A week ago I finished to read a book called The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less (P.S.). I chose it because I saw the author in a Ted Talk, or maybe someone mentioned it to me. Anyway, L. and I were quite intrigued by the theory behind the book, so he bought it and I read it – as usual. I have to say that I am still thinking about it, now I’ll explain why.
The theory behind the book is that having the choice of products we have now makes our existence more difficult and sad. If I have to buy a shirt, where do I go? There are so many shops out there with so many different types of shirts available in an almost infinte array of colours, prices and shapes that if you are keen on making the perfect choice you go crazy. That’s not just about clothing. The same thing can be applied to insurances, phone companies, cars, restaurants, holidays, anything we can purchase with our money.
On the one hand, I do understand the point that the author makes. It is true, there are too many options. When I go shopping and I want to try something new I almost get scared because there are too many options, therefore I usually stick with the usual. I sometimes think that I would like to try a cream that is produced locally and in small numbers as big companies are spending too much money on advertising. However, when I go to beauty stores and there are too many options it gives me a headache.
On the other hand, though, I found a way to get through my life by not being a perfectionist on what I buy and by sticking to what I like. I do my best to only buy what I need and to get rid of what I don’t use anymore. I go shopping in the same ten stores and I buy the grocery at the local supermarket, I use Amazon to compare prices but I don’t drive myself crazy to get the cheapest deal. This means that when I try something new and I like it, I am rather please with having a choice more. For example, when we moved in this house I absolutely needed to wash some clothes and used the laundry cleanser that was under the sink. It was an emergency and it looked ok. I was surprised at how god it was, it had a marvellous smell of fresh herbs and my clothes were pretty cleaned. The following week I went to the supermarket and bought that same bottle, thinking how lucky I was to have that extra choice.
What I am trying to say is that yes, there are far too many options and sometimes it can feel overwhelming, but having my own rules helps me enjoying it. What I do agree to, though, is how communities are disappearing, we have less and less time for family and friends, we put ourselves first always, no exception and we are less committed to friendships and relationships. I grew up in a big family and still feel a great bound to my sisters, still I have to remember myself to keep in touch with the friends I care about the most. I see couples splitting up after one argument or avoiding serious commitment like if it was hell. I agree with the author on this point, we need some rules and we need to cultivate relationships to live a better, happier life.
Let me know if you’ve read it and what are your thoughts about it!