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The Art of Choosing
By Sheena Iyengar
Read by Orlagh Cassidy

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The Art of Choosing

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The Art of Choosing
By Sheena Iyengar
Read by Orlagh Cassidy
Hachette Audio, (2010)
An Unabridged Recording on 9 CDs
ISBN: 978-1-60024-810-8
Genre: Psychology, Self-Help

Reviewed by Angela Evans - April 12, 2010

What makes people choose the things they choose? Social psychologist Sheena Iyengar answers this intriguing question in her book, The Art of Choosing. In this book she examines the biological imperatives and the internal decision making processes that go into a person making a choice. As well, she also looks into how external factors, ranging from our upbringing to the advertisements we view, contribute to our decision making process.

While her analysis of how and why we make decisions in fascinating, the real purpose of this book is to help us learn why we make the choices that we do, and to use this information in order to make better choices in our lives. Along the way, Iyengar explains why so many of us have made a habit of making bad decisions - even when we know we are making them - and how we can break this self-destructive behavior.

The audio edition of this enlightening book is read by Orlagh Cassidy and it includes a 'special conversation' with the book's author. Iyengar, who is the S. T. Lee Professor of Business at Columbia University and the Research Director at the Jerome A. Chazen Institute of International Business, brings years of experience and research to this book, as well as a clarity of expression in her writing that makes this a truly enjoyable and informative book to listen to. Iyengar, who also happens to be blind (due to retinitis pigmentosa), long ago made the choice not to let her blindness keep her from pursuing - well, anything she wanted. Consequently, this book also has an inspirational side to it that will encourage you to make the right choices for you. This is a book that will surely make you think about your decision making process in a new light, and which will help you to better understand not only how you make choices, but also why it is important to have the opportunity to do so.

Simply put, having all your decisions made for you is bad, very bad, a fact that she drives home by showing what happens to animals in captivity who are deprived of the ability to make choices for themself. By contrast, she also illustrates why having too many choices can also be bad. In short, this is a very thought provoking book, and one which I highly recommend.

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