What we can learn from Barry Schwartz

The first possible speaker we could think of fitting the theme Human Nature has, let’s say naturally, not let us down. Barry Schwartz is the first speaker we can confirm for this year’s TEDxAmsterdam. We are fulfilled with gratefulness and excitement over his decision to join us and speak about his latest ideas.

Psychologist by origin, Barry has expanded his work into the field of economy and philosophy. Well-known for his 2004 book The paradox of choice, he argues that Western societies might have become too wealthy in a way, making us more miserable than profoundly happy as we have too much choices to make. His work currently involves reestablishing “practical wisdom” as an antidote to a society gone mad with bureaucracy. He proclaims powerfully that relying on rules is not very humane as they give us a false sense of safety and using incentives usually is counterproductive. Standing still for a moment and using our everyday wisdom will help reshape our world. At TEDxAmsterdam 2011, Barry will elaborate on what it means to be human and why we believe we choose deliberately – while in fact, we do not.

Barry Schwartz at TED2009, Session 12: Engage, Feb. 7, 2009, Long Beach, CA credit: TED / Asa Mathat

Barry Schwartz at TED2009, Session 12: Engage, Feb. 7, 2009, Long Beach, CA credit: TED / Asa Mathat

Barry has that typical combination of your favorite high school teacher: warm hearted and willing to keep explaining, yet persuasive and authoritative at the same time and able to keep you focused without relying on visuals.

Further reading:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/16/business/16shelf.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Schwartz_(psychologist)
http://www.swarthmore.edu/SocSci/bschwar1/
http://www.ted.com/speakers/barry_schwartz.html
https://twitter.com/#!/BarrySch