The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less

Front Cover
HarperCollins, Dec 22, 2003 - Psychology - 288 pages
44 Reviews

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.

  

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Review: The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less

User Review  - Sean Engelhardt - Goodreads

Five stars not for the writing but for the overall content. He could have said everything he needed to say in a few-page article, and it's pretty redundant. But it's still a really quick read so what ... Read full review

Review: The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less

User Review  - Mitch - Goodreads

An important book and one that spoke to my personal development. There are so many choices in today's world that can be overwhelming. At times, I find myself stressed out by choices... this book ... Read full review

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Contents

A Road Map
1
New Choices
23
Chapters Deciding and Choosing
47
When Only the Best Will Do
77
Choice and Happiness
99
Missed Opportunities
119
Cha pter 7 Only The Problem of Regret 47
167
Why Everything Suffers from Comparison
181
Whose Fault Is It? Choice
201
What to Do About Choice
221
Copyright

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Popular passages

Page 103 - I am satisfied with my life. So far I have gotten the important things I want in life.
Page 146 - Paul owns shares in Company A. During the past year he considered switching to stock in Company B, but he decided against it. He now finds that he would have been better off by $1,200 if he had switched to the stock of Company B.
Page 1 - 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. Many years ago, the distinguished political philosopher Isaiah Berlin made an important distinction between "negative liberty...
Page 64 - Imagine that you have decided to see a play and paid the admission price of $10 per ticket. As you enter the theater you discover that you have lost the ticket. The seat was not marked and the ticket cannot be recovered. Would you pay $10 for another ticket?
Page 248 - Predicting Reactions to Environmental Change," in M. Bazerman, D. Messick, A. Tenbrunsel, and K. Wade-Benzoni (eds.). Environment, Ethics, and Behavior (San Francisco: New Lexington Press, 1997). pp. 52-72. 1 7 5 young college professors DT Gilbert. EC Pinel. TD Wilson. SJ Blumberg, and TP Whatley, "Immune Neglect: A Source of Durability Bias in Affective Forecasting," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1998.
Page 127 - Problem 1 (n = 170): Imagine that you serve on the jury of an only-child sole-custody case following a relatively messy divorce. The facts of the case are complicated by ambiguous economic, social, and emotional considerations, and you decide to base your decision entirely on the following few observations. [To which parent would you award sole custody of the child...
Page xvi - When people have no choice, life is almost unbearable. As the number of available choices increases, as it has in our consumer culture, the autonomy, control, and liberation this variety brings are powerful and positive. But as the number of choices keeps growing, negative aspects of having a multitude of options begin to appear. As the number of choices grows further, the negatives escalate until we become overloaded.

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Barry Schwartz: Books
The Paradox of Choice. As Americans, we assume that more choice means better options and greater satisfaction. But beware of excessive choice: choice ...
www.swarthmore.edu/ SocSci/ bschwar1/ books.html

Functioning Form - UI11: The Paradox of Choice
Barry Schwartz’s The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less talk at the User Interface 11 conference outlined his research on the impact of too many choices on ...
www.lukew.com/ ff/ entry.asp?419

TED | Talks | Barry Schwartz: The paradox of choice (video)
TED Talks Psychologist Barry Schwartz takes aim at a central belief of western societies: that freedom of choice leads to personal happiness
www.ted.com/ index.php/ talks/ view/ id/ 93

Video: The Paradox of Choice, or Why Apple Only Sells Four ...
Suggest a Link · Archives · Merchandise; Subscribe; Mark · Cory · David · Xeni · John · Joel · Boing Boing Gadgets. Video: The Paradox of Choice,...
gadgets.boingboing.net/ 2007/ 12/ 11/ video-the-paradox-of.html

The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less - Wikipedia, the free ...
The Paradox of Choice - Why More Is Less is a 2004 book by Barry Schwartz. In the book, Schwartz argues the controversial thesis that eliminating consumer ...
en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ The_Paradox_of_Choice:_Why_More_Is_Less

The Frontal Cortex : The Paradox of Choice (Internet Version)
Profile. pic.jpg Jonah Lehrer is an editor at large for Seed Magazine. His first book is Proust Was A Neuroscientist. Buy it here. 41kvl8qroyl._AA240_.jpg ...
scienceblogs.com/ cortex/ 2007/ 06/ the_paradox_of_choice_internet.php

worldchanging: Tools, Models and Ideas for Building a Bright Green ...
In his book, The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less, he argues against the conventional wisdom that more choice brings greater contentment. ...
www.worldchanging.com/ archives/ 000977.html

Barry Schwartz on The Paradox of Choice
every science video on sciencehack is screened by a scientist to verify its accuracy and quality. Sample searches: Hubble, Space, Sulfur Hexafluoride, ...
sciencehack.com/ videos/ view/ VO6XEQIsCoM

The Paradox of Choice - Why More Is Less
The Paradox of Choice - Why More Is Less - 64 min - Apr 27, 2006 Google engedu - www.google.com. () Rate:. Google techtalks April 27, 2006 Barry Schwartz ...
video.google.com/ videoplay?docid=6127548813950043200

The Paradox of Choice - Kaedrin Weblog
At the UI11 Conference I attended last week, one of the keynote presentations was made by Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less. ...
kaedrin.com/ weblog/ archive/ 001157.html

About the author (2003)

Barry Schwartz is the Dorwin Cartwright Professor of Social Theory and Social Action at Swarthmore College. He is the author of several books, including The Battle for Human Nature: Science, Morality and Modern Life and The Costs of Living: How Market Freedom Erodes the Best Things in Life. His articles have appeared in many of the leading journals in his field, including the American Psychologist. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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