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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.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
  • Di
  • United States
  • 10-22-10

Impressive

Impressive,
you will get much form this book!
Repetitive? No! Good idea need long talk! always.

7 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Great lessons on choice and happiness.

It makes me think about choices that have made me happy and choices that have just temporarily satisfied me. It causes me to reevaluate my mind set of the things in life that matter.

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I just... Can't get past that narrator

Firstly, this book is well worth your time. Barry Schwartz makes a few very compelling points. That said, this book makes those same points again and again. I feel like it could easily be condensed to a few chapters. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Narrator on the other hand... He is very good at submitting a clear and concise stream of words, but I felt throughout the entire listen like he was deliberately speaking in a sort of condescending tone. He has a way of reading that makes me want to disagree with him even though I totally agree with him. It's as if that school playmate from your childhood, the one who teased you about that school crush, came into adulthood and felt that it was his life's mission to find a mature way to tease; an adult way of teasing. I could have sworn he said "I know you are, but what am I" under his breath throughout this production.

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Enlightening

Made me think about my indecisive nature and why I choose what I do

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Why Choice Is Difficult for Many Today

This book introduces the reader to two types of choosers - maximisers and satisfisers. The first type tries to make the best of all possible choices, whereas the second settles for the first available choice that meets the minimum criteria.

I was pleased to find I am in the second type, since the first type, maximisers are usually under more stress. It was interesting to see how our choices are often framed by clever marketeers, and how we can evaluate and expose their schemes. Don't worry though. You won't go wrong if you choose to read this book.

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Great book

I've read a lot of books on this particular topic, and this is one of the best. I highly recommend it.

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I chose to stop listening

Interesting concept taken too far. Extremely repetitive. Unlike others, I found nothing wrong with the narration. The problem is the material. The preface and first chapters were good. After that, I had to keep skipping ahead hoping to find the next concept. Eventually, I just gave up and deleted the book. Yet another new set of choices in today's world: Audio books.

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Scientific proof that " More is Less"

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I have recommended it to all my family and close friends because I think they would relate to the concepts and find some helpful ideas about how to manage and live in overchoice world.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Paradox of Choice?

...the realization that we are making our children anxious and frazzled with overchoice

Have you listened to any of Ken Kliban’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

no

What did you learn from The Paradox of Choice that you would use in your daily life?

I think much more about putting myself in a situation where there are too many choices. Also I am trying to construct my environment so that there will be fewer "wrong" choices .

Any additional comments?

Great read for perfectionists :)

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Very informative on how choices effect us

Very informative book on how we make choices and how these effect us. Information is based on research which are well summarised. The author gives recommendations on how best to deal with ever more increasing choices leaning toward a style of finding what satisfies our needs.
The book may be best read as paper book easy for reference. However it is well done.

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A good point made excessively.

This would have been an interesting and insightful magazine article, minus most of the the too numerous to count examples.