- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: EccoPress; Revised edition (May 17, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062449923
- ISBN-13: 978-0062449924
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 352 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Paradox of Choice, The Paperback – May 17, 2016
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“Brilliant.... The case Schwartz makes... is compelling, the implications disturbing.... An insightful book.” (Christian Science Monitor)
“An insightful study that winningly argues its subtitle.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)
“Schwartz lays out a convincing argument.... [He] is a crisp, engaging writer with an excellent sense of pace.” (Austin American-Statesman)
“Schwartz offers helpful suggestions of how we can manage our world of overwhelming choices.” (St. Petersburg Times)
“Wonderfully readable.” (Washington Post)
“Schwartz has plenty of insightful things to say about the perils of everyday life.” (Booklist)
“With its clever analysis, buttressed by sage New Yorker cartoons, The Paradox of Choice is persuasive.” (BusinessWeek)
From the Back Cover
“Absorbing, witty, and persuasive.”—BusinessWeek Top 10 Business Books of 2004
“Brilliant. . . . The case Schwartz makes for a correlation between our emotional state and what he calls the ‘tyranny of choice’ is compelling, the implications disturbing. . . . An insightful book.”—Christian Science Monitor
“A revolutionary and beautifully reasoned book about the promiscuous amount of choice that renders the consumer helpless. A must-read.”—Martin Seligman, author of Authentic Happiness
Whether we’re buying a pair of jeans, ordering coffee, selecting a wireless 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 over-whelming abundance of choice. For Americans, choice is the hallmark of individual freedom and self-determination. But having too much choice can actually be detrimental: choice overload can make you question your decisions before you make them, set up unrealistically high expectations, and lead to self-blame for any failure. The result is decision-making paralysis, anxiety, and perpetual stress, and even clinical depression.
In The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz shows how the dramatic explosion in choice—from the mundane to the profound challenges of balancing career, family, and individual needs—has led us to seek that which makes us feel worse. Synthesizing current research, Schwartz makes the counterintuitive case that reducing choices can greatly reduce stress, anxiety, and the frenzy of daily life, and offers eleven practical steps to help you limit choices to a manageable number, focus on the important ones, and ultimately derive greater satisfaction from the choices you have to make.
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~ Barry Schwartz from The Paradox of Choice
Barry Schwartz is a Professor of Social Theory and Social Action at Swarthmore College and this book is packed with Big Ideas on how, as the sub-title suggests, "the culture of abundance robs us of satisfaction."
In short, we now have so many options that we're suffering.
"I believe we make the most of our freedoms by learning to make good choices about the things that matter, while at the same time unburdening ourselves from too much concern about the things that don't."
"We can imagine a point at which the options would be so copious that even the world's most ardent supporters of freedom of choice would begin to say, "enough already." Unfortunately, that point of revulsion seems to recede endlessly into the future."
Here are some of the Big Ideas:
1. Gratitude = happy with choices
2. Being Seduced - By branding. We all are.
3. Maximizers vs. Satisficers - Huge idea.
4. Perfectionism - Tends to go with maximizing.
5. Domain Specificity - Maximizing is domain specific.
To find 250+ more reviews visit http://bit.ly/BrianReviews
I don't quite know what to think about this book. It may be that this author has recapitulated something quite profound.
On the one hand, the author does have some extremely valid points, both in:
1. The Logical sense that it is true that an abundance of choices can/ does actually run into diminishing returns-- as too much of anything can run into diminishing returns.
2. The Empirical sense in that reality both past and present are replete with examples of people who do not suffer any harm as a result of having proscribed choices.
***Example #1--In places such as China, choice there is extremely limited for most of life. (Just as one example: proverbs are extremely popular in order to save people the trouble of coming up with new sentences. Or new thoughts.) And yet that society has been there for thousands of years.
***Example #2-- For Orthodox Jewish people, marital choices are made from a very limited set of people. And yet, the divorce rate is lower, and there are many more children per family. It is only when one shifts off into the direction of Modern Orthodoxy that there are fewer successful matches and more divorces because of a greater number of choices. ("A little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion.")
On the other hand, the question comes up...... "Is it better for an outside force to limit a person's choices? Or, is it something that he is better to do of his own volition?"
The author opts for the latter choice.
There is heavy borrowing of /citation from the Daniel Kahneman book "Thinking, Fast and Slow." (That was a good book, but probably a little bit too long to reread and so the recapitulation of those points from that text in this one are quite valuable.)
I'm almost tempted to say that the graph that is placed on page 70 in the book is the synopsis of the entire Kahneman book).
In some ways, this book is a lot of what we already have read many times before: 1)No, human beings are not calculators; 2)Yes, the decisions that they make are inconsistent based on inability to be a calculator.
There's a lot of interesting discussion on maximizers versus satisficers. And how there is that tried-and-true personality type that will never allow a decision to come to an end. As in, they keep re-evaluating what they do have against what they could have had.
There is also interesting discussion about the specific cases in which it becomes too hard to make a decision. And regrets of omission vs commission.
Is "regret management" something in which a person could train himself?
Schwartz certainly thinks so, even going so far as to offer us a list:
1. Choose when to choose
2. Be a choose and not a picker
3. Satisfice more, maximize less
4. Think about the costs of missed opportunities
5. Make decisions nonreversible
6. Practice an attitude of gratitude
7. Regret less
8. Anticipate adaptation
9. Control expectations
11. Embrace constraints
Verdict: Worth the time and worth the price. ($8.55 with shipping.)