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.
As Americans, 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 counter intuitive 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 those that are important and ignore the rest, and ultimately derive greater satisfaction from the choices you have to make.
|Edition description:||Revised Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Table of Contents
Preface to the New Edition ix
Prologue: The Paradox of Choice: A Road Map 1
Part I When We Choose
Chapter 1 Let's Co Shopping 9
Chapter 2 New Choices 23
Part II How We Choose
Chapter 3 Deciding and Choosing 49
Chapter 4 When Only the Best Will Do 79
Part III Why We Suffer
Chapter 5 Choice and Happiness 103
Chapter 6 Missed Opportunities 121
Chapter 7 "If Only…": The Problem of Regret 151
Chapter 8 Why Decisions Disappoint: The Problem of Adaptation 171
Chapter 9 Why Everything Suffers from Comparison 185
Chapter 10 Whose Fault Is It? Choice, Disappointment, and Depression 205
Part IV What We Can Do
Chapter 11 What to Do About Choice 225