June 2013 Business Book :: The Paradox of Choice Why More is Less by Barry Schwartz

Origin Photo’s June 2013 Business Book:

The Paradox of Choice Why More is Less by Barry Schwartz

I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by it’s cover, but I have to say that first off I LOVE the cover of this book!  It’s so simple and clever — an open egg carton with a dozen eggs, one of them golden!  Kudos to whoever came up with that idea 🙂

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I was also attracted to last month’s business book because of my personal observation that too many choices is debilitating.  In case you’re not sold on the idea that there are way too many choices in our “culture of abundance”, Barry Schwartz reports that there are 22 types of frozen waffles to choose from in the frozen food section of the grocery store.  That’s a lot of frozen waffles!!

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We want to be in control and have options and choices.  Freedom and choice are critical to our well-being.  However, this comes at a cost.  “Having too many choices produces psychological distress, especially when combined with regret, concern about status, adaptation, social comparison and perhaps most important, the desire to have the best of everything – to maximize” (p. 221).

There are two types of decision makers: satisficers and maximizers.  Satisficers have high standards, settle/make a choice and move on.  Maximizers seek and accept only the best.

Too much choice, explains Schwartz, and being a maximizer reduces happiness because your efforts to get the best interferes with your ability to maintain solid relationships (for example).  People who agonize over decisions experience less satisfaction with life even though they are trying so hard to make the right decision so that they can be happy.

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The major lessons learned?

Be grateful and have modest expectations.

I loved Schwartz’s recommendation to keep a daily gratitude journal at your bedside to write down 5 things that you’re grateful for that happened that day.  People who express and experience gratitude are physically healthier, more optimistic about the future, feel better about their lives, more alert, enthusiastic and energetic, and more likely to achieve personal goals.  And it gets easier with practice so start today!

Having modest expectations is keeping wonderful experiences rare so that they don’t loose novelty.  It’s not self-denial, but a way to continue experiencing pleasure.

DSC_3762 copyUp next is a book I’ve been meaning to read for a long, long time: Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People.  If you haven’t read it yet, go grab a copy!


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