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Like Thoreau and the band Devo, psychology professor Schwartz provides ample evidence that we are faced with far too many choices on a daily basis, providing an illusion of a multitude of options when few honestly different ones actually exist. The conclusions Schwartz draws will be familiar to anyone who has flipped through 900 eerily similar channels of cable television only to find that nothing good is on. Whether choosing a health-care plan, choosing a college class or even buying a pair of jeans, Schwartz, drawing extensively on his own work in the social sciences, shows that a bewildering array of choices floods our exhausted brains, ultimately restricting instead of freeing us. We normally assume in America that more options ("easy fit" or "relaxed fit"?) will make us happier, but Schwartz shows the opposite is true, arguing that having all these choices actually goes so far as to erode our psychological well-being. Part research summary, part introductory social sciences tutorial, part self-help guide, this book offers concrete steps on how to reduce stress in decision making. Some will find Schwartz's conclusions too obvious, and others may disagree with his points or find them too repetitive, but to the average lay reader, Schwartz's accessible style and helpful tone is likely to aid the quietly desperate.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Who woulda thunk it? Here we are, in the early years of the twenty-first century, being driven bonkers by the staggering array of consumer goods from which we must choose. Choosing something as (seemingly) simple as shampoo can force us to wade through dozens, even hundreds, of brands. We are, the author suggests, overwhelmed by choice, and that's not such a good thing. Schwartz tells us that constantly being asked to make choices, even about the simplest things, forces us to "invest time, energy, and no small amount of self-doubt, and dread." There comes a point, he contends, at which choice becomes debilitating rather than liberating. Did I make the right choice? Can I ever make the right choice? It would be easy to write off this book as merely an extended riff on that well-worn phrase "too much of a good thing," but that would be a mistake. Despite a tendency toward highfalutin language ("the counterfactuals we construct can be tilted upward"), Schwartz has plenty of insightful things to say here about the perils of everyday life. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
This would have been better as a journal article. In fact, I think the author published it as a paper in Scientific American (?) back then. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Z. B. Rizi
This book really gets you thinking about everything from business to personal relationships. I measure how much I like a book by how long after I talk about it - and I talked... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Gavin Radzick
Purchased this as I was interested in what the author was trying to get across in a TV interview. Really makes you think about all the choices in life we have to make, and do we... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Terry
This book is full of golden nuggets of thought. If you're fascinated with society, the human mind and happiness then you will devour this book and love every minute of it. Read morePublished on July 18 2010 by JulzB
According to Barry Schwartz, the Swathmore sociology professor, the latitude of choice and the freedom to choose has caused all kinds of social problems in modern America. Read morePublished on April 13 2008 by Ian Gordon Malcomson
Barry Schwartz explores interesting paradox. If we as consumer have a lot of choices, it does not mean that we would be able to make a better decision or be happier. Read morePublished on April 3 2008 by Lev Virine
The counterintuitive title of this book makes sense by page two, which is only the first of many wonders Schwartz makes happen over the course of this deceptively thin and breezy... Read morePublished on June 16 2004 by Richard Nelson
Schwartz takes an interesting perspective on the decision sciences, exploring not how we could make decisions better, but instead how we can feel better about the decisions we do... Read morePublished on June 9 2004
I am deeply thankful to live at a time, in a country, where I enjoy unprecedented freedoms; I would never want someone else to restrict my choices. Read morePublished on June 3 2004 by Renaaah