An anonymous reader writes: In the decades following World War 2, there was a dramatic expansion in choices for consumers. Where before there were only a few brands of bread, now there were dozens. Marketers were relentless in trying to fill every niche, to capture every last market segment. But in the 1990s and 2000s, we started to realize that this wasn't inherently a good thing. Choice paralysis demonstrably exists. It's made us start asking questions like: do we really need 30 types of jam on a store shelf? Is there a good reason for a firm to offer over 150 different pension plans? It turns out, no. Employees are much less likely to actually choose a plan when confronted with so many. In worrying about finding the best choice, they accidentally pick what is by far the worst: nothing. Barry Schwartz, a psychologist who helped bring this idea to the fore, has been advocating for less choice, and offers this suggestion: "The secret to happiness is low expectations."
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