The Art of Choosing

The Art of Choosing

by Sheena Iyengar
3.8 15


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The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar

Every day we make choices. Coke or Pepsi? Save or spend? Stay or go?

Whether mundane or life-altering, these choices define us and shape our lives. Sheena Iyengar asks the difficult questions about how and why we choose: Is the desire for choice innate or bound by culture? Why do we sometimes choose against our best interests? How much control do we really have over what we choose? Sheena Iyengar's award-winning research reveals that the answers are surprising and profound. In our world of shifting political and cultural forces, technological revolution, and interconnected commerce, our decisions have far-reaching consequences. Use THE ART OF CHOOSING as your companion and guide for the many challenges ahead.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780446504119
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 03/09/2011
Pages: 339
Sales rank: 157,770
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Sheena Iyengar's groundbreaking research on choice has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Security Education Program. She holds degrees from UPenn, The Wharton School of Business, and Stanford University. She is a professor at Columbia University, and a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award. Her work is regularly cited in periodicals as diverse as Fortune and Time magazines, the NYT and the WSJ, and in books such as Blink and The Paradox of Choice.

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The Art of Choosing 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
TheReadingWriter More than 1 year ago
By the time I finished this book I found I wanted to start it all over again. Sometimes I think I may have missed my calling, by not pursuing the field of decision-making. I am so bad at it, and yet I recognize that it is the key to navigating the modern world in the West, where the simplest decisions are rendered ridiculously complex by the plethora of choice. Iyengar covers the waterfront with her examination of choice, from birth to death, and addresses many of the major life choices most of us face in the course of our lives. She recognizes the difficulties each of us face in choosing colleges, spouses, jobs, houses, and discusses them in the context of studies that illuminate the irrationality many of us bring to our own choices. Several times I felt my heart beating a little faster when she began to describe a difficult choice that was facing me now, or one that I had made in the past, but which had left me unhappy. Iyengar suggests that decision-making can be improved by setting constraints on our options, and sticking with them. She describes conversations with artists and jazz musicians in which they claim great invention can be achieved when one sets limits on type of creation one seeks to achieve, and operating within a framework. It is too easy to flail about in a sea of options, but if we set limits for ourselves, we narrow our range, and can be satisfied and happy with choices we have made. As art is created by using objects at hand, so good, even great decisions that make us happy can be achieved within our own limited circumstances. After all, isn't it all really about being as happy and satisfied as possible, rather than miserable in the midst of plenty? A good and thoughtful book that moves me forward with hope. The audio was beautifully read by Orlagh Cassidy.
fantastacy More than 1 year ago
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, March 4, 2010 By Fantastacy "Fantastacy" (NJ United States) - See all my reviews As an American, I take the ability to make my own choices for granted. There are so many options in all aspects of my life. From the moment I wake up, choices are abundant, whether trivial (blue or green sweater today?) or important (which job should I apply for?). Many factors underlie my choices, big and small, and even the number of choices can change how I feel about a decision. In The Art of Choosing, author Sheena Iyengar evaluates just how much choice the average person has, and just how it can affect all of our lives. She considers biopsychosocial and economic factors, advertising, and various other influences to show that a simple decision is not an independent product of our own minds. This book was like brain candy to me. Iyengar studied under Martin Seligman, who is one of my favorite psychologists for his work with positive psychology. Her work is a fine complement to his and expands some of his ideas, proving her to be a reputable force in her own right as a psychologist and author. Iyengar writes of her extensive research on the topic of choice and cites many other notable scientific experiments in a way that makes the findings compelling and completely relatable. There is none of the dry writing reminiscent of grad school in these pages! Nor is it pop-psychology, self-help fluff. All of the content is empirically based, as well as appealing and relevant to everyday life. Just as there is a delicate balance between too little choice and too much choice, Iyengar successfully navigates the balance between scientific and fascinating. I suggested this book to my favorite Positive Psychology professor at my alma mater, and I recommend it to all of you! Also, if you like this book, check out Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman, The Pursuit of Happiness by David G. Meyers (not the same as the book the Will Smith movie was based on), and Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
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PdeW More than 1 year ago
I felt I was reading an essay for a college course in theory. Although, there was little theory expressed - many words, little substance. If anyone were looking for advice on making choices, this is not the place to go. Pardon me, we already know that choices vary from country to country, ethnicicity to ethnicity, cultural upbringing to cultural upbringing. I bought the book thinking it might help my daughter make some determinations. Make a list of pros and cons to help you make choices - oh gosh, how innovative. I would like to say something nice about this book, but I'm sorry, I can't think of a single thing.
AnnieBeeAW More than 1 year ago
Dr Iyengar was able to take seminal research in the area of choice and make it interesting. Don't let the academic feel scare you off, because she is absolutely able to make you think about how you make the little choices everyday as well as the big choices of your life. I could tell by reading that she is a natural researcher and has a great sense of humor.
RolfDobelli More than 1 year ago
Easy choices - like cake or death, as in British comedian Eddie Izzard's famous routine - don't require much thought or study. But almost any other choice invites complications and confusion, a problem social psychologist Sheena Iyengar mines and turns into fascinating reading. In this study of different facets of decision making, she delves into such topics as whether your devotion to Coca-Cola relies on its taste or its ties to Santa Claus, and she touches upon subjects as varied as fashion, rats, jam, arranged marriage, and even the life and death of premature babies. This compelling book (with a beautiful cover) answers questions about decisiveness with intriguing studies, though you may not agree with every conclusion. Perhaps Iyengar could have offered her suggestions for improved, real-life decision making more succinctly, but she provides excellent detail, plus take-home tips for making better choices in the supermarket or the boardroom. Given the fine job she's done combining research with gee-whiz revelations, getAbstract suggests this book to managers, marketers, public relations professionals and all sales executives. To learn more about this book, check out the following link: