The Art of Choosing

I first came across Iyengar’s work in my previous nonfiction choice, Blink, through which I became aware of her contributions to the field of decision-making. Choosing her book, The Art of Choosing, proved to be a wise decision. I picked the book up in the hopes of further investigating decision-making; in hindsight, I regret not choosing it first. Iyengar provides firsthand accounts of several studies; in addition, she manages to explain decision making in a simultaneously broad and thorough fashion. Gladwell’s novel, while intriguing, focused on one aspect of decisions making but was more diffused in hos explanations. Iyengar, on the other hand, covered different facets of decision making in depth. Furthermore, her expertise on the subject matter should not be neglected. As a Columbia University psychology professor, she is undeniably qualified to present the information, and her analysis are insightful and distinctively her own. Many of the studies she mentions are performed by her and colleagues, lending a personal sense to her writing. Ultimately, I was pleased by the book and am eager to use her work in my research.

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Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

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Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell was the first book I decided to read when I decided on my topic, decision-making. I had heard of both the author and the title, which led some weight to my selection. The inside-cover promised insight to the quick decisions we must make under pressure. The book revolved mostly around the idea of thin-slicing; our ability to view a situation, process available information, and make a decision in the blink of an eye. I found the process intriguing, more so when I realized the connection between it and insight, which I had read about in my summer non-fiction selection (Imagine, by Jonah Lehrer). However, I can’t say much for the organization of the book. Gladwell was prone to go on long expositions on concepts– while he did a good job connecting it back to his focus, decision making, I found the explanations lengthy and wished he would reinforce the main ideas in-text. As such, the book would have been better as a leisure read, not as a book for research. Nevertheless, Blink was an effective gateway into my topic, as the expositions were effective introduction.