The Art of Choosing: the Subtext of Life
by Sheena Iyengar
Delivered in 3-5 weeks
Format: Hard Cover
8vo. pp. 329, "Choice, perhaps the highest good in the American socioeconomic lexicon, is a very mixed blessing, according to this fascinating study of decision making and its discontents. Psychologist Iyengar cites evidence that a paucity of choice can damage the mental and physical health of dogs, rats, and British civil servants alike. But, she contends, choice can also mislead and burden us: advertising manipulates us through the illusion of choice; a surfeit of choices can paralyze decision making; and some choices, like the decision to withdraw life support from a loved one, are so terrible that we are happier if we delegate them to others. Iyengar draws on everything from the pensées of Albert Camus to The Matrix, but her focus is on the ingenious experiments that psychologists have concocted to explore the vagaries of choice. (In her own experiment, shoppers presented with an assortment of 24 jams were 1/10th as likely to buy some than those who were shown a mere six. ) Iyengar writes in a lucid, catchy style, very much in the Malcolm Gladwell vein of pop psychology¿cum¿social commentary, but with more rigor. The result is a delightful, astonishing take on the pitfalls of making up one's mind."