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A Matter of Choice

Discussion in 'General' started by spnadmin, Jun 13, 2010.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    1947-2014 (Archived)
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    Jun 17, 2004
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    If you think of it, there is precious little in common between a Sikh wedding in Delhi and a mountaineering expedition in the Peruvian Andes. Yet these are two of the several examples that Sheena Iyengar, professor at the Columbia Business School, uses in her book The Art of Choosing (Hachette India, Rs 499) to discuss the principles guiding the decisions we make every day.

    The Sikh wedding (of Iyengar’s parents) shows how crucial aspects of a marriage—the choice of “whom to marry to what to wear to what to eat—- can be decided by people other than the bride and the groom. On the other hand, the tale of Joe Simpson, who abseiled over the Andean glacier to safety after his partner Simon Yates had given him up for dead and cut his rope, illustrates how one can “choose” to survive in the face of unassailable odds.

    Iyengar’s book draws on a lifetime of research, including studies she conducted in college and graduate school, which are used to explain why we choose a particular iPhone or a certain brand of soda or a particular health insurance policy. She was drawn to this particular field of research by an interplay of several factors, among them, being born to Sikh immigrant parents living in North America and more poignantly, the onset of blindness early in life. As part of the immigrant experience, she became a “part of two different worlds”. “These two worlds didn’t just comprise two different languages, or two different sets of rules, but offered two entirely different narratives about how to live one’s life,” she says in an email interview.

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