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How We Choose The Subtext of Life MOBI µ Choose The

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


10 thoughts on “How We Choose The Subtext of Life

  1. says:

    I had to read this non fiction book quite slowly over the course of a month annoying friends and colleagues by citing Iyengar's studies as they attempted to choose items off a menu though even this slow pace wasn't long enough to really make the information stick in my brainIyengar presents a rather overwhelming amount of information on her enormous and fascinating topic mostly in the form of psychology experiments about how people choose things and make decisions both trivial and life or deaththese experiments on far flung subjects are glued together by her own analysis antecdotes and musings So much material was presented on so many aspects of choice that I felt its significance continually slipping from my grasp Because of the sheer scope of the topic and the sometimes contradictory conclusions that the studies showed it was tricky as a non psychologist to synthesize the material into a coherent outline In a few instances does the book have a take home message that was easy enough to hang on to and those bits were the most interesting to me especially in the discussion of situations where one is presented with so many choices for example in health care plans or retirement investments that one gives up or procrastinates and decides not to choose at all thereby making the worst possible choice Taken to its logical conclusion the art of choosing starts with the selection of strawberry jam over rasperry but expands to cover the whole act of making life decisions or not making decisions and inevitably lands on the eternal question of when and whether to assign life's twists and turns to chance fate or choice In this way it felt like a timely book to read when every street corner in my town is plastered with Credit Suisse adverts proclaiming Erfolg ist die Summe richtige Entscheidungen Success is the summation of a series of correct decisions Iyengar points out in her own way that this is sometimes the case and sometimes not Sometimes for example it can even be far better to have someone else make choices for you chapter on doctors making difficult medical decisions and effect on guilt griefThe ending dips its toe into a big pool of philosophical questionsmaybe she had no choice but to go there but I find these big questions are elegantly dealt with in fiction or straight up philosophyLiving in a time where a huge number of choices present themselves and a country where everyone likes to be or at least consult with an expert on every choice and feeling occasionally overwhelmed by this I appreciated the following sentence from the book To begin with we have to change our attitudes toward choice recognizing that it is not an unconditional good We must respect the constraints on our cognitive abilities and resources that prevent us from fully exploring complex choices and stop blaming ourselves for not finding the very best option every time There is alot of worthwhile information in the book and I highly recommend reading it despite the 3 star rating Iyengar is a sympathetic funny and insightful writer and thinker It's just that it may make your head spin a littleand bring about unwanted bouts of commentary at resteraunts


  2. says:

    Here are a few lines from the wiki profile of the author Sheena Iyengar was born in Toronto Canada in 1969 Her parents had emigrated there from Delhi IndiaWhen Iyengar was three years old she was diagnosed with a rare form of retinitis pigmentosa an inherited disease of retinal degeneration By 6th grade Iyengar had lost the ability to read and by 11th grade she had lost her sight entirely and could only perceive light Iyengar’s life had also taken another turn in high school when she was 13 her father died of a heart attack I found the above fact very intriguing and it played a part in making me finally picking up the book The thing that I remember most from the book is a passage where she has written about a general person's personality traits and behaviors While reading this passage I got the feel as if it has been written exclusively for me and as if she is talking about my very own personality A little spooky huh?This will be an extremely eventful ride for everyone especially those who have not already read any of the behavioral gurus like Gladwell Ariely or Tim Harford


  3. says:

    35 stars Pretty interesting I liked the three major areas the author concentrated on a culture plays a part in how we see choice in our daily lives b too much choice isn't good c sometimes we actually would prefer is someone else made a choice where the stakes are really highI did learn a few things from this book though a few were self explanatory And though Sheena Iyengar did open with a discussion of how choice is perceived throughout different cultures she did not go into any great detail about how gender class economic status and race might also play into how choice is perceived and made This is probably for the best as there was already a copious amount of information in this book


  4. says:

    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 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 has left me unhappyIyengar 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


  5. says:

