Barry Schwartz: The paradox of choice

Psychologist Barry Schwartz takes aim at a central belief of western societies: that freedom of choice leads to personal happiness. In Schwartz’s estimation, all that choice is making us miserable. We set unreasonably high expectations, question our choices before we even make them, and blame our failures entirely on ourselves. His relatable examples, from consumer products (jeans, TVs, salad dressings) to lifestyle choices (where to live, what job to take, whom and when to marry), underscore this central point: Too many choices undermine happiness.

(Considering I am currently struggling with the decision of what logo to chose for my swissmiss redesign, I can relate with his paralysis theory on a ‘design level’. And yes, I keep telling myself, it doesn’t matter. )

Why is he wearing shorts for a TED talk?

5 Comments leave a comment below

  1. the day a designer thinks that their logo doesn’t matter, is the day they have truly become miserable!

  2. BenW: I was referring to an older blog post/ a Milton Glaser quote , when I said “It doesn’t Matter”. Here:

    http://swissmiss.typepad.com/weblog/2007/08/it-doesnt-matte.html

  3. Shorts = poor choice.

  4. “Why is he wearing shorts for a TED talk?”

    Maybe he only buys shorts and as a result of fewer fashion options… he’s happier? Just a guess.

    But for the best presentation/fashion statement at TED you should check out Hans Rosling’s “New insights on poverty and life around the work.”
    http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/140

    Compelling, some of the best informational graphics I’ve seen and a show-stopper of a conclusion to his lecture.

  5. After seeing this TED Talk and reading some articles at this site, I click to subscribe in Firefox.

    The popup menu:
    * Atom
    * RSS 1.0
    * RSS 2.0

    Too much choice? Probably, though I chose Atom.

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