The Myth of Choice: Personal Responsibility in a World of Limits

The Myth of Choice Personal Responsibility in a World of Limits Americans are fixated on the idea of choice Our political theory is based on the consent of the governed Our legal system is built upon the argument that people freely make choices and bear responsibi

  • Title: The Myth of Choice: Personal Responsibility in a World of Limits
  • Author: Kent Greenfield
  • ISBN: 9780300169508
  • Page: 496
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Americans are fixated on the idea of choice Our political theory is based on the consent of the governed Our legal system is built upon the argument that people freely make choices and bear responsibility for them And what slogan could better express the heart of our consumer culture than Have it your way In this provocative book, Kent Greenfield poses unsettling quesAmericans are fixated on the idea of choice Our political theory is based on the consent of the governed Our legal system is built upon the argument that people freely make choices and bear responsibility for them And what slogan could better express the heart of our consumer culture than Have it your way In this provocative book, Kent Greenfield poses unsettling questions about the choices we make What if they are constrained and limited than we like to think If we have less free will than we realize, what are the implications for us as individuals and for our society To uncover the answers, Greenfield taps into scholarship on topics ranging from brain science to economics, political theory to sociology His discoveries told through an entertaining array of news events, personal anecdotes, crime stories, and legal decisions confirm that many factors, conscious and unconscious, limit our free will Worse, by failing to perceive them we leave ourselves open to manipulation But Greenfield offers useful suggestions to help us become better decision makers as individuals, and to ensure that in our laws and public policy we acknowledge the complexity of choice.

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      Published :2019-09-15T16:07:18+00:00

    One thought on “The Myth of Choice: Personal Responsibility in a World of Limits”

    1. The Myth of Choice: Personal Responsibility in a World of Limits> is a marvelous book. It often confirmed what I'd already thought and sometimes gave me ah-hah! moments, revealing what I hadn't guessed. Greenfield offers up studies and anecdotes to give shape to what we already know or suspect - for instance, that if you're trying to move $279 food processors off the shelf but people keep buy the cheaper ones, start stocking a $479 food processor. Now the $279 one doesn't look as expensive, a [...]

    2. Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via the First Reads program. (Awesome!)I get the feeling that this book was born out of the author's frustration with the current state of affairs in politics. A lot of examples that are chosen (ha!) involve the Tea Party, and illustrate how, exactly their rhetoric is wrong. (Not that this is difficult.) This is VERY much a book written by and for Americans. The writing style is easy and conversational, and reminded me a lot of [...]

    3. (Sept. book club selection) This book is somewhat Malcolm Gladwell-ish, although I didn't find it quite as enjoyable to read. Greenfield brings up several thought-provoking issues in relation to how we make choices and what factors influence those choices, and he argues that many times our decisions are affected by outside factors that we may or may not be aware of. He does a good job of summing up his findings and suggesting ways we can be more effective decision-makers. He says, "One thing I a [...]

    4. I'm afraid that this book did not impress me. The author presents some interesting ideas about consumer culture and how we're constantly influenced towards making our own "decisions," but the book itself is not terribly well written. Greenfield injects far too much of himself into the arguments. I would have much preferred to watch him prove his points logically through the use of scientific/academic sources, as opposed to relying upon anecdotes and personal experiences. At times, Greenfield thr [...]

    5. Even though I may not have enjoyed the writing style as much in this book, there are some thoughts I will take with me and love remembering.1.) Errors are the portals to discovery2.) Culture creates norms, Culture enforces norms. and for many of us, much of the time, culture influences decisions so much that the scope of genuine choice is exceedingly small. 3.) We tend to live better if we choose our lives than if they are given to or imposed on us. Also, I really liked this idea.4.) Control is [...]

    6. This is a great read for someone who wants to reflect a bit on the human psyche while still reading something easy to digest. The title of this book makes it sound more severe than it is because the author clearly believes that people have choices - there are just very powerful factors that influence choice, and some situations that are framed as choices really aren't choices at all.I liked the author's use of sociological studies and historical events to illustrate his points. For me, at least, [...]

    7. Many thanks to the First Reads for sending me this book! It's definitely one of the favorite books that I've won.The Myth of Choice: Personal Responsibility in a World of Limits is much more exciting than the title might suggest. I learned a lot about why we make certain choices, what influences us (brain chemistry for example - something I didn't suspect had anything to do with my choices), and how in certain instances we don't have as much choice as we believed.What makes this book so interes [...]

    8. This book is well-researched, easily understandable and very readable. The subject was primarily about understanding and being aware of what influences and limits our choices. The author is a law professor and he uses laws and cases to explain many of his points. He uses anecdotes, books and movies to illustrate his points. I particularly liked the explanations of the ways our brains and memories trick us into making certain choices. I'm very happy that I read this book. I won this on 8/26/11 th [...]

    9. As expected this is an erudite and well thought out examination of how we make decisions and the external and internal influences on those decisions. What was not expected but very much welcomed is that this is an accessible and highly engaging read. Kent intersperses his arguments with many anecdotal stories that help bring clarity to the concepts. This book will appeal to a general audience as well as to those with more academic leanings. There are plenty of notes which can lead to a more inde [...]

    10. "The Myth of Choice: Personal Responsibility in a World of Limits" by Kent Greenfield is a very insightful examination of "choice" and our belief system as it revolves around the choices we make, the consequences for our choices, and the sometimes misguided perception that we have a choice at all. Greenfield presents his views very sensibly and supports them with, in most instances, anecdotal evidence, which can be very convincing. This book is definitely worth reading, especially for those who [...]

