So much of the “consumer” oriented literature tries to convince us that more choice is better. However, if you’ve ever been overwhelmed by choice at the grocery store or in other arenas of life, this book is for you. How many types of shampoo, cookies, or soda pop do we really need? Of course the operational word in not “need,” nor, often enough is it “want.” I recall my first visit to a US grocery store after returning from Nepal; the overwhelming abundance of consumer products seemed so ridiculous and unnecessary. The experienced reinforced the incredible inequities in the world. So it was refreshing to read Prof. Schwartz’s book The Paradox of Choice: Why more is less. Backed by extensive research (presented in easily digested stories), Schwartz provides perspective on the topic of whether more choice is what we need. With respect to the health care debate, more choice is NOT what consumers want when they don’t have the tools or information to sort through the options.
Find out whether you are a satisficer or a maximizer and what that means for your role as a consumer of services and goods, and the implications for your mental health and perspective on life. Which are you and what about your partner or spouse? True confessions: I’m a satisficer and I no longer feel any guilt when settling for “good enough.”
Although research-based, the book was written for the general public and sure helps put some perspective on our complicated world. Check it out at your local library.