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The Art of Choosing

Sheena Iyengar

Top 10 Best Quotes

“What you see determines how you interpret the world, which in turn influences what you expect of the world and how you expect the story of your life to unfold.”

“The great artist Michelangelo claimed that his sculptures were already present in the stone, and all he had to do was carve away everything else. Our understanding of identity is often similar: Beneath the many layers of shoulds and shouldn’ts that cover us, there lies a constant, single, true self that is just waiting to be discovered.”

“A person of “good character” was one who acted in accordance with the expectations of his community”

“Your choices of which clothes to wear or which soda to drink, where you live, which school to attend and what to study, and of course your profession all say something about you, and it’s your job to make sure that they are an accurate reflection of who you really are. But who are you, really? The imperative “Just be yourself!” seems straightforward enough. (What could be easier than being who you already are?) Yet we often end up blinking in its headlights, perhaps frozen in place by the concomitant notion that we might, if we are not careful, turn into someone else. It’s difficult to move forward when each step could move us further away from the “authentic” self, and so we dither.”

“It's easy to assume people are conforming when we witness them all choosing the same option, but when we choose that very option ourselves, we have no shortage of perfectly good reasons for why we just happen to be doing the same thing as those other people; they mindlessly conform, but we mindfully choose. This doesn't mean that we're all conformists in denial. It means that we regularly fail to recognize that others' thoughts and behaviors are just as complex and varied as our own. Rather than being alone in a crowd of sheep, we're all individuals in sheep's clothing.”

“when people are given a moderate number of options (4 to 6) rather than a large number (20 to 30), they are more likely to make a choice, are more confident in their decisions, and are happier with what they choose.”

“Your enjoyment of the chosen options will be diminished by your regret over what you had to give up. In fact, the sum total of the regret over all the “lost” options may end up being greater than your joy over your chosen options, leaving you less satisfied than you would have been if you had had less choice to begin with.”

“we all make assumptions about the world—based on individual experience and cultural background—that affect our judgment of how that balance should look”

“valuing the condition of having options over the quality of the options can sometimes lead to decisions that don’t serve us well.”

“life has a way of poking holes in your plans, or in the plans others make for you”

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