“Everything was better back when everything was worse”

Recently I got hooked up on the TED Talks – a series of lectures on a range of topics (going beyond the Technology, Entertainment, and Design subjects suggested by the name of the conference). To me, this is what Internet IS (ok, should be!) about – disseminating knowledge that would otherwise be available to the privileged few. I am posting one of my favorite talks below, but there are so many more intriguing, inspiring topics to explore!

 This one is by Barry Schwartz, a Sociology professor who also wrote a book about “The Paradox of Choice”. He argues that the abundance of choice created in modern industrial societies is not making us better off. On the contrary, it is actually having a negative impact on our lives!

The video is 20 minutes, and I highly recommend you make time to watch it…

Some memorable thoughts from the video: 

  • “Opportunity costs substract from the satisfaction of what we choose, even when what we choose is terrific”
  • “The secret to happiness is low expectations”
  • And the conclusion is this: “There’s no question that some choice is better than none. But it doesn’t follow from that that more choice is better than some choice”.  

It is especially interesting to watch as a (future) marketeer. It is the idea of “choice confusion” which has been raised in the academia, articulated clearly and convincingly. But it is also relevant to someone interested in politics and sustainable development: Barry argues that a global redistribution of wealth would not only help the poor countries, but also the so-called developed world!

And finally, it is a good watch for anyone interested in living a happy balanced life in these crazy times…

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2 Comments

Filed under Inspiration, Marketing, Sustainability, Technology

2 responses to ““Everything was better back when everything was worse”

  1. Mirynka

    Thank you for posting this. I loved when he was talking about the number of choices growing and the question is, “Is this a good thing or bad thing? The answer is Yes!”

    Keep up with uploading cool stuff!

  2. Hehe,
    Thanks Ira! I’ll try to keep the “cool stuff” coming, as long as TEDTalks and others keep supplying it! 😉

    Meanwhile, I just saw an interesting post on the topic of simplicity, abundance of choices, and creativity, as they relate mainly to design. You can read it here: http://www.presentationzen.com/presentationzen/2007/03/can_limitations.html

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