The Paradox of Choice – Why More Is Less

barry schwartzI first heard Barry Schwartz speak at the GEL conference about his book, “The Paradox of Choice – Why More Is Less“. He talks about how freedom is better, but also worse. How the more options we have the better the final outcome, but the worse the experience. How 175 different types of salad dressings is ridiculous. Is too much choice bad? Does it really numb our thinking and decision making? Does variety mean quality? What’s better, Capability vs Usability. Anyhow, his incredible 1 hour Google lecture can be viewed here. For any of you out there that create consumer products, this is a must watch!

In my opinion, there are the services and products that that I love to have choice in, but then there are a ton of services I wished never had options. Airline tickets, phone plans, health plans, cameras, cars, and the everlasting ordeal of figuring out which movie to watch. A few years back, we’d just watch a movie that came out. Now we look at all the trailers, read a bunch of reviews, dive into their websites, ask friends that have seen it, look at their rankings, look at who’s in it, then finally deciding if the movie is worth watching even though we know everything about the movie now. After all that chaos, we have to figure out how to buy the ticket. Should we buy it early, online, offline, as a group, print the ticket, pick it up, matinée, which theater, etc. Many hours later, our choice is made, which is probably a great decision, but the experience to get there has become a job… So, is choice good? Is thinking about this good, bad? Well, enjoy the video which has several other examples of this paradox!

2 Responses to “The Paradox of Choice – Why More Is Less”

  1. designverb Says:

    […] This somewhat reminds me about the post I made about the paradox of choice. Soon when you want to buy a song, you’ll also be asked in what tempo, which remix, which words, which language, which quality, and which pitch. This is very much comparable to how you use to be able to just buy a pair of jeans, though now you are asked, what kind, what length, ripped, stained, washed, buttoned, zippered, etc. I’ll still debate the question if choice is good or bad, but as far as I know, choice is always going to increase. via paidcontent […]

  2. designverb Says:

    […] How Cool!!! via typotheque (has more pictures and ordering info) Reminds me of Barry Scwartz book “The Paradox of Choice”. I use to own a few pairs of shoes and wore the same one all the time, but after getting a bunch from my shoe design friends, I actually have to think about which shoe to wear now, which is both great and a pain. […]

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