The Paradox of Choice

These are the notes I took when I read a book called ” The Paradox of Choice“. I think the book can be summed in these three things:

1. Focus choice on things that are really important.
2. Acceptance
3. Gratitude

 The Paradox of Choice – What to do about choice

1. Choose when to choose

Decide which choices in our lives really matter and focus our time and energy there, letting many other opportunities pass by.

2. Be a chooser, not a picker

Choosers are people who are able to reflect on what makes a decision important and choose or not choose or create options. They rely on habits, customs, norms, and rules to make some decisions automatic. They use time by choosing their spots and make good use of them.

3. Satisfice more and maximize less

  • Think about occasions in life when you settle, comfortably for “good enough”
  • Scrutinize how you choose in these areas
  • Then apply that strategy more broadly.

 4. Think about the opportunity costs of opportunity costs

  •  Unless you’re truly dissatisfied, stick with what you always buy
  •  Don’t be tempted by “new and improved”
  •  Don’t “scratch” unless there’s an “itch.”
  •  And don’t worry that if you do this, you’ll miss out on all the new things the world has to offer

5. Make your decisions non reversible

  • When a decision is final, we engage in a variety of psychological processes that enhance our feelings about the choice we made relative to the alternatives. If a decision is reversible, we don’t engage these processes to the same degree.
  • Knowing that you’ve made a choice that you will not reverse allows you to pour your energy into improving it.

 6. Practice an “Attitude of Gratitude”

  • Keep a notepad at your bed side.
  • Everyday use the notepad to list five things that happened the day before for which you are grateful for.
  • You would gradually realize that you have a lot to be grateful for on the most ordinary of days also.

7. Regret less

  • Adopt the standards of a satisficer than a maximizer.
  • Reduce the number of options you consider before making a decision
  • Practice gratitude for what is good in a decision than focusing on our disappointments with what is bad.

8. Anticipate adaptation

  • As you buy anything new, acknowledge the thrill won’t be quite the same after two months.
  • Satisfice rather than maximize.
  • Remind yourself of how good things actually are instead of focusing on how they’re less good than they were at first.

 9. Control expectations

  • Reduce the number of options you consider
  • Be a satisficer than a maximizer
  •  Allow for serendipity.

10. Curtail social comparisons

  • Remember that “He who dies with the most toys wins” is a bumper sticker; not wisdom.
  • Focus on what makes you happy, and what gives meaning to your life.

11. Learn to Love Constraints

  • As the number of choices we face increases, freedom of choice eventually become a tyranny of choice
  • Rule following frees up time and attention that can be devoted to thinking about choices and decisions to which rules don’t apply.

One thought on “The Paradox of Choice

  1. Mark says:

    Thank you for posting this. I listened to the audio book and was looking for a concise summary. One might say that I’m grateful to have found this.

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