Too Many Choices

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“I feel like an alcoholic pushed into a permanently stocked bar, and I can’t even taste the merlot because I’m trying to down a tequila and sip a martini at the same time. I’m dying to return to the mono-media of paper and glue. But I’m just not sure that I’m strong enough to resist the lure of that Dickens in my pocket; the new Jim Crace short story nestling in that mega-zine; the stream of Pepys updates scrolling down my screen.”

Over at The Guardian Books Blog, Molly Flatt points to a new Stanford study and a TED talk by Barry Schwarz that show the downside of all the choices technology and modern society have given us. She calls it “always-something-better-out-there syndrome,” and she wonders if it’s killing the joy of reading.


Seth Fischer’s writing has twice been listed as notable in The Best American Essays and has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize by several publications, including Guernica. He was the founding Sunday editor at The Rumpus and is the current nonfiction editor at The Nervous Breakdown. He’s been awarded fellowships and residencies by Ucross, Lambda Literary, Jentel, Ragdale, and elsewhere, and he teaches at the UCLA-Extension Writer’s Program and Antioch University, where he received his MFA. More from this author →