April 27, 2011

How do we know what we want?

In an era of ever-expanding choices, HOW WE CHOOSE addresses the simple-yet-mystifying question.
The answers are strange, impressive, and profound.  Sheena Iyengar, a Columbia University professor whose work on choice is widely recognized and cited looks into the heart of what we desire– and what we think we desire– to show how tangential factors enter into (and run roughshod) over our decisions.
The Art of Choosing –The Subtext of Life
Social psychologist Iyengar begins her unique and invigorating study of choice by telling the story of a man who survived for 76 days stranded alone in the middle of the ocean. He chose to live, Iyengar tells us, just as she has chosen not to let her blindness keep her from conducting prodigious research and intrepid experiments. Iyengar exponentially expands our understanding of the central role choice plays in the lives of animals and humans in a rapid-fire, many-faceted, and original inquiry that is at once personable and commanding. She explains our “biological need for choice and control,” the decision process, and the myriad influences that dictate everything from purchasing choices to career moves, voting, medical decisions, and marriage.
The daughter of Sikh immigrants from India, Iyengar is particularly astute in her globally significant analysis of the striking differences between how Americans and Asians make decisions. Much of this eye-opening anatomy of choice focuses on consumerism, a lively, revealing arena, but Iyengar’s high-voltage curiosity and penetrating insights are far more valuable when applied to deeper matters of existence.
- Happiness implied a choice, and within that choice a concerted will a lucid desire.
- Fate is not in man but around him
- Albert Camus