Barry Schwartz – The Paradox of Choice


In the spirit of Alvin Tofflers’ Future Shock, a social critique of our obsession with choice, and how it contributes to anxiety, dissatisfaction and regret.

Whether were 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.

Author: Barry Schwartz
Narrator: Ken Kliban
Duration: 7 hours 2 minutes
Released: 10 Jul 2009
Publisher: Audible Studios
Language: English

User Review:

elm cunning

I picked up this book after watching Barrys TedTalk (Which I highly recommend to anyone struggling with taking decisions), hoping to expand further on the topic. The books idea is great but the storytelling is awful and very repetitive. The point could have been transmitted in less than half of the length of the book.