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The Art of Choosing Paperback – March 9, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Iyengar's inquiry into choice—why we value it, how we make it, and why it matters—is poorly served by this choppy reading. The cross-cultural study featuring the author's own research emphasizes how crucial is the perception of choice to our mental and physical health, and is filled with the sort of chatty asides to the listener that would recommend it for an audio version. Unfortunately, Orlagh Cassidy reads with a jarring pacing and emphasis, which makes minor points sound portentous, and the pedantic quality and singsong cadence give her the air of a primary school teacher. Her tongue trips on Hindi and Punjabi words (and even on the author's name)—which make the book's many autobiographical sections ring false. A Twelve hardcover (Reviews, Jan. 18). (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Prominent social psychologist Iyengar begins her unique and invigorating study of choice by telling the story of a man who survived for 76 days stranded alone in the middle of the ocean. He chose to live, Iyengar tells us, just as she has chosen not to let her blindness keep her from conducting prodigious research and intrepid experiments. Iyengar exponentially expands our understanding of the central role choice plays in the lives of animals and humans in a rapid-fire, many-faceted, and original inquiry that is at once personable and commanding. She explains our “biological need for choice and control,” the decision process, and the myriad influences that dictate everything from purchasing choices to career moves, voting, medical decisions, and marriage. The daughter of Sikh immigrants from India, Iyengar is particularly astute in her globally significant analysis of the striking differences between how Americans and Asians make decisions. Much of this eye-opening anatomy of choice focuses on consumerism, a lively, revealing arena, but Iyengar’s high-voltage curiosity and penetrating insights are far more valuable when applied to deeper matters of existence. --Donna Seaman --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Nonetheless, it is well written, and contains some hugely important insights in its cross-cultural insights. I was particularly interested in the comparison of collectivist and individualistic cultures as regard choices. What may be motivating to some people may be disconcerting and unwelcome to others - something that is important for multinational corporations as they seek to motivate their workers. Those of us who have grown up in the individualistic cultures of the West may be surprised to read that what we would perceive as a frustrating lack of choice in the more collectivist cultures is actually described as reassuring and more likely to ensure fairness.
If you are looking for an entertainingly written account of research on choice at an "academic, a few thousand feet up" level rather than a "down on the ground where we are making choices" work it is an excellent read and I am glad to have added it to my library.
Most recent customer reviews
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