Paradox of Choice Why More Is Less

ISBN-10: 0060005696
ISBN-13: 9780060005696
Edition: 2005
Authors: Barry Schwartz
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Description: In the spirit of Alvin Toffler's Future Shock , a social critique of our obsession with choice, and how it contributes to anxiety, dissatisfaction and regret. This paperback includes a new P.S. section with author interviews, insights, features,  More...

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Book details

List price: $15.99
Copyright year: 2005
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 1/18/2005
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 304
Size: 5.25" wide x 7.75" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.748
Language: English

In the spirit of Alvin Toffler's Future Shock , a social critique of our obsession with choice, and how it contributes to anxiety, dissatisfaction and regret. This paperback includes a new P.S. section with author interviews, insights, features, suggested readings, and more. 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. 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 counterintuitive 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 the important ones and ignore the rest, and ultimately derive greater satisfaction from the choices you have to make.

Barry Schwartz is Dorwin Cartwright Professor of Social Theory and Social Action in the psychology department at Swarthmore College. Schwartz has published widely in scholarly journals in the field of learning and motivation. In addition, he is the author of Behaviorism, Science, and Human Nature (with Hugh Lacey), The Battle for Human Nature, and The Costs of Living.

Prologue: The Paradox of Choice: A Road Map
When We Choose
Let's Go Shopping
New Choices
How We Choose
Deciding and Choosing
When Only the Best Will Do
Why We Suffer
Choice and Happiness
Missed Opportunities
"If Only...": The Problem of Regret
Why Decisions Disappoint: The Problem of Adaptation
Why Everything Suffers from Comparison
Whose Fault Is It? Choice, Disappointment, and Depression
What We Can Do
What to Do About Choice
Notes
Index

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