The Art of Choosing

Front Cover
Little, Brown, 2010 - Choice (Psychology) - 352 pages
19 Reviews
About the Book : - An Apple Store customer asks for the latest iPhone in black but suddenly changes his preference to white when he sees the choices others are making. A resident of a former communist country is offered a fizzy drink from a wide selection but picks at random; soda is soda, he says. Though the child knows she shouldn't press the big red button (absolutely not!), she finds her hand inching forward. A young man and woman decide to marry -- knowing that the first time they meet will be on their wedding day.

How did these people make their choices? How do any of us make ours? Choice is a powerful tool to define ourselves and mold our lives -- but what do we know about the wants, motivations, biases, and influences that aid or hinder our endeavors?

In The Art of Choosing, Columbia University professor Sheena Iyengar, a leading expert on choice, sets herself the Herculean task of helping us become better choosers. She asks fascinating questions: Is the desire for choice innate or created by culture? Why do we sometimes choose against our best interests? How much control do we really have over what we choose? Ultimately, she offers unexpected and profound answers, drawn from her award-winning, discipline-spanning research.

Here you'll learn about the complex relationship between choice and freedom, and why one doesn't always go with the other. You'll see that too much choice can overwhelm us, leading to unpleasant experiences, from "TiVo guilt" over unwatched TV programs to confusion over health insurance plans. Perhaps most important, you'll discover how our choices -- both mundane and momentous -- are shaped by many different forces, visible and invisible. This remarkable book illuminates the joys and challenges of choosing, showing us how we build our lives, one choice at a time.

About the Author : - Sheena Iyengar's innovative research on choice has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Security Education Program. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, the Wharton School of Business, and Stanford University. She is a professor at Columbia University and a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award. Her work is regularly cited in such periodicals as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, Fortune and TIME magazines, and in books such as Blink and The Paradox of Choice. She lives in New York City with her family.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - danoomistmatiste - LibraryThing

Lot of useful insights and observations in this well written book. Some of them worth quoting. A few years after the fall of the Berlin wall, folks of the erstwhile East Germany were asked if life was ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - rmagahiz - LibraryThing

I got about a quarter of the way through this, but the thing I didn't like was how some of the sections seemed a bit padded out - I wanted the author to get through some of the elementary points more quickly to get on to the interesting stuff. Maybe I'll pick this up again at some future date. Read full review

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About the author (2010)

Sheena Iyengar is a profess at Columbia University, New York, whose work has been drawn on by, among others, Malcolm Gladwell.

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