Happiness and Choice

If you haven’t watched the TED netcasts yet you’re really missing out, some great stuff on there, superb presenters with innovative subjects. I’m not keeping up though and finally watched Dan Gilbert and Barry Schwartz talking about the synthesizing of happiness and the paradox of choice respectively. Fascinating theories, especially since I’m also finishing up The Long Tail these days. Anderson is promoting choice and explaining how much we now have of every niche easily available while Schwartz argues that we have too much which raises expectations that we can never fullfill and Gilbert believes we can synthesize happiness out of pretty much anything and we are always aiming for things that in the end don’t necessarily make a difference. I’m hugely paraphrasing all three here but watch both videos and grab the book, important thinking in each case.


Alexandre October 27, 2006

Any specific application in your own life/career?
Ze Frank talked about happiness a few weeks ago and some of that discussion was quite interesting. Niches and the long tail can become a deeper issue, socially. A couple weeks back, there was a disappointingly shallow discussion of the paradox of choice in terms of food, on Christopher Lydon’s Radio Open Source (a PRI show about a number of subjects).
Will need to watch the TED shows but audio is more of my thing.

Austin Hill October 28, 2006

I thankfully blame the TED conferences for my leaving my previous company and starting my new project.

It is an incredible experience. It was great of Chris Anderson and the TED crew to publish these talks. I’ve been lending the DVDs of the event to friends for years and its great to be able to share them more widely.

Dr. Larry Brilliant and Hans Rosling were just a few of my favorites this year.

Patrick October 28, 2006

“Any specific application in your own life/career?”

Thanks for the links Austin, I’d seen the excellent presentation by Dr. Brilliant (hell of a carreer) but missed Rosling. Fantastic infographics and great delivery.

It’s kind of incredible, considering all the talk about solving problems, inequality, etc. that the conference was “hidden” for so long, some of those presentations not only need to be available on the internet but shown on primetime television.

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