting evidence for his premise. The book is dated in its references to technology. It was written in 2004. The book’s message none the less is still relevant for today’s readers. The phenoma it is addressing has only gotten worse. This book is similar to The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg and Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World by Donald Sull, Kathleen M. Eisenhardt both these books are better than The Paradox of Choice., in that their basic message, application of their message and writing styles are more concise. That is not to say the book is not worth reading. The supporting data in this book is excellent. It is has a great index and fantastic references. ( )
  Cataloger623 | Sep 22, 2017 |
We now have more choice than ever before but is this a good thing? this book will convince you that sometimes less really is more. ( )
  M_Clark | Mar 12, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (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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For Ruby and Eliza, with love and hope
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About six years ago, I went to the Gap to buy a pair of jeans.
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