About the Book:


An Apple Store customer asks for the latest iPhone in black but suddenly changes his preference to white when he sees the choices others are making. A resident of a former communist country is offered a fizzy drink from a wide selection but picks at random; soda is soda, he says. Though the child knows she shouldn’t press the big red button (absolutely not!), she finds her hand inching forward. A young man and woman decide to marry — knowing that the first time they meet will be on their wedding day.    

How did these people make their choices? How do any of us make ours? Choice is a powerful tool to define ourselves and mold our lives — but what do we know about the wants, motivations, biases, and influences that aid or hinder our endeavors?    

In The Art of Choosing, Columbia University professor Sheena Iyengar, a leading expert on choice, sets herself the Herculean task of helping us become better choosers. She asks fascinating questions: Is the desire for choice innate or created by culture? Why do we sometimes choose against our best interests? How much control do we really have over what we choose? Ultimately, she offers unexpected and profound answers, drawn from her award-winning, discipline-spanning research.    

Here you’ll learn about the complex relationship between choice and freedom, and why one doesn’t always go with the other. You?ll see that too much choice can overwhelm us, leading to unpleasant experiences, from “TiVo guilt” over unwatched TV programs to confusion over health insurance plans. Perhaps most important, you’ll discover how our choices — both mundane and momentous — are shaped by many different forces, visible and invisible. This remarkable book illuminates the joys and challenges of choosing, showing us how we build our lives, one choice at a time.    

“No one asks better questions, or comes up with more intriguing answers.”
–Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers    


My Review:

“‘Choice,’ perhaps the highest good in the American socioeconomic lexicon, is a very mixed blessing, according to this fascinating study of decision making and its discontents. This book covers everything (culture, environment, politics, economy, psychology, religion, history etc) that affects choices. It covers all types of choices from big to small. Everything written in this book is supported by first hand research by the Author herself or someone else Author is able to quote clearly.    

Did you know that the U.S.A. is the place where choice is valued most highly? In Japan, for instance, people are far more likely to be told where to work and what to wear. Sheena’s parents (both Sikhs) had an arranged marriage in India, and there are pictures of the wedding day (I am not surprised by this, I had an arranged marriage too :))    

Examples like this proliferate through the book. The new CEO of Coca-Cola in the 1980s had a problem with his senior vice-presidents who thought the company was doing well because they had 45 percent of the soft drink market. He asked them, “What proportion of the liquid market – not just the soft drink market – do we have?” That turned out to be only two percent. The resulting change in the world view of the company led Coca-Cola to increase sales revenue by thirty-five times in just over ten years.

Supermarket in San Francisco. The store was known for its huge selection of every kind of food and food product it offered – 20,000 bottles of wine, 150 kinds of vinegar, and 3,000 cookbooks. Sheena wondered whether the choice was too great so she set up a sample Wilkins Jam taste station which offered either twenty-four or six samples. Anyone who sampled was given a dollar-off coupon for any flavor of the jam.Draeger’sThe most famous of Sheena’s experiment was the 1995 Jam study. To the surprise of most people, those who sampled one of the six samples of jam were six times more likely to buy jam than those who tried one of the twenty-four flavors (the six samples were included in the twenty-four). So it seems that there is such a thing as “too much choice.”   


In the final chapter Sheena discusses choice when the options are limited and either one is bad. Do you take the operation that runs the risk of a five percent chance of dying, or stay with your illness even though it will kill you in the end? There are plenty more mind-challenging things throughout the book.   


This book far exceeded my own expectations, and I’m sure it will do the same for you. When you consider that Sheena is blind, I find amazing that she’s managed to do all this with her life, and write about it as well. So be artful and choose this book. You won’t regret it.    


Thanks Valerie @ Hachett for this wonderful book to read and review..    


About Author:    

Sheena Iyengar’s groundbreaking research on choice has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Security Education Program. She holds degrees from UPenn, The Wharton School of Business, and Stanford University. She is a professor at Columbia University, and a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award. Her work is regularly cited in periodicals as diverse as Fortune and Time magazines, the NYT and the WSJ, in books such as Blink and The Paradox of Choice.
The Giveaway:    


 Hachette has allowed me to giveaway 5 copies!    


Make a comment why you want to read this book.    

-Leave an email,  so I have a way to contact you if you win.    

-NO P.O. Boxes
-Only Residents of U.S. and Canada are eligible (sorry!)
– Check back next Wednesday.. I will put up the winners name and contact you via email too 🙂


Product Details:

Iyengar, Sheena
Choice (psychology)
Cognitive Psychology
Motivational & Inspirational
Publication Date:
March 2010