More Barry Schwartz: Why We Cling to Beliefs and Ideals

Nick Wetta, from Story Riot, has a great interview with Barry Schwartz about  Why We Cling to Beliefs and Ideals.  Nick put together a quick video as well.

I can never get enough of Barry. He just makes such good sense. His thoughts about making work meaningful are of particular value to parents, whose work raising children can often seem full of mundane, repetitive tasks.

Here is a link to my interview with Barry, this one about children and choice.

 

 

Advertisements

On Motivation: Barry Schwartz

I love Barry Schwartz, not just because of his generosity (he was kind enough to take time for an interview with me about children and choices) but because he is the kind of guy who is always looking at ideas from a different angle. He is an assumption-buster.

His book, The Paradox of Choice, will forever change the way you think about choice and happiness. His latest book, Why We Work, is featured on the Brain Pickings site. He presents an interesting perspective on the dynamics between discovery and invention, in particular, how our institutions shape our own human nature.

How we design our institutions–he is talking about workplaces, but think about it in terms of schools and families as well–has a profound effect on us.

Our ideas about what motivates people to work, Schwartz cautions, have shaped the nature of the workplace in unfortunate ways — particularly when it comes to the ideology of incentives and the carrots-and-sticks approach to reward and punishment.

There is really no substitute for the integrity that inspires people to do good work because they want to do good work. And the more we rely on incentives as substitutes for integrity, the more we will need to rely on them as substitutes for integrity. We may tell ourselves that all we’re doing with our incentives is taking advantage of what we know about human nature… But in fact, what we’re doing is changing human nature.

And we’re not merely changing it; we’re impoverishing it.

Sobering. But then he says:

Human beings are not scorpions. People aren’t stuck being one way or another. But nor are they free to invent themselves without constraint. When we give shape to our social institutions — our schools, our communities and yes, our workplaces — we also shape human nature. Thus, human nature is to a significant degree the product of human design. If we design workplaces that permit people to do work they value, we will be designing a human nature that values work. If we design workplaces that permit people to find meaning in their work, we will be designing a human nature that values work.

You can watch a brief TED talk here.

Children and Choices: An Interview with Barry Schwartz

In my new book, Parenting in the Here and Now, I reframe many of the issues and challenges that today’s parents face. One of those issues concerns the role that choice plays in raising children.

Choices seem to be the all-purpose go-to remedy now. An article in the Wall Street Journal about the importance of chores—a topic that is very close to my heart—included, almost as an afterthought—that parents should offer their children choices about what chores they do. A recent article in the Washington Post suggested that parents model boundaries and consent by offering their toddlers a choice between chewy dinosaur vitamins or gummy robots. Faced with a temper tantrum or a power struggle? The answer is always the same: offer choices.

Our misunderstanding of the role and value of choice has had a profound impact on families. By digging deeper into how children learn to make choices and by asking questions about not only how much choice is healthy, but also about when choice is appropriate, we can dispel common myths and find practical steps that parents can take in their own households, steps that will bring their families into more balance, steps which will help form the foundation for building their children’s capacities to make good choices.

And so I turned to Barry Schwartz to add his insight and perspective to the discussion of this issue. He is a professor at Swarthmore College, where he has been teaching in the fields of psychology and economics since 1971. In his book and TED Talk of the same name: The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less, Barry Schwartz takes aim at a central tenet of western societies: freedom of choice. In his estimation, choice has made us not freer but more paralyzed, not happier but more dissatisfied.

In our interview, Barry Schwartz discusses his thoughts on why we hold freedom of choice so dear, on the challenges of making good choices, and on what parents might consider when they are choosing when to give choices to children.

Barry is warm, funny and wise. I think you will enjoy hearing what he has to say. Click here to watch our interview, and I encourage you to watch his TED Talks, The Paradox of Choice and The Loss of Wisdom, and if you have the time, to read his books by the same names. The questions he asks are the questions that we all need to ask.

 

Hibernation is Over. Spring is Here!

My dearest readers,

It has been quiet on the blog, but bigs things have been happening.

My publisher, Floris Books, is releasing my new book, Parenting in the Here and Now: Realizing the Strengths You Already Have on April 16, 2015 in the UK (and on Kindle), and in the United States in June or early July.  It is available on Amazon now for pre-order.

My new website, www.LeaPageAuthor.com, has excerpts and reviews as well as some tidbits about me and about writing the book, and there are links to other published work, guest-blogs and soon: interviews.  The first interview is about children and choices, with Professor Barry Scwhartz, TED talk presenter and author of several books, among them The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less.  I will post that as soon as my intrepid IT/webmaster/better-than-McGyver guy (my husband) takes care of the upload.

Please come visit the website.

You will also find links to several published excerpts from my first memoir, Something About You, which is about raising my family in rural Montana.

I am now in the fingernail-biting process of sending out that manuscript (Floris Books doesn’t publish memoir), and in the meanwhile, I am working on a second draft of a second memoir, Remaining A Stranger, which is about an epic, horse-drawn cart trip through rural Greece.

I hope to have much more to offer you in the coming weeks and months.