Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Got Choice?

Choice is the only tool we have that enables us to go 
from who we are today to who we want to be tomorrow.
~ Sheena S. Iyengar

We in the United States like having choices. Having the right to choose, we might even say, is essential to our native narrative. Not so people elsewhere in the world.

Fascinated by the literal business of choice, its complexities, and its cultural and geographic underpinnings, Columbia University professor Sheena Iyengar and her team at the university's business school travel the world to study how people make choices.

In the first video below, Iyengar discusses The Art of Choosing (Twelve, March 2010), her well-received book on the topic. (An excerpt from the book is here.)

In the second video, Iyengar presents in an 18-minute talk some of her research on how choices are made and what choices can tell us about our assumptions, motivations, biases, and influences.



Iyengar's multi-part presentation at the Third Annual Conference on Law and Mind Sciences (March 2009), which includes the results of her now famous "jam study", also is available on YouTube: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4. Also worth your time is Iyengar's very interesting radio interview. Other radio interviews are found here (scroll to bottom of page).

10 comments:

Kathleen said...

Fascinating! Thank you for this, and for all the amazing things you write and share.

S. Etole said...

and some of our choices can mean the difference between life or death ...

Manolo said...

Thanks for sharing Maureen, this is absolutely awesome. I need to read this book!

katdish said...

So glad I took the time to watch those videos. Fascinating.

There is great freedom in the ability to choose, but it can be so overwhelming. Something as simple as a menu with too many choices can stress me out because what if I choose wrong? Silly, I know. But I wonder how much time is wasted mulling over all the choices we have for things that really don't matter.

Brian Miller said...

nice. i need to come back and watch the second one...only so much time on lunch...but the choices we make will determine where we get in life and without a framework, it can be far from where we thought...

KB said...

Choice piece. Choice is slang for really good where I come from.

L.L. Barkat said...

I love that book cover. Going to put it on hold at the library right now. :)

n. davis rosback said...

apples and oranges...

got through the first vid...

Deborah Barlow said...

Iyengar's work has had a very deep impact on my thinking. Several of her stories are favorite examples for me of how deeply cultural and personal choices actually are. Thanks for pulling this together in one spot, and I hope we hear more from her in the future.

A. Jay Adler said...

I suppose it was a kind of serendipitous unconscious choice that led me back to complete my viewing of this post on a day that I posted a long account of a very significant choice in my own life. It seems there are choices, too, in how we do the choosing.