BY SHEENA LYENGAR
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.
LIFE IS FULL OF CHOICES. HOW DO WE MAKE THEM?
An Apple Store customer asks for the latest iPhone in black but suddenly changes his preference to white when he sees the choices others are making. A resident of a former communist country is offered a fizzy drink from a wide selection but picks at random; soda is soda, he says. Though the child knows she shouldn't press the big red button (absolutely not!), she finds her hand inching forward. A young man and woman decide to marry -- knowing that the first time they meet will be on their wedding day.
How did these people make their choices? How do any of us make ours? Choice is a powerful tool to define ourselves and mold our lives -- but what do we know about the wants, motivations, biases, and influences that aid or hinder our endeavors?
In The Art of Choosing, Columbia University professor Sheena Iyengar, a leading expert on choice, sets herself the Herculean task of helping us become better choosers. She asks fascinating questions: Is the desire for choice innate or created by culture? Why do we sometimes choose against our best interests? How much control do we really have over what we choose? Ultimately, she offers unexpected and profound answers, drawn from her award-winning, discipline-spanning research.
Here you'll learn about the complex relationship between choice and freedom, and why one doesn't always go with the other. You?ll see that too much choice can overwhelm us, leading to unpleasant experiences, from "TiVo guilt" over unwatched TV programs to confusion over health insurance plans. Perhaps most important, you'll discover how our choices -- both mundane and momentous -- are shaped by many different forces, visible and invisible. This remarkable book illuminates the joys and challenges of choosing, showing us how we build our lives, one choice at a time.
Sheena Iyengar's groundbreaking research on choice has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Security Education Program. She holds degrees from UPenn, The Wharton School of Business, and Stanford University. She is a professor at Columbia University, and a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award. Her work is regularly cited in periodicals as diverse as Fortune and Time magazines, the NYT and the WSJ, in books such as Blink and The Paradox of Choice.
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THE ART OF CHOOSING by Sheena Lyenga is a book that is incredibly filled with amazing facts and perceptiveness throughout. The author reveals scientific studies of what the reasons are that people act as we do and why we often make life changing choices. Certainly by making this information easy to comprehend for the reader is remarkable in itself. Using her surveys and research to relate this information in a very easily understood manner is a brilliant endeavor. She explains how apparently random actions and outside influences are what led her to be so interested in making choices.
All this for me was made even more interesting when I thought about the amount of research that Ms. Lyenga must have done to write this book. Not that she would have mentioned this if she was writing this review, but through my research, I found that Sheena Lyenga was diagnosed at the age of three with a very rare form of retinitis pigmentosa which is an inherited disease causing retina degeneration. By the time she was in about 6th grade, she had lost the ability to read and by her junior year in high school, she lost her sight entirely. She could still distinguish light from dark and of course, was being taught in different ways to accommodate her exceptionality. Add to this the fact that her father died suddenly when she was only thirteen, and I was even more impressed with the strength and determination of this woman. I read her book with immense interest because of the fascinating topic but also with enormous respect for her accomplishments.
The book gives many details and examples of how and why we make choices. This book includes basic knowledge that will enable one to see things in their own life differently and encourage you to take time when you are making decisions. Consider all your options when making choices. It also will help you to see why others make the decisions that they do and give you a background in how to handle certain experiences in both your life and social circles. What I honestly thought might be a “ho-hum” book, turned out to be quite valuable as well as fascinating reading.
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