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Showing 1-10 of 192 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 329 reviews
on August 27, 2015
 "The fact that some choice is good doesn't necessarily mean that more choice is better. As I will demonstrate, there is a cost to having an overload of choice. As a culture, we are enamored of freedom, self-determination, and variety, and we are reluctant to give up any of our options. But clinging tenaciously to all the choices available to us contributes to bad decisions, to anxiety, stress, and dissatisfaction-- even to clinical depression."

~ 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.

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on December 27, 2016
Excellent book about making choices using a different approach. Tells us, in summary, that to maximize our choices, just find an option that satisfied you ---- and by being satisfied, it has been proven to maximize our results. Believe it or not, I just spoiled the entire book for you! That is all the book boils down to. However, it explains the science behind why being satisfied is the path to satisfactory maximization. It spends the entire book explaining why. But, it's very interesting! You will not regret reading it.
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on March 24, 2015
Four and Half Stars- Must Read for anyone interested in "decision making"

A fantastic book on why more is less (or less is more). It is a fantastic essay on how the culture of abundance robs us of satisfaction in life, and more importantly bring in depression. It shares enough case studies and examples of why more is less, and how to increase satisfaction life.

Key Idea: Giving people too many choices tends to lessen their satisfaction.
“Maximizers” are people who, given a choice, will exhaustively search all the options, seeking all possible information, in order to make the best possible choice. This behavior generally consumes a lot of time, and often leads to nagging doubts, perhaps where no one clear winner emerged.
“Satisficers” are those who settle for a choice that is “good enough” for them These people are generally happier with their choice, and spend less time choosing, leaving them free to enjoy other things.

Counterintuitive wisdom

1. We are better of if we embraced voluntary constrains of choice on our freedom of choice, instead of rebelling against in thme
2. We are better off when we choose good enough instead of seeking the best
3. Lower your expectations about the results of your decisions
4. We are better off if our decisions are irreverseable
5. We are better off if we paid less attention to what others do around us

Summary of the book by Chapter:
Lets go shopping: Every area of our life from the super market to the education market offers way too much choice.

New Choice: Filtering our extraneous information is the key function of consciousnesses.

Deciding and Choosing: Figure your goals out, rank them, evaluate options and their likelyhood to meet goals, pick winning option .
Growth of options and opportunities means decisions require more effort, mistakes are more likely and psychological ocnsequence of mistakes is more severe.

When Only The Best Will Do: When you seek and only the best will do you are a MAXIMIZER. When you seek the good enough and not worry about consequences you are a SATISFIER.
Maximizers tend to: make more product comparisons, take longer to decide, compare their decisions to others, experience more regret that others, feel less positive about their decisions.

Choice & happiness: Every choice we make is a testament to our autonomy. The choice of when to be a chooser may be the most important choice we have to make. The more control people have, the less helpless they feel, the less depressed they will be.
Time spent with dealing with choice is time spent away from being in life.
Some constrain can afford liberty, while freedom will bring enslavement, it is wise to choose the the constrains.

Missed opportunities: Examine opportunity costs - more the choices, we diminish our subjective experience of benefits, thus we are worse off.
When people have too many options and trade offs, they avoid making decisions options we consider usually suffer from companions with other options
One reason why maximizers are less happy, less satisfied with their lives, and more depressed than satisfiers is precisely because the taint of tradeoffs and opportunity costs washes out much that hshould be satisfying about the decisions they make.

The Problem of Regret: Two factors affect regret a) personal responsibility for the result b) how easily we can imagine the counter factual better alternative.
Regret looms more for the maximizer than the satisfier.

Everything suffers from Comparisons: Curse fof high expectations, curse of social comparisons due to race for status,
Maximizers are more concerned with social comparisons than satisfiers. Increasing available options seems to usually reduce satisfaction.

Whose Fault is it?:Helplessness induced by failure or lack of control causes depression. Depression more common when only the best will do.

What to do about Choice?:
1)Choose when to choose.- think of cost associated with decisions.
2) Be a chooser not a picker -
3)Satisfy more, maximize less
4)Think about opportunity costs of opportunity costs - dont be swayed by new and improved
5) Make decisions non reversible
6) Practice an attitude of gratitude
7)Regret less
8) Anticipate adaptation - focus on how things are as opposed to as they were
9) Control expectations
10) Avoid social comparisons
11)Learn to love constrains

This book is worth the read, to hammer home the point of embracing a satisfaction based life, and how to learn to love constrains. BUY THIS BOOK, which was voted as a TOP 10 book for the year by Business Week to understand why" less is more, and how to increase the satisfaction in your life."

Mahipal Lunia
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on November 27, 2014
hrough this book , Barry has tried to explain some of the commonly felt shopping distresses. While most of them will sound familiar (have myself scratched my head in front of the toothpaste shelf and then picking up one at random, so much for all the millions spent on ads), Barry has brought out a psychological explanations behind the same. So at least i am reassured that I am not the only one facing such turmoil.

In terms of concepts I liked the positive versus negative language "discount on cash" vs "surcharge on credit". There are many occasions when I felt we were making the customer aware and doing a favour, not realising that using such a straight language may just be bad marketing.

