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Publisher's Summary

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.
©2004 Barry Schwartz (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Darwin8u on 10-28-13

The Tyranny of Pop Economics

A solid survey of behavioral economics literature related to the premise that the wide range of choices we have (what to read, how to read it, what rating to give it, where to post our review) actually ends up making us unhappier (tyranny of small decisions). Schwartz's summary is similar to a lot of those pop-economic books that seem to pop up regularly and sell quite well because they both tell us something we kinda already suspected, but also gently surprise us with counter-intuitive ideas at the same time. We are surprised, we are also a little validated: just little bit of supply with a very light touch demand.

This book belongs snug on the bookshelf next to: anything by Malcolm Gladwell, Freakonomics, Predictably Irrational, Nudge, Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me), etc. All interesting, all worth the time (as long as the time is < 5 hrs), but none of them are brilliant. They are all Gladwell-like in their reductionism (this is why they all sell so well to the business community and are pimped heavily by Forbes to TED). I am both attracted and repelled by the form. They seem to span the fissure between academic and pop, between economics and self-help. I read them and I end up feeling like I know a bit more about myself, and NOW I'm just disappointed in that bastard for a couple more rational reasons.

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77 of 79 people found this review helpful


By Bill on 12-06-10

Interesting

This work caused me to realize that much of the stress of my life is related to the infinite list of possibilities and choices that I have to make. It also gave me a set of strategies for dealing with that stress.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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By M. Millward on 11-11-15

Great Book Full of Insight

The boom has fantastic enlightening content that can be used in a variety of applications, from personal development to marketing strategies.
The narration however is awful - but bear with it - it's worth it!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By Mattias J. Carson on 08-03-17

Depth and systematic

The narrator was a little distracting, as he speaks in a pace that to me seems unnatural, however he was able to hold my attention and deliver information clearly which I eventually appreciated

The book is very applicable to our times, it will give you awareness of potential issues that everyone can relate to. The start of the book builds up the foundation of the topic where as the last third of the book gives you ways in which to combat the paradox of choice. I removed a star because the book will be affected by the time period research had taken place. It makes me feel the subject matter is dated. I found personal satisfaction applying the themes to our current times and found myself taking notes on the section about "counterfactual Thinking" which is something that affects me greatly.

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By Anonymous User on 10-21-17

Great concept - important learnings for everyone

Loved it. Heavy in information, and was a struggle to absorb while driving. One I'll listen to again, and probably while I can take down notes and learnings

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By Karl on 09-16-16

Very good book, bad first 2 chapters

If you can battle through the first two chapters, the rest of the book is great.

Highly recommended read :)

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