Master the art of choosing

Choice is funny thing. On the face of it, we believe that the more choice we have, the better. That it’s a freedom to be able to choose from a vast array of alternatives and pick what suits us best.

However, when you look a little closer it’s often quite the opposite.

As these two excellent TED Talks demonstrate, choice is something that we must manage.

Although it’s important for us as individuals, there’s also a very strong business case  for managing choice, too.

Simply put, too much choice can inhibit customers from making good decisions, thus impacting a company’s bottom line.

If you’re having trouble viewing either of these videos, you can view Barry Schwartz’s ‘The Paradox of Choice’ here and Sheena Iyengar’s ‘How to make choosing easier’ here.

  • Susan Alexander

    Great post, Gavin.  Thanks for putting these 2 videos in one place.

    As a consumer, I often feel overwhelmed by too much choice – so much so that I’ll avoid it completely (i.e. buy nothing) because that’s what gets me back to simplicity and clarity.

    Whatever’s being offered, it can make all the difference when it’s served up with just those things.  

    Very well presented, Gavin.  Thanks!


    • Gavin Llewellyn

      Hi Susan

      I’m glad you liked the videos. When I first saw them they really made me think about how I make decisions but also from a business point-of-view how I offer choice to customers (e.g. when I work on website layouts my mantra is always ‘less is better’. If there are too many buttons and click-through options the web visitor can get confused and just give up!).

      As a consumer, I often find restaurants can be guilty of offering too much choice. As you said, sometimes it’s better to offer just a few essential options. That way you can decide what you want more easily and (importantly) come back again for another meal!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting 🙂