John Sequeira


Tuesday, June 24, 2008
The Paradox of Choice

The Paradox of Choice is a book with a thesis that's stuck in my head since I read about it a few years back. Simply put, more choice doesn't necessarily make us happier. The video and book gives some hard-to-dispute examples and data to back this up.

The thought that chases me is how much of technological progress is done in pursuit of choice/options/etc, without, as the book makes clear, accounting for the aggregate tragedy-of-the-commons cost of these options. The paradox is that someone somewhere will benefit (immensely?) from the choices technology produces, and there's no easy way to say when enough is enough.

Should we go back to 4-5 channels of TV? Laughable, right? Is it possible we'd be happier if we did? Hmmmm. That's just one way the book starts messing with your head.

The book repeats the central idea many times ... it's a simple enough that you get it well before the end, but I still found it worthwhile to ponder for the duration of the book. I would suggest that you pick up a copy, but that would only be adding to your reading choices (see how evil it is?)

Quick introduction on 'paradox' by author:

[via Stefano]
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