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Paradox of Choice

paradox.jpg As usual, I get some of my best reading done at 35,000 feet. On the trip I just returned from last night, I read Barry Schwart's The Paradox of Choice- Why More is Less

I'm about 2/3 of the way through it and really like it so far. The basic premise is that, as a culture, we value choice and assume that more choices mean better experiences and outcomes. Yet, the research shows that choice has a downside.

Schwartz backs up his claims with a bevy of research on how people navigate decisions regarding choice- and what effects the decisions have on them. The results are often couterintuitive, showing that having multiple options can actually prevent people from making a decision and in many cases, prevent them from being satisfied with that decision.

The take-home for me was that an increase in choices also increases a person's anxiety about having made the correct one. For some people (what he calls "maximizers"), this anxiety can be crippling.

It provokes lots of thoughts about the choices I make every day- do I copy with crtl+c, right click, or edit menu?

Read it.