barry schwartz

barry schartz

intro’d to Barry way back when… the paradox of choice, wisdom, et al..

here he is at ted2014 – on work..

why do we work..

if so obvious.. why do so many people do it.. ie: work that is soul dead

the answer: idea technology

ideas: ways of understanding…  which influence how we think/act

idea tech most profound… with things if tech sucks.. it just vanishes.. with ideas… false ideas about human beings will not go away if people believe that they’re true.. because if people believe that they’re true they create ways of living and institutions that are consistent with these very false ideas

5 min – adam smith.. convinced human beings were by their very nature unless you made it worthwhile and the way you made it worthwhile was by incentivizing .. we created a factory system consistent with that false view of human nature.. but once that system of production was in place.. there was no other way to operate.. except in a way consistent with adam smith’s vision

science of people ness

we need to give ourselves a shot and try a nother way..

6 min – the very shape of the institution in which people work creates people who are fitted to the demands of that institution..

we can be confident cosmos will work same way no matter out theories.. but we do have to worry about our theories of human nature.. because human nature will be changed by the theories we have…

yearts: human beings are the unfinished animals.. only human nature to have a human nature that is very much the product of the society in which they live.. much more created than discovered…

what kind of human nature do you want to help design…

a story about people grokking what matters…

self talk as data…

as the day.



Cathy Davidson (@CathyNDavidson) tweeted at 5:27 AM – 26 Apr 2019 :
I know this research and theory well–a lot of apples and oranges become bundled as “choice.” Helping students understand the best ways to make decisions and implement them in a chaotic world seems to me fundamental to the educational process, not something to avoid! (

perhaps fundamental to ‘Ed process’.. but not to humanity..

thinking humanity is more about curiosity than ie: decision-making

Dr Susan Blum (@SusanDebraBlum) tweeted at 5:16 AM – 26 Apr 2019 :
@harmonygritz @OnlineCrsLady @Jessifer @CathyNDavidson I’m personally, as an anthropologist, not a fan of infinite choice. In some places the gracious thing is to anticipate guests’ needs. Constantly choosing as an individual is exhausting, as Schwartz showed yrs ago. (

because we’ve never really let go enough to see what infinite is like

ie: not about choices/decisions/options.. it’s about daily curiosity


Cathy Davidson (@CathyNDavidson) tweeted at 5:30 AM – 26 Apr 2019 :
And from an anthropological pov we know that “choice” of 150 brands of breakfast cereal is different than how you choose a life path (the former isn’t so much choice as reinforcement of a cultural value ab buying packaged cereal). (

and perhaps any kind off choice ness isn’t really humane

let’s let go.. and try curiosity

Cathy Davidson (@CathyNDavidson) tweeted at 5:34 AM – 26 Apr 2019 :
He also acknowledges that his analysis of choice is based on affluence and has that clever idea of “pareto improvement”–giving affluence and choice to those who have nothing makes everyone happier. It’s a dream and witty if not quite possible. (

find/follow Barry:

wikipedia small

Barry Schwartz (born 1946) is an American psychologist. Schwartz is the Dorwin Cartwright Professor of Social Theoryand Social Action at Swarthmore College. He frequently publishes editorials in the New York Times applying his research in psychology to current events.