Monday, July 03, 2006

Choice: productive(?) but unhappy

Doing my standard breadth-first-search of people's blogs (omitting links of little interest), I ran across the Simplessity blog (via Nadyne via Brian Johnson). The particular article linked from the title is about a presentation by Barry Schwartz about how as the number of choices goes to infinity, the productivity (of maximizers at least) goes up, but happiness (in general) goes down. Facinating. This probably explains why people end up being paralysed when faced with the number of options our products support (assuming they actually are aware of them). ("How best to format this document? Oh, crap, that was the wrong way." Even if it was the right way.)

I really like the idea of Libertarian Paternalism.

3 comments:

Kristen said...

I read an interesting book a few years back on the topic of too many choices by Barry Schwarz which probably posits a similar idea. The book is called "The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less" and in it he talks about this overwhelmingness of choices. The supermarket is a great example of that. I mean really, how many different kinds of toothpaste can one possibly need before the decision just becomes ridiculous?

Nathan Herring said...

Kristen: Same Barry Schwartz. He's presenting on topics covered in his book.

Kristen said...

Funny, I read your post and then went and looked up the book. Didn't realize it was the same guy. I'm dumb. And sheepish.
Clearly I need to take my attention pills for the day....