The endowment effect is also a good insight for marketeers, bundle more and give an option for customers to remove than do the reverse.

However, as the book progresses, i felt too many concepts were being brought in, thus making me lose track of the same. And too many studies to support them - get confused too often between the correlation and causuality. By the last chapter, it almost reads like a gospel or a guide towards nirvana - satisfice more and maximise less. I am not sure that many would agree unless you are already a satisficer.

In summary, the book starts with an interest concept , but gets lost somewhere in between and shifts to a different orbit by the end.
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on January 8, 2017
A brilliant view of our complex world. We think we want more choice, but we are better off without it. If you enjoyed Freakanomics, you will enjoy this one too.
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on April 30, 2014
My organizer recommended this book. She said that she had to read it also. I wanted to learn how to make faster decisions about getting rid of things and not spending so much time researching everything before I make my choice. My organizer kept asking me if it was worth my time. I am only into the first chapter; but, I believe it is going to help me make choices without the fear that I might be making a mistake. The book talks about real freedom and I would love to make a mistake or make a decision and then move on without thinking about it any more. That's real freedom.
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on April 17, 2015
I am paralyzed by seemingly trivial decisions. Which tires to get for my car? Should I replace my malfunctioning GPS, and if so, with which model? The more options, the worst it is. Over the years, I've sought out strategies for reducing the number of choices, such as by arbitrarily choosing a brand (like a Brother printer or Dell laptop or Wrangler jeans).

Turns out I'm not along -- and there's a relatively easy cure, once you understand what's going on. Barry Schwartz's book literally changed my life by helping me understand that there are times when it's important to invest the time to make the absolute best choice (like when buying a new home) and there are times when "good enough is good enough." In those situations my new strategy is to make a set of criteria and literally choose the very first product or option that meets that criteria... and stop shopping.

Schwartz has some excellent language and vocabulary to describe the problem and the solution.

How good is this book? Well, I've purchased copies for family members and business partners, and said, "Read this book if you want to understand me." And as I said, it has changed my life. Understanding why I go crazy when faced with choices, why I sometimes get angry and shut down was the first step. With that knowledge, I now have coping mechanisms that prevent me from getting angry and storming out of the store when faced with four pairs of dress shoes at the store. Now I sit down, ask the clerk to bring me ONE pair, and if I like them, I buy them, happy as a clam.

Sound like you? Read this book. It will change your life.
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on August 23, 2016
I'm came upon this book, as I'm sure many did, after hearing Schwartz's Ted Talk, which in 10 minutes really does give you the general gist of this book. That said, there is enough here to justify reading from start to finish if you want to delve a little deeper, find out more specifics about the research he (and others) did. A number of recurring terms are used throughout the book, as if it's like a mini-textbook, only infinitely more enjoyable and arguably more interesting. For me personally, much of what Schwartz talks about in The Paradox of Choice is stuff I've consciously and unconsciously thought and considered, but he manages to spell it out, put it into words in a way that helped open my mind up a little more. As I gradually worked my way through the book, I felt myself become more self-aware, and it got me thinking about what decisions I should think or "fret" over, and which ones I should more or less automate. I love it when a book achieves that type of sensation, the kind made from giving you great, important information in a way that feels a cut above the norm, but not so complex and sprawling that it becomes a chore. In fact, one of the only shortcomings I can muster to hold against the book (and ultimately why I gave it 4/5 stars) is because I felt there were parts that could've used more elaboration, specifically the fourth and final part, which feels too much like a rushed conclusion when all is said and done. Not to say the book ends poorly, I just think a little more substance for the conclusion would've left an even greater lasting impression.

Now I can easily see some people misreading what Schwartz brings to light in this book, or at least certain parts and aspects. For instance, a common suggestion made throughout is to be okay with "good enough." Schwartz does bring up the fact that higher expectations can (and often do) objectively lead to superior products and experiences, but it's easy to lose sight of that every time he mentions how "satisficers" are happier and that a "good enough" mentality and approach to life can make us feel better. There are even parts that one could interpret as him advocating for lifestyles where a lack of choice, regardless of whether we want the freedom of choice or not, may actually be better. This is sure to leave quite an impression on some readers, and I obviously can't speak for Schwartz himself, but my own takeaway isn't that we should regress back into having more choice. Rather, I feel the ultimate message we should take is that living lives with just enough restraint, keeping things concise and not fretting over little things that have little to no impact in the long run, is better than having to look into and analyze every little detail about every little decision. Another way of looking at it is the "less is more" expression. Knowing when to limit ourselves and knowing when to take full advantage of whatever we can is the line I feel Schwartz wants us all to walk. Having more to choose from is great, just don't let the abundance consume you.
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on April 18, 2017
Overall a good read. Studies are cited at times, but other times the points being made seem to be more just he author's perspective. It did make me think a lot though and made me realize the benefits of reasonably limiting my choices.
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on April 26, 2017
The concepts of the book are good but the examples in the book are becoming outdated. It would be cool to read a newer version of the book with more up to date examples. For example the book references CD's and tapes which are almost non existent today. But overall pretty compelling research on how humans interact in a completely bombarded society.
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