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Barry Schwartz

Barry Schwartz

Barry Schwartz is one of the most influential psychologists in the world. His TED talks have been watched by over 23 million people, he’s written 9 bestselling books, and is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Swarthmore college.

Barry Schwartz has spent forty years thinking and writing about the interaction between economics and morality.  He has written several books that address aspects of this interaction, including The Battle for Human Nature, The Costs of Living, The Paradox of Choice, Practical Wisdom, and most recently, Why We Work. The Paradox of Choice was named one of the top business books of the year by both Business Week and Forbes Magazine, and has been translated into twenty-five languages. Schwartz has written for sources as diverse as The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Slate, Scientific American, The New Republic, the Harvard Business Review, and the Guardian

He has appeared on dozens of radio shows, including NPR’s Morning Edition, and Talk of the Nation, and has been interviewed on Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN), the PBS News Hour, The Colbert Report, and CBS Sunday Morning. Schwartz has spoken three times at the TED conference, and his TED talks have been viewed by more than 16 million people.


Session Synopsis

Insights from Behavioral Economics: People as Semi-Rational Choosers

Economists have long assumed that human beings are rational choosers. They figure out what they want, and then find the option that comes closest to achieving their goals–that “maximizes” their utility. Forty years of research in behavioral economics has shown that /some/ people behave that way /some/ of the time, but that most of us are only semi-rational decision-makers. This talk will review some of our limits as rational decision makers, with a focus on how giving people more options leads to paralysis rather than liberation, leads to poor decisions, and leads to dissatisfaction with even good decisions.

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