Sheena Iyengar

Columbia Business School Professor, Author of "The Art of Choosing" & Director of Global Leadership Matrix

  • Languages Spoken

    English

  • Travels From

    New York, USA

Suggested Keynote Speaker Programs

The Three C's of Choice - Choice Overload

We have more choices than ever before. So many, in fact, that in some areas of our lives we suffer from too much choice rather than from lack of it. How much choice do we need to satisfy our individual preferences and desire for variety, and at what point does our judgment ...

We have more choices than ever before. So many, in fact, that in some areas of our lives we suffer from too much choice rather than from lack of it. How much choice do we need to satisfy our individual preferences and desire for variety, and at what point does our judgment begin to cloud over, leading to choices that hurt our finances, our relationships, our health and our spirit? Building on my research, I show individuals and businesses how to recognize the symptoms of choice overload and offer innovative solutions for treating the malady. My ultimate goal is to help everyone separate the important choices from the trivial ones and to teach people how to create a better choosing experience.

 

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The Three C's of Choice - Culture

In America, choice is sacred. We believe in its limitless power and we worship it for the possibilities it offers. For Americans, choice is liberty, which is subordinate only to life itself in the Declaration of Independence. So it can be almost impossible to accept that not ...

In America, choice is sacred. We believe in its limitless power and we worship it for the possibilities it offers. For Americans, choice is liberty, which is subordinate only to life itself in the Declaration of Independence. So it can be almost impossible to accept that not only are there countries and cultures that do not subscribe to the American ideal of choice, but that they wouldn’t necessarily be better off if more choice suddenly became available to them. I explore the great variation across the globe in beliefs about who should choose and when, how much choice should be available, and when choice is a burden rather than a pleasure. Drawing on research, with some funny anecdotes thrown in for good measure, I demonstrate how ignorance about cultural differences in choice leads to poor relationships and performance at best and major conflict at worst. I go on to explain how we can learn to understand other “languages” of choice in order to communicate better in an increasingly interconnected world.

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The Three C's of Choice - Creativity

Who doesn’t want to be more creative? People want to create art, music, and perhaps most of all, themselves. To some extent, we are creators already, constructing our lives with blocks of choice. We choose our careers and our spouses. We choose where we live, how we travel ...

Who doesn’t want to be more creative? People want to create art, music, and perhaps most of all, themselves. To some extent, we are creators already, constructing our lives with blocks of choice. We choose our careers and our spouses. We choose where we live, how we travel and when we schedule our entertainment. And, of course, we choose from hundreds of thousands of products in the marketplace. Creating the ideal life may seem as simple as determining our preferences and matching them to the right choices. However, we don’t always understand ourselves or our options well enough to do this. Instead of taking the time to reflect on our hopes, desires and abilities, we end up grasping for ever more choice, hoping to satisfy ourselves with excess. I explain why, contrary to expectations, unlimited choice can be constraining, while voluntarily limiting our choices can be liberating. Just as artists impose constraints on form and material to boost creativity, so limiting our choices or choosing not to choose can help us better envision and create our most beautiful selves.

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About Keynote Speaker Sheena Iyengar

Sheena S. Iyengar is the inaugural S.T. Lee Professor of Business in the Management Division at Columbia Business School and the Faculty Director of the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center. Dr. Iyengar’s is a world renowned expert on the subject of choice. Her research explores the factors of good and bad decision making, and what we need to do to choose better. Through pointed research studies, she looks at the relationship between how we choose and who we are, why we are so often disappointed by our choices, and the level of control we have over our everyday decisions. She has examined the freedom to choose in a multitude of contexts ranging from employee motivation and performance at Citigroup, to chocolate displays at Godiva. In her 2010 best-selling book The Art of Choosing, she takes readers on a journey, forcing them to challenge the choices they make—and why.

Her insights are invaluable not only to businesses looking to improve strategy, leadership and customer relations, but to every individual trying to make positive and lasting changes to his or her life. In both her book and her keynotes and workshops, Professor Iyengar discusses how her own life circumstances drew her to study the power of choice. “I always knew I would have to think carefully about what I wanted to do in life. I understood that not all the choices in the world would be available to me so I had to figure out what choices there were, what choices I could create, and what would be the domain of which I would try to add value.”

Through this deductive reasoning, Iyengar was led to teach. She says that, “I love ideas. I love communicating to other people. I also enjoy learning about other people and from other people. Teaching is all of that.”

In her keynotes, speeches, classes and workshops she explores three main aspects of choice, combining them based on the interests and needs of the audience.  In particular, she can help you Lead by Choice by revealing what effective leaders need to know about choice and showing you how to choose your way to success.

More about Sheena Iyengar:
Although her accomplishments are impressive, what’s more inspiring is how this 41-year-old professor was drawn to the art of choosing in the first place. At the age of 3, she was struck with a disease called retinitis. “Although I had some vision when I was born, I was legally blind. By the time I was 9, I lost the ability to read. Then, somewhere between 15 and 16, I was down to the point where I had only light perception.”

Despite the difficulties posed by her blindness, Iyengar pursued higher education. In 1992, she graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in economics from the Wharton School and a B.A. in psychology with a minor in English from the College of Arts and Sciences. She then earned her Ph.D. in social psychology from Stanford University in 1997. The following year, her dissertation “Choice and its Discontents” received the prestigious Best Dissertation Award for 1998 from the Society of Experimental Social Psychology.

Iyengar points to her research as another reason she loves her profession. “No matter what idea you’re interested in, you can follow your curiosity and pursue it. In my case, I’ve dedicated my career to understanding the positives and negatives of choice, and the ways people can balance them to get the most from their decision making.”

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COVID-19 special virtual keynote fees are available for webinars. Fees listed above are for a live keynote – Please ask your advisor for special pricing on virtual keynote / webinar fees.

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