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The Art of Choosing Paperback – March 9, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
On the positive side, the book is well researched and is particularly strong when discussing cultural differences regarding choice and decision making. It is loaded with a large number of anecdotes and research studies.
On the negative side, after having read the book, I had a hard time outlining the key points or recalling a handful of particularly powerful examples. Despite the author's frequent references to the importance of a "narrative," I struggled to find the narrative in the book.
In a nutshell, when reading this book I felt as though I would have learned a lot if I'd had the opportunity to spend a semester in one of the author's classes, benefitting from a rich give and take of ideas and arguing the interpretations of the various research findings and personal perspectives. However, not enough of that experience came through in the book -- the studies and examples were mostly ones I had read many times before, and the integrating "theory of the case" was not strongly presented.
For discussions of decision making as it relates to economic or business choices, I found "Predictably Irrational" by Dan Ariely of Duke and "The Winner's Curse" by Richard Thaler of Princeton to be more valuable than "The Art of Choosing." For consumer choice research and issues, Barry Schwartz's "The Paradox of Choice" remains the standard.Read more ›
The latest, and definitely one of the best, is Sheena Iyenga's book, "The Art of Choosing." This book explodes the ideas we have about choice. Did you know that the U.S.A. is the place where choice is valued most highly? In Japan, for instance, people are far more likely to be told where to work and what to wear. Sheena's parents (both Sikhs) had an arranged marriage in India, and there are pictures of the wedding day. Sheena's mother seems to me to be the most beautiful woman in the world (no wonder her husband is laughing at his good fortune).
I knew two Indian programmers that had arranged marriages, but these days the men are in the U.S.A. Relatives back in India contact the parents of suitable women and, in the few weeks of the men's vacation, they go on dates with their "girlfriends," and if all goes well they date some more, until they finally find a compatible partner. This goes against the Western dream of finding a lifetime companion on your own. Apparently millions of people throughout the world manage to find someone, but the spouse is often a co-worker, a co-student, or just one of a circle of friends. We would be shocked if we weren't allowed to choose whoever we wanted to, yet in the current Indian version the women are already expecting to move abroad and to have a nerdy but well-paid husband.
Examples like this proliferate through the book.Read more ›
We all make choices every day, from the simple "cereal or eggs?" to the life-altering, "which college shall I attend?"
Sheena Iyengar has written a wonderfully readable book which discusses the many choices that we make every day and delves into the psychology of those choices. Did you know that seven is the apex of the best number of choices to choose from with twelve being too many to remember? Did you know that the candidate at the top of the ballot often receives more votes just based upon the position of his or her name? (Thus the push for states to rotate the position of candidates names instead of just listing incumbents first or in alphabetical order.)
What culture are you from? How does that affect your comfort with freedom of choice? Do you prefer more choices or are you more comfortable if someone chooses for you if they have your best interests at heart?
Iyengar will lead you by the hand to look at the why and how we choose, anything from small to large choices. She has presented a scholarly text, backed with many experiments and references, yet has written it in a way that nearly anyone can follow and grasp the concepts she reviews. Most amazing of all, is that Iyengar travels all over the world, seeks out the resources she needs, and yet has been blind from an early age. She is one very brave and determined woman.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who has ever been curious about why we choose the life we do.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
good for any grad student to read before college
Choosing has many many paths before it even begins. Read more
this book be trash, I feel I be a iducated people:, so trust when i say dont waste money/ i hated the book :the art of picking:,Published 1 month ago by Amy Davis
Excellent book full of astonishing insight and rich wisdom! I must thank Dr. Iyengar for enlightening me to the choices I am given. A great read! :)Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Well structured. Thoughtful. And loaded with interesting surprises about the author along the way. Behavioral science meets real life . . . And made interesting!Published 4 months ago by SK
One of the best books I've ever read! Will aid in making better choices for the remainder of my life.Published 6 months ago by Alonzo Vance
That rare astonishing book that is both a value to someone who knows nothing about the topic – and someone, like I, a professor of law who studies negotiation and choice and knows... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Clark Freshman
In addition to the subject matter, there are some fascinating personal details. I really wish the author had a straight memoir. I'd read that in a second. Great writing.Published 9 months ago by Michael Wallace