July 25th, 2004

red panda eating bamboo

too many choices

If you go to http://www.authentichappiness.org/ you may think it looks a bit like a new-age woo-woo cult. But it's not. It has Martin Seligman behind it. He's been a stellar researcher on mood, happiness, optimism, depression, and so on for decades.

Their latest newsletter transcribes a commencement address given by Barry Schwartz, the author of "The Paradox of Choice," to a Swarthmore College graduating class. His thesis is that "we" (by which he means well-off Westerners) have too many choices, and the way we handle this problem can make a huge difference in our contentment with life.

It's long, but well worth skimming.