Barry Schwartz Quotes

Why should I know Barry Schwartz?

Barry Schwartz is an American psychologist and Professor of Social Theory and Social Action at Swarthmore College. Schwartz is the author of the best selling book The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less.

Born August 15, 1946

Books by Barry Schwartz


Best 27 Quotes by Barry Schwartz

“Focus on what makes you happy, and do what gives meaning to your life.”

Barry Schwartz

“Happiness as a goal is a recipe for disaster.”

Barry Schwartz

“The secret to happiness is low expectations.”

Barry Schwartz

"Practical Wisdom" Quotes

“There is no more effective way to destroy the leadership potential of young officers and noncommissioned officers than to deny them opportunities to make decisions appropriate for their assignments.”

Barry Schwartz
Practical Wisdom

"The Paradox of Choice" Quotes

“By restricting our options, we will be able to choose less and feel better.”

Barry Schwartz
The Paradox of Choice

“Choose less and feel better.”

Barry Schwartz
The Paradox of Choice

“If you seek and accept only the best, you are a maximizer.”

Barry Schwartz
The Paradox of Choice

“Knowing what’s good enough requires knowing yourself and what you care about. So: Think about occasions in life when you settle, comfortably, for “good enough”; Scrutinize how you choose in those areas; Then apply that strategy more broadly.”

Barry Schwartz
The Paradox of Choice

“Learning to choose is hard. Learning to choose well is harder. And learning to choose well in a world of unlimited possibilities is harder still, perhaps too hard.”

Barry Schwartz
The Paradox of Choice

“Most good decisions will involve these steps:
- Figure out your goal or goals.
- Evaluate the importance of each goal.
- Array the options.
- Evaluate how likely each of the options is to meet your goals.
- Pick the winning option.
- Later use the consequences of your choice to modify your goals, the importance you assign them, and the way you evaluate future possibilities.”

Barry Schwartz
The Paradox of Choice

“Nobel Prize–winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman and his colleagues have shown that what we remember about the pleasurable quality of our past experiences is almost entirely determined by two things: how the experiences felt when they were at their peak (best or worst), and how they felt when they ended. This “peak-end” rule of Kahneman’s is what we use to summarize the experience, and then we rely on that summary later to remind ourselves of how the experience felt.”

Barry Schwartz
The Paradox of Choice

“Part of the downside of abundant choice is that each new option adds to the list of trade-offs, and trade-offs have psychological consequences. The necessity of making trade-offs alters how we feel about the decisions we face; more important, it affects the level of satisfaction we experience from the decisions we ultimately make.”

Barry Schwartz
The Paradox of Choice

“Something as trivial as a little gift of candy to medical residents improves the speed and accuracy of their diagnoses. In general, positive emotion enables us to broaden our understanding of what confronts us.”

Barry Schwartz
The Paradox of Choice

“The alternative to maximizing is to be a satisficer. To satisfice is to settle for something that is good enough and not worry about the possibility that there might be something better.”

Barry Schwartz
The Paradox of Choice

“The existence of multiple alternatives makes it easy for us to imagine alternatives that don’t exist—alternatives that combine the attractive features of the ones that do exist. And to the extent that we engage our imaginations in this way, we will be even less satisfied with the alternative we end up choosing. So, once again, a greater variety of choices actually makes us feel worse.”

Barry Schwartz
The Paradox of Choice

“The fact that some choice is good doesn’t necessarily mean that more choice is better.”

Barry Schwartz
The Paradox of Choice

“The mistake is to assume that the way it feels at the moment is the way it will feel forever.”

Barry Schwartz
The Paradox of Choice

“The way that the meal or the music or the movie makes you feel in the moment—either good or bad—could be called experienced utility.”

Barry Schwartz
The Paradox of Choice

“Unfortunately, the proliferation of choice in our lives robs us of the opportunity to decide for ourselves just how important any given decision is.”

Barry Schwartz
The Paradox of Choice

“We are free to be the authors of our own lives, but we don't know what kind of lives we want to write.”

Barry Schwartz
The Paradox of Choice

“We are surrounded by modern, time-saving devices, but we never seem to have enough time.”

Barry Schwartz
The Paradox of Choice

Products by Barry Schwartz

“We get what we say we want, only to discover that what we want doesn’t satisfy us to the degree that we expect.”

Barry Schwartz
The Paradox of Choice

“We have a tendency to look around at what others are doing and use them as a standard of comparison.”

Barry Schwartz
The Paradox of Choice

“What we don’t realize is that the very option of being allowed to change our minds seems to increase the chances that we will change our minds.”

Barry Schwartz
The Paradox of Choice

“When asked about what they regret most in the last six months, people tend to identify actions that didn’t meet expectations. But when asked about what they regret most when they look back on their lives as a whole, people tend to identify failures to act.”

Barry Schwartz
The Paradox of Choice

“When people have no choice, life is almost unbearable.”

Barry Schwartz
The Paradox of Choice

"Why We Work" Quotes

“Incentives can be a dangerous weapon. A critic of this research might say that the problem is not incentives, but dumb incentives. No doubt, some incentives are dumber than others. But no incentives can ever be smart enough to substitute for people who do the right thing because it’s the right thing.”

Barry Schwartz
Why We Work