Monday, June 25, 2012

MBR: The Paradox of Choice: Why more is less by Barry Schwartz

I decided I was going to read a book a week for a year, here's a quick review of this week's book.  You can see the ongoing list here.

Basic Info

The Paradox Of Choice: Why More Is Less by Barry Schwartz

Why I read it

It's been lingering on my "to read" list since I finished my Master's Degree 5 years ago.

How it connects to the Public Sector

At its core, this book is about the difference between maximizers (I need the best) and satisficers (I'll take good enough).

Upon reading it, I immediately scribbled down that this dichotomy has profound implications for public policy decisions.

What I got out of reading it

It's my view that public sector organizations tend towards maximization not satisficing, as such they (and those who work within them) tend to insist on the best possible choice rather than pursuing an acceptable alternative. However, as Schwartz points out, this leads to organizations failing to properly account for opportunity costs, paralysis by analysis, and/or being less satisfied with decisions overall. It's also why we tend to attach arbitrary value to things that are otherwise lack value. 

The Paradox Of Choice is probably the second best book I've tackled so far, just a hair behind Dan Pink's A Whole New Mind, grab a copy, you won't be disappointed.

Originally published by Nick Charney at
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