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The Choices Worth Having Barry Schwartz June, 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "The Choices Worth Having Barry Schwartz June, 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Choices Worth Having Barry Schwartz June, 2009

2 The “Official Syllogism” More freedom means more well being More choice means more freedom More choice means more well being

3 Consumer Choice

4 Health care: “Patient autonomy” Direct marketing of drugs

5 Work

6 Liberal arts curriculum

7 Close relationships

8 Identity

9 Is this good news or bad news? YES!

10 What Too Much Choice Does: Paralysis Buying jam 401(k) investing

11 What Too Much Choice Does: Satisfaction Regret and anticipated regret Opportunity costs

12 Offer participants $2 or a good pen: 75% choose pen Offer participants $2, or 1 good pen, or 2 cheaper pens: 45% choose either pen

13 Everything Suffers from Comparison

14 Opportunity Costs and College Graduates

15 From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet, and another fig was a brilliant professor…and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America…and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet. —Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

16 What Too Much Choice Does: Satisfaction Regret and anticipated regret Opportunity costs Escalation of expectations

17 What Too Much Choice Does: Satisfaction Regret and anticipated regret Opportunity costs Escalation of expectations Self blame

18 Maximizing and Satisficing

19 Correlates of Maximization Negative Happiness Optimism Satisfaction with life Self esteem Positive Regret Perfectionism Depression

20 Career Decisions of College Seniors (Iyengar, Wells, & Schwartz, Psych Science, 2006) 1. Difficulty of decision 2. How they did 3. How they felt

21 Maximizers Consider more jobs Want more options Get $7K more in starting salary

22 Maximizers are... More: Pessimistic Anxious Stressed Worried Tired Overwhelmed Depressed Regretful Disappointed Less: Content Optimistic Elated Excited Happy

23 How Choice Can Be Good and Bad

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27 The Choices Worth Having Practical Wisdom and the Remoralization of Professional Life

28 Plan of Discussion Why we can’t do without virtue Practical wisdom is the key virtue Nonetheless, we’re waging a war on wisdom But there are sources of hope

29 Hospital Janitor: Characteristic Duties Shampoo Carpet Clean Upholstery Operate Cleaning Equipment Strip and Wax Floors Sweep, Salt, or Shovel Entrance Clean Grounds and Area Unplug Commodes, Urinals, and Drains Mop Dispose of Soiled Linen Vacuum Clean and Wax Furniture Clean Windows and Mirrors Clean Toilets Stock Restrooms Dust Blinds Clean Bedside Equipment Make Beds Collect Waste Replace Light Bulbs Rearrange Furniture

30 Practical Wisdom: Moral Skill Plus Moral Will

31 A Wise Person Knows when and how to make the exception to every rule Knows when and how to improvise: Wisdom is “moral jazz.” Knows to use these moral skills in pursuit of the right aims Is made and not born

32 Rules and the War on Moral Skill “Lemonade” Scripted, lock-step curricula

33 Script for Day 53 Reading and enjoying literature/words with “b” “The Bath” Assemble students on the rug or reading area... Give students a warning about the dangers of hot water...Say, “Listen very quietly as I read the story.”...Say, “Think of other pictures that make the same sound as the sound bath begins with.”... TITLE: TEXT: LECTURE:

34 Rules and the War on Moral Skill Judge Forer and mandatory, minimum sentences Doctors and “patient autonomy”

35 Incentives and the War on Moral Will Day care in Israel Nuclear waste dumps in Switzerland

36 Incentives and the War on Moral Will Teaching kids on the “bubble” Our current financial crisis

37 “We must ask, not just is it profitable, but is it right.” —Barack Obama ( )

38 Remoralizing Work

39 Meaning and Engagement in Work: “Jobs,” “Careers,” and “Callings” (Wrzesniewski, McCauley, Rozin, & Schwartz, Journal of Research in Personality, 1997)

40 Job Work for pay Necessity of life Would stop in a minute Would do something else if given a chance Anticipates weekends Eager to retire Wouldn’t encourage friends or kids

41 Career Enjoys work Expects to move on to something better Goals for future trajectory Can’t wait to get a promotion

42 Calling Work is one of the most important parts of life Pleased to be in this line of work Work is a vital part of identity Takes work home and on vacations Friends are from the workplace Belongs to several organizations and clubs relating to the work Work makes the world a better place Encourage friends and children to do this work Not particularly looking forward to retirement

43 What Job Orientation Affects Job performance Job satisfaction Life satisfaction Physical health

44 What Creating a “Calling” Requires A sense of organizational purpose A sense of partnership A large degree of discretion and autonomy

45 How to Remoralize Work Make work a calling Celebrate moral exemplars Embody wisdom in everyday practices Nurture wisdom in the people you supervise

46 What Really Makes People Happy Love and Work (Freud)

47 What Positive Psychology Tells Us to Do Identify “signature strengths” Develop them The more developed they are, the better

48 Aristotle’s View You need all the virtues More is not always better than less: the “mean”

49 The “Mean” between… Prudence and bravery Loyalty and authenticity Leadership and humility Open-mindedness and loyalty Honesty and kindness

50 Aristotle’s View You need all the virtues More is not always better than less: the “mean” Practical wisdom is the “master virtue”

51 Why You Need Practical Wisdom Relevance Conflict Specificity

52 “One can not love humanity; one can only love people.” —Graham Greene

53 Two Key Things about Love and Work Both require choice (these are the choices worth having) Both constrain choice


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