Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lessons in the Art of Choosing

Haley Scholar Reading Groups

We've been having an extended conversations about Sheena Iyengar's The Art of Choosing over the last several weeks. We've covered issues related to cultural background and choice, the science of choosing, informed intuition, values associated with choice, and various other issues. 

What have you learned about the art of choosing, so to speak, that stands out?

Or, what idea from the first half of the book has been especially memorable and why?

14 comments:

Julian Glover said...

The cultural aspect of choosing has been especially interesting to me. In conjunction with reading this book, I have been taking an intercultural communication course and between the two, I have a much better appreciation and understanding for why people make the decisions that they do. Further, I have come to realize that culture (as well as language) shapes everything that we do, the way that we think, and our actions according to what society has deemed appropriate and acceptable.

As i prepare to spend next semester studying overseas, This book has been a helpful guide to understanding distinct differences that I might encounter while in Europe. Not only am i understanding this concept, but i am also coming to understand that it is not good to impose my own views, values, and opinions on someone else. It is best to share my opinions, values, and beliefs with other people and respect whatever beliefs that they have, rather than to try and change them. For to try and change the views of someone else, is not to respect them. We all have to choose what we believe, how we act, and interact with each other and it is little more than just this: a choice.

Rohan Genge said...

I liked part about heuristic and conscious decision making. Some choices are not significant because they lead to the same outcome. I rather focus my conscious efforts on those that are.

The distinctions between collective and individualistic cultures was also interesting. Understanding how the motivations for choice differs between the two cultures leads to a greater acceptance of those who are different from ourselves.

Natalia Habibi said...

The concept of choice as it relates to cultural background has stood out the most to me. Different cultures have different morals which do not always agree with each other. Language and morality tend to sway how people make choices.

I also have a new appreciation for different cultures and how it shapes other people beliefs. I think that I have become more open minded towards things that are unfamiliar to me but this new openness has helped open my eyes to be able to accept people for who they are.

Sherrie Jayne said...

The Art of Choosing has definitely been an interesting read. Sheena Iyengar provides an informative point of view on the subject because of being brought up with traditional eastern influences and then living with western culture. For most of us, we are mixed with a different nationality. I was raised with an Asian mother and American father, so I felt like I could relate with some of Iyengar's statements.

The part that was most memorable to me was her point of view on arranged marriages and how she and statistics seem to favor this eastern culture. With the divorce rate now in our country and our overwhelming choice of free-will, I wonder is it possible to have too much free-will? Or is it to the point where we are too careless with it? Or are we not a stubborn society that does not want the advice of others? With great power, comes great responsibility.

Ralicia Goble-Hawkins said...

The idea that struck me the most is that when we choose, we are actively making a direct impact on the outcomes of our futures. Oftentimes, I feel people make choices at the spur of the moment, disregarding or utterly neglecting the possibilities of both negative and positive consequences.
I was also very intrigued by the various cultures mentioned throughout the book and how they choose to live their way of life. It made me value my own culture and the way I choose as an individual not because I feel my way of life is better, but more because I was intrigued by the fact that someone else might one day read a book explaining why the American Culture is the way it is and why Americans make the choices they make. In short, it caused me to have more value for the sheer diversity that lies within the world of choice.

Bradley Goolsby said...

I've learned alot by reading the Art of Choosing, but out of everything I've read, the idea that stands out the most is the idea of the 'red pill', and how no matter how control in your life it seems you are, the only real options you have are based on the choices you make. You don't have control over the consequences nor the reasons for the choice in the first place, but despite all that, the choices you can make remain constant. This is what was most memorable to me, and what really seemed to 'jump out' at me from the pages.

Jim Engracia said...

I have been really interested in the cultural background and choice. I have had such an influence on others' cultural backgrounds. When I went to the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity over the summer, it has made such an impact on my life in regards to culture. I think it is interesting on how much culture makes a difference. From the city of Chicago to the town of Edwardsville, there alone persists such different cultures and it makes a major difference in decision making.

Jasmine said...

An idea from the Art of Choosing that was very memorable for me was how people with very strict religions seemed to have more control over their lives than people like atheists. I found this idea very interesting because one would think that a person with no rules to follow would have more control over their lives. In reality though, the less rules one has to follow in their religion the more likely they are to be pessimists and feel hopeless in certain situations. Although, people in strict religions have had some choices made for them they still tend to have the better outlook on life and feel as if they have the most control over their lives.

Shakita Hurt said...

What has stood out to me was the issue of values being associted with choice. People are different in many ways and have different values and beliefs. But somehow people's values get altered by soicety's views or what they think is acceptable.They then make a choice that is not of their real belief or usual way of doing things, but based on external factors. People have the choice to decide what they want to eat, what they want to wear, where they want to go, what car they want to drive, and where they want to live. But because their values or decisions are altered by outside ideas, people may choose to buy a car they can't afford just to fit in, or they choose to live off campus because that is suppose to be cool.People want to have the latest fashion and may risk going broke or being in debt just to be on wht they call "the top". People choices are influenced each day by what and who they choose to surround themselves which may define their values. Also, I have learned that culture is very important and peope of all kind should be respected and accepted for who they are.

Jennifer Johnson said...

what stands out to me the most about the art of choosing was the comparisons and contrasts of western and eastern cultures. this stuck out to me the most because it seems that these same subjects (e.g collectivist and individualistic cultures) appeared in almost everyone of my classes. I really appreciated this the most because of my interest in integration and understanding of other cultures

Ashley Jeffers said...

I think what struck me most from the book and has really stirred my thoughts was the aspect of influence of making decisions and choosing based on culture and background. Being Native American and going back to the reservation and visiting my family and friends there, I honestly notice a large difference between they and my family and friends of another culture.

It isn't just the influence of being a different race, though. It's about how the different religions/actions/rituals of the group of the people that influence decision making. It's very eye-opening to have the opportunity to see views from both the American Indian and First Nation Canadian Native point of view when making a choice.

William Roa-Schmitt said...

Heuristics, and how they act as "rules" to aid the decision-making process stood out to me the most. The way we as humans follow these rules everyday without even realizing it is rather intriguing.

More specifically, when Sheena Iyengar discussed the way the way our memory bank works and affects our preferences I found myself more interested. I can actually recall numerous times my choices have been biased due to the "availability" of what I recalled in my memory.

Alexia said...

The topic I found most interesting was the differences between the collectivist and individualist societies. I felt extremely dissappointed to hear the statistics about the maritial happiness between the two cultures. It made me almost wish that I had grown up in a collectivist culture so that maybe by the time I'm 70, I'll be content with my choice in my spouse, or lack there of. It made me feel especially awful knowing that if I do get married, that's basically as happy as we'll get, and it's all downhill from there. Where as if I were in a collectivist society, our happiness would get better as we aged.

Jessica Hickman said...

The Art of Choosing has been a great read. The concept that stands out most to me has to be the aspect of choosing and cultural background. I always knew that your cultural background influences the choices you make but it is also interesting to read the research about it. Every culture is different which means each choice stems from a different background. The choice can be the same but the reason behind it can be totally different.