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The paradox of choice

Different people have different ways of making a decision. When Pat make a decision, she can make up her mind once she come across something she like. When I make a decision, I am have to study every available information before I make up my mind. I found I have may have the problem of compulsive complete information syndrome. I have to list down all the choices, then pick the one that best fit my criteria. I feel obligate to read all the information or I don’t not feel comfortable about my decision and have anxiety second guessing I am not making the right choice.

When the choices available to me is limited due to information availability or the lack of variety in selection, my decision process works pretty well. When I am buying electronics, computer, sports equipments, guns or any guys stuff, I can apply some filter algorithms to narrow in my choices based on the feature I want or my budget constraint. I found my decision process is not scalable to stuff with no easy objective criteria. When I am buying faucets and cabinet handles for my kitchen and bathroom, Direct Buy have the complete catalog of over a dozen faucets manufacturers and over a thousand different kinds of cabinet handles. It took me almost two nights to go over every one of them to figure out which is the right one. I don’t have this problem if I buy faucets and handles form Home Depot or Candian Tires, since they have a aisle of faucet or handle selection at most and I can finish the aisle in 15 minutes.

I have to go through this painful selection process at least three more times. I still have to find the right lights fixtures, the right dining table and the right bed frames for our new place. There are at least 200 more furniture and light catalogs from Direct Buy. I have to read every page and then research more information about those products online. Now, I can understanding why sometimes more is less, the paradox of choice.

4 comments to The paradox of choice

  • uncleray

    我家正準備裝修。看材料真是一件很花精神心機的事。

  • So do you make better decisions or Pat? Which style is “better”? Be honest now. 🙂

    P.S. Hmmm, the way you looked at absolutely everything available and compare them, won’t it lead to some problems as the one identified by “How We Decide” by Jonah Lehrer? I think I checked out this book after reading your review.

    • Style is subjective, so it is meaningless to me. Pat take care of choosing the style, the I take care any objective measurement to find the one with the best price/quality ratio. The problem is when I can’t find one that fit Pat’s style and meet all my objective requirements.

      the book “How we decide” seems interesting. Let me check it out.

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