    Okay so I'm probably starting out with a spoiler but Sheela Iyengar is the person who conducted the jam study that jam study In books about choice this is like being Keith Richards For those of you unfamiliar the jam study took place in a super market 20 kinds of jams on display to taste people were less likely to buy a jam than 7 kinds of display The magic number is 7 or 2 not coincidentally like how many items we can keep in our short term memory Iyengar unlike some other authors in this genre is a big fan of choice but points out that we need to manage the ways and places that we make choices Sometimes people are much happier with choice and control older people in a rest home choosing a plan and then choosing to take care of it live longer and sometimes people struggle with choice parents having to decide whether to continue life support for their babies suffer depression under the pressure Not as well written I think as Paradox but still a page turner If you so choose


  6. says:

    Interesting little book that really makes its readers think about what they choose whether it's their purchases their friends or even the simple act of saying yes or no


  7. says:

    This book discusses some research by the author and others about how we make choices and how having too many choices can lead to difficult decision making But it's interesting that the author chooses to ignore all the existing research that contradicts the point she is trying to makeTake for example her jam study where people offered 6 varieties of jam samples were much likely to buy jam in a store than those offered 24 different samples The author is well aware that other researchers have replicated this study and found no effect There was even a recent paper published with a meta analysis of about 50 similar studies They found many instances where having options to choose from made decision making easier But they also found many studies with the complete opposite conclusion and in a good number of studies there was no effect at all The average effect over all of the studies was nearly zero It seems to me that the interesting research question would therefore be about what conditions led to the different results of these studies why are options better in certain cases while fewer options are better in others Even if the author disagrees with those contradictory results they should have at least been mentioned Instead the author specifically states on page 190 without any footnotes or references to research that other similar studies consistently come up with the same results as the jam study This is not trueAnother thing that bothers me about this book and this type of research is the tendency of some people to interpret these results as an argument in favor of government restriction of choices The claim is that people will be happier if they have fewer choices thus the government should either limit our choices directly or redistribute income so that eventually less is produced and we have fewer available options The author doesn't explicitly advocate this interpretation though so I shouldn't blame her for the idiocy of othersThough I disagreed with some of the conclusions this was still a thought provoking book and I would recommend it to others


  8. says:

    Outstanding and prolific amazing book by an awesome authorWe do the same thing in our lives embracing information that supports what we already prefer or vindicates choices we made After all it feels better to justify our opinions rather than challenge them my pick of the quotes from the bookThe Introduction is warm and amiable you get to picture a little bit of the writer's life and character events in her past which then shaped her life and including the project of this book when you read how she believed that everything was written to the point she was helpless and thought she couldn't have a choice or make a change it all link with the post chaptersI loved the stories about the survivors and how people underestimate their abilities to endure pressure and struggle also the big impact religions and faiths have on their followers including positive and negative effectsOne unique thing about the book is the journey of its writer around the world like India Spain Germany and Japan I liked the tea and sugar story that was hilariousBest thing overall about this book is its psychological and philosophical studies which teach you one thing or two about how people think and interpret others actions or impressions I learned that its not just about me being awake in a crowd of sheep I've learned that others also have deep thoughts and complex ideas and choices that varyWhy 4 stars? because both the book and its writer have influenced me in so many ways touching stories and being an eye opener for a lot of stuff that happens around us I learned about what they call reactance in psychology and also our right to chooseI'm not going to spoil it I'll leave you to read the book for yourself


  9. says:

    Effectively written takes the issue of choice from various perspectives cultural psychological evolutionary and business The beginning and the final chapters were the best the book really takes off after she describes her Menlo Park jam experiment In general the coolest parts of the book involved her description and distillation of important psychological experiments which involve the subject of choiceOne aspect of choice she may consider deeply is how our morality affects decision making She alludes to cases where people must make difficult better of two evils choices but she does not account for choosers' internal thought processes in these casesIn general Iyengar packs in many thinking points over which to ponder


  10. says:

    I came across this book by accident so it wasn't a choice by adding it on my toread list The I read the it reminded me of a book I read last year Willpower by mr Baumeister and I liked that book a lot The Art of Choosing is a pleasant read full of stories and weird psychologicalsocial experiments done in very different domains and it keeps on entertaining that way The only downside I can think of is that it's not a ver practical book don't expect to learn the 3 rules of thumb to make any choice in life easier You will however gain a little bit of insight on how choosing works and why we feel good or bad after the choosing process The sheer scope of the book does make it very difficult to gain an overview on what you've actually read After finishing it and taking some notes during my read I now can safely say that I don't have any clue on what to remember except that it was a very good book