    11. I won this book on and was excited to get started on it. I really like how he explains things and uses his own personal experiances to help you understand the concepts. Everyone should read because it will open your eyes not just about the choices you make but help you understand why other people make the choices they do.

    12. This is probably my fault for attempting to read this during a busy family weekend, but I found much of the discussion and topics raised to be better addressed in other books I have read. The odd use of photographs as well as the cursory attention paid to some of the issues made this a rather non-compelling read.

    13. Interesting book that discusses the amount of choice that we really have in day to day life. Many fail to realize how much of their choice is really guided through outside influences and regulations.

    14. An eye-opening, fun, and smart look at the many things that effect and influence the choices we make. Very anecdotal and accessible. This book is a life changer.

    15. This is an excellent exposition of choice as a cultural element of our society; choice is explored through a variety of perspectives. The book is also a serious look at the ways our freedom of choice is undermined. Fortunately, the book ends on a positive note by considering ways in which we can guard against our own weaknesses in thinking, but also against the directed manipulation of others. The author explores choice as an element of sexuality, including personal orientation and also the issu [...]

    16. Really interesting book that posits that we don't really have choices, we just think we do. It talks about the biology that goes into decision making and also habits, which habits, in general create short cuts for decision making. It creates anti-decisions. Many other things such as marketing manipulation create and manufacture what we think are decisions but really forces people into cattle chutes.

    17. Good tidbits of information. But it's written from a very legal perspective, and wasn't surprised to then learn the writer is a legal academic and not a psychology or business academic.Very dry. Lots of legal anecdotes. But he does pose interesting questions about what choice really means when other socio-economic considerations are recognized.

    18. This isn’t a book I can easily describe because it covers so much ground. I’m still thinking over several of the author’s points. I suspect I may change my mind about how I respond to some major issues over time

    19. I liked it, but I wish I had read this before I'd taken any psych or criminology classes I knew a lot about the information included beforehand. It was an easy read, at least, if not a little repetitive.

    20. I absolutely loved this book. It presented the material in a graspable and appropriate manner for the audience. The anecdotes were vital and drove home every point the author was trying to make.

    21. Not very good, the title says choice is a myth, very so often he drifts to say things like you have a choice. At other points he becomes way too biased with his obvious political agenda.

    22. Good book although it is hard to understand some parts of it if you are not American.I used to believe that we have the freedom of choice and build our lives,but as I get older I realized that choices in life are more life that we think. we like to believe that we can be whatever we want to be but that's not the truth. biology, culture ,luck and circumstances influences if not decides our destiny.

    23. There was nothing particularly new or compelling in this book. Only four years after its publication, it already felt dated to me in some aspects. I had hoped it would unveil areas of our lives over which we truly have no choice (e.g. birth, parentage), but it instead hashed through the same ideas of environmental manipulation constraining people from having reasonable choices (think "white privilege" arguments). In my own reading, The Myth of Choice followed close on the heels of Malcolm Gladwe [...]

    24. There is a cartoon in the middle of the book that shows two fish in a bowl, presumably a father and son. The line underneath states: "You can be anything you want to be--no limits." The main point of the book is that we are free to choose, but only within our own fishbowls, constraints which are made up of context: biology, culture, etc. Power, economics and the free market, and even brain chemistry put strong contraints on our options. A fascinating read.Some things that stood out for me:The re [...]

    25. I've been interested in the ideas of choice and free will for as long as I can remember, coming from both a religious angle (the Presbyterian Church has a predestination doctrine) and a biological (The realization that all we do and are is composed of chemical reactions, which was quickly followed by the thought that, if we're just chemicals, how can we really control which way our chemicals act?).Clearly, I was a bit of a weird kid.Prof. Greenfield's book isn't as in depth and, well, long, as I [...]

    26. ARC from . Therefore, owe apology for not reading promptly after receipt.Greenfield argues that the supposed free choice in our lives is much more limited than we would like to believe--a premise to which any frustrated educator of the physically or mentally challenged or the poor or rich might agree.I am disadvantaged as my comments relate to the ARC version, so that what I perceive as an error may have been corrected. Nonetheless, on pp. 56-58, Greenfield talks about Charles Whitman's murderou [...]

    27. "We have to believe in free will; we have no choice."-----Isaac Bashevis Singer (as quoted in the front of this book) This book was a recommendation of "The Team" and I have to say, it was a good selection. It is an interesting and concise look at the myriad of influences on our decision making process. So first you have to decide if we have free will at all; and if we have free will, do we really make independent choices or are we just kidding ourselves.As the author points out, "once we take [...]

    28. Disclaimer: I won this book for free in a First Reads giveaway.How much choice do we really have when we decide what to buy at our local supermarket? When we are offered a salary? Who bears the responsibility of our foolish decision when we decide not to wear helmets while driving motorcycles? According to Greenfield, we have a lot less influence over the choices we make then we believe. Some factors discussed in the book are obvious, such as marketing strategies appealing to our visual senses [...]

    29. Kent Greenfield's "The Myth of Choice" is less an indictment of the belief in the freedom of choice than a plea for empathy and compassion. Greenfield's argument has a clearly liberal slant and seems to be geared toward shushing the Herman Cains of the world. You know, that guy that's pretending to run for president that said that if you aren't rich you should blame yourself as a response to the Occupy Wallstreet protest. Anyway, he does raise some interesting points. For example, to what extent [...]

    30. I'd like to start off by saying I'm a business major in college. So as I was reading this I was in classes like Business Law. Now the book; I LOVED this book it was very eye opening to how choice is viewed and how it has been tested. The book to a look at choice through the emotional side, the law said, and the psychological side. Some of the things that are mentioned in this book I already knew about. It uses real scenarios that have happen and explains the outcome. For me it was a very fun rea [...]

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