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The Paradox of Choice - Barry Schwartz

This is one of my all-time favorite books.

I only read it once, about 15 years ago, but it stuck with me ever since. Re-reading it now, I think it’s even more important - our world has only gotten more full of choice, and the resulting burden on us is heavier than ever.

The point of the book is simple, but there is a lot of psychological research to back it up. The author writes very clearly, hardly academic at all, and it is completely accessible to lay readers.

There are few books that have changed my life for the better as much as this one. I have lived by the recommendations in this book, and I see people everywhere who are trapped in the paradox of choice.

I think everyone should read this book. Not only can it help us live better lives ourselves, but also design a better world in general. Entire economies are maximizing the negative effects of choice, and our “improving” technologies only exacerbate the problem.

This book was written before social media, and if you add that in, it is easy to see how we are being crushed by this paradox of choice. Our time and our psychological health is being stolen from us.

I consider this mandatory reading.