From varieties of toothpaste to investment options, we have all experienced the paralysis that can come with too many choices. In The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz synthesizes a wealth of social science research to show us in clear language exactly why this is so, and at what point an overabundance of options becomes restrictive rather than liberating.
He distinguishes between the “maximizer” who seeks optimal satisfaction from each choice, and the “satisficer” who has standards, but is not preoccupied with what he or she might be missing. In every choice we make, it is our profound anxiety over possible missed opportunities that leads to the depression and loneliness associated with too much choice. Yet the real lesson is how less choice can bring greater fulfillment and be key in living your best life. Schwartz helps us understand how we make choices, and to think through practical ways of reining in choices to a manageable number.