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Podcast: The paradox of choice

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Podcast length: 19 minutes 37 Seconds

Podcast Description

This cast from TED 2005, features Barry Schwartz taslking about his then-new book, "The Paradox of Choice".

Presenter Biographies

Barry Schwartz

In his 2004 book The Paradox of Choice , Barry Schwartz tackles one of the great mysteries of modern life: Why is it that societies of great abundance ? where individuals are offered more freedom and choice (personal, professional, material) than ever before ? are now witnessing a near-epidemic of depression? Conventional wisdom tells us that greater choice is for the greater good, but Schwartz argues the opposite: He makes a compelling case that the abundance of choice in today?s western world is actually making us miserable.

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Audio file available? Yes

5.5 MB

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63.3 MB

Podcast viewing notes

This podcast opens on a picture of the book, the presenter starts talking about what he terms the official dogma of all westernised societies. "If we are interested in maximising individual wellbeing, the way to do that is to maximise individual freedom."

The more choice people have ,the more freedom they have, and the presenter questions this. He believes there is now too much choice. The more choice you have, the less freedom you have, because you cannot make up your mind what to choose.

Much of the next 15 minutes can be construed as a rant. Taking example after example of too much choice, in the presenter's opinion. He states repeatedly that things were better with fewer choices.

However, the key point in all of this, reiterated over and over, is that more choice leads to paralysis - people not knowing which option to choose. If you take anything away from this podcast, consider that the less options you throw into your world, the less choice there will be, and for some people at least - notably not the power users - they will be happier.

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