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A lot of people know this but I was born in the Republic of Georgia,
which was part of the Soviet Union for a long time.
And I remember one of our relatives came to our house once and she was complaining
about having to buy bread...
She said, "There was only one type of bread my entire life,
and I was just at the store and there are a 100 different types now!
I hate this government!
I hate everything now!"
And as a kid I remember thinking, "What the hell is wrong with her,"
but now that I think about it, she did have somewhat of a point.
Of course I don't want to live in a place where I can only buy one type of bread,
but at the same time there are disadvantages to having a 100 different breads to choose from.
And I'm pretty sure you've experienced this yourself,
but sometimes I find myself in a store in front of a 100 different types of bread,
and I waste a lot of time just standing there having no idea what to pick.
This is the paradox of choice. All the different choices
are supposed to make you better off, but they can cause paralysis
and actually make you worse off.
So now that we know what we're dealing with, let's take a look at how we can use this
to sell or buy, or just make ourselves better off.
Let's start with selling, and I like to talk about selling
because a lot of people who watch this have a business or aspire to have one,
but at the same time, we all have to sell something to someone every single day.
Any time you're trying to persuade or convince anyone with anything,
you're selling, so it should be important and useful for everyone
to cultivate the ability to sell.
Alright, so let's take a look at a study very briefly
where they were trying to promote these high-quality jams.
There were two different experiments... In experiment one, they offered 24 samples.
In experiment two, they offered only 6 samples.
So what were the results? Well, the large number of samples attracted more people
but in both cases,
people tasted the same number of jams on average. But what happened when it came to buying?
There was a HUGE difference... Only 3% of the people who were offered 24
jams to sample from went on to buy the jam.
However, 30% of the people who were offered only 6 jams to sample from
went on to buy the jam. That is a huge difference!
Now let's take a look at what some restaurants do...
They offer you a million different items on the menu...
You take a look at the menu, and it's just impossible to pick...
They have successfully paralyzed you, but they also conveniently offer you 5 specials for the day.
And a lot of times,
these specials will never even change.
Now what do you do? Well you've been offered something that's more managable,
you're much more likely to pick from this selection,
and guess how the restaurant benefits from this?
If you guessed that they sell you exactly
what they want with high margins, you're absolutely right.
Let's take a look at another example and make it even more personal.
One of the most frequent things I get asked is,
"Hey, can you please make a reading list of your favorite books..."
And I'll definitely make it at some point, but let's take a look at
what most people's reading list looks like. A lot of authors and mentors have a reading list,
but they literally put like 200 books on it.
Now when you take a look at that, most people are just going to be paralyzed.
There's too much choice, what if you pick the wrong book?
it's really hard to pick, so guess what you're probably going to do?
Not pick anything... And I'm telling you
this is a mistake that people, who are a million times smarter than I am, make all the time.
So keeping the paradox of choice in mind, when I do make the list,
what is it going to look like? It'll probably be about ten or maybe fifteen
of the absolutely best books in my opinion. Now even that is too much,
but considering people will have read half of them
or possibly even more, it'll avoid the paralysis caused by 200 books.
Imagine if you've read 9 out of 10 of the books,
and there's one book that you haven't read. You will most likely pick that book up.
But if there were 200 different books, the decision is too hard to make and
you'd just get paralyzed and probably postpone making the decision.
Now let's talk about how you can use this if you just want to make your life better...
Your number one priority is to avoid paralysis. A few months ago,
I'd get up and I wasn't really sure what I wanted for breakfast.
And the amount of food in my fridge could probably make a 1000 different combinations,
so there were times when I literally spent 20 minutes
figuring out what I was going to have for breakfast.
Now if you add that up over time, not only is it exhausting,
you're wasting a lot of time. So what do I do now when I get up?
Well, I have the same thing almost every morning. There are certain mornings where I don't
and I just screw around and make a mess in the kitchen,
but that's cool because that's what I want to do.
This isn't about not enjoying things. It's about enjoying things even more.
So for most days, I've turned something that wasted energy and
time into something that is super easy,
where I don't have to be paralyzed, and where I can dedicate that time and energy
to things that are more important and enjoyable than figuring out what I'm going to eat for breakfast.
And this is kind of like what Steve Jobs did with wearing the same thing all the time,
which I would personally never do, but if you're as indifferent with your clothes
as I am with what I have for breakfast on a random Wednesday morning,
then this might be a good choice.
So that's it. I hope you take this and apply it to your
particular situation whether it be buying, selling, or just making your life better.
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THE PARADOX OF CHOICE BY BARRY SCHWARTZ | ANIMATED BOOK REVIEW

18797 Folder Collection
Bang Vuthe published on December 12, 2016    Anita Lin translated    Sabrina Hsu reviewed
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