Haley Scholars Fall 2012 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?
The idea that stood out the most to me was in the first reading we were assigned: Chapter 2. In this chapter, the author discusses a traditional Indian wedding. Not only does the author discuss this but, she discusses the difference between individual cultures versus collectivist cultures.
I found this interesting, because it gave me a greater understanding of how people’s cultures affect their actions in everyday life. In collectivist societies are taught to be happy only after the entire group’s needs are met. However, more individualistic cultures like that of the U.S. are taught each person determines their own amount of success in life; this gave me a new perspective about American society as a whole.
The idea that stood out to me the most can be found in Chapter 2. In this chapter it opens with the author talking about to to Indian people were getting ready to get married. They did not have any say in their wedding plans, let alone who they even married.
This was interesting to me because in America we are allowed to pick who we marry and plan our own wedding. This story is what connected me to the title of the book because in this chapter it talks about how some people's choices are determined by the culture that they are from. This chapter made me even more thankful because I sometimes take for granted the freedom I have to make my own choice. I have the ability to choose who I want to marry while in some cultures people do not have say. I enjoyed Chapter two so far the most.
Lyengar’s discussion of how our choices are often manipulated was especially memorable. I am definitely a “victim” of brand names so when I do shop and buy, I tend to think I am buying the brand and the product, when I am actually only receiving the item. The fact that I allow myself to be manipulated by something as simple as a name on a product is one significant aspect that The Art of Choosing has shed light on. I particularly enjoy how the text has caused me to reevaluate my everyday life. Choices that I believe I am making, or have made, have not been made on my own accord; they are decisions shaped and influenced by culture.
The idea that stuck out most to was the idea about peoples cultural background. This was interesting to me because SIUe is such a culturally diverse school. Reading this reminded me of how we try to make all the students see different cultures to try to understand different people because everyone has their own beliefs and other things and learning about them could help resolve a lot of issues. I also liked the idea about intuition because that was something that i had not heard too much about other than from what my grandmother would tell me but these are the two ideas i found the most interesting.
Cultural diversity, the collectivist culture vs an individualistic culture, is being highly touched on in my 300 and 400 level business classes. Mostly in the vein of detailing how flat the international business world is becoming. Not only are we dealing with Multi-National Corporations, but our domestic corporations are becoming more and more diverse with influxes of “non-traditional” immigrants. As the cultures mix I am starting to see more and more choices being made in the sense that people are picking traits from different cultures to incorporate into their own personas. For people from some countries just having the ability to make a choice is a remarkable thing.
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