Book Review – The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar

The Art of Choosing is one of those books that grabbed me by my assumptions and tossed me around like a Gumby doll in a jack terrier’s mouth.  This book definitely gets 5 stars out of 5 on the CapnRehab interest scale.

art of choosing by Sheena Lyengar

art of choosing by Sheena Lyengar

I found myself only able to read a chapter at a sitting, as I wanted to take a while and think about it before I moved on to the next topic.  (It took me almost 2 weeks to read this book  – unheard of!)  I’m lucky that Mrs. CapnRehab is willing to listen to me ramble on as I try to form my thoughts about whatever book I’m currently reading.  I think if I could get away with it, I’d spend most of my time reading, and the rest sailing.  (Speaking of which, there is a great blog “Sundowner sails again”  by a couple that has refitted a Sundowner sailboat for the last 5 years and JUST NOW (Jan 2015) are setting off for a life of cruising.  Go Dani and Tate!)  Ah, that’s the life… but duty calls….

The author has done many studies of her own (including a famous one that you’ve most likely heard of) and references and explains many more as she drew her conclusions on choice.  It turns out that not only the tangible results of our choices are important.  The process we go through to make them, and our feelings about them are just as important.  Not only that – our feelings about a choice we made will often change over time so that we tell ourselves that that was what we wanted all along.

Also, when faced with 2 terrible choices (you lose either way), it’s better to have an expert opinion about which one should be chosen so that when remembering the choice your memory and feelings will fall back on that opinion and absolve some of the guilt you will feel in the future no matter which is chosen.

There is no way I can do this book justice by giving an in depth review, so here is her own summary of important things to do when choosing.

  1. CUT your options down to manageable size.
  2. CULTIVATE confidence by using expert advice and personalized recommendations
  3. CATEGORIZE choices to reduce complexity  (it’s easier to choose from a smaller set)
  4. CONDITION yourself to start with smaller choices and work your way up to more complex choices

I think I can apply all of these to the Catalina 22 refit.

The list may help but you’ll be have more info available to you if you read the book – so read the book!





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