About ten years ago I wrote a book with a fellow 20-something psychologist. It was a self coaching / self help book called 'Turning 30: How to get the life you really want'. (Very relevant to me ten years ago). The writing and publishing process was in turns, torturous and exciting and very informative. I know a lot more about the publishing industry than I did before and I'm still uncertain as to whether I'd do it again.
Something I did love about the whole book writing thing was the opportunity to legitimately spend time trawling libraries and the interweb in the name of research. I have loved researching since I was a kid hunting through the World Book Encyclopedia for school projects. There's something about discovering facts, following links from book to book and now website to website and building knowledge that excites a nerdy mind like mine.
Today there are TED talks. A whole new and interactive way to learn stuff that didn't exist when I was working on the book, and another way to lose a few hours in the name of research.
The TED talk I'm showing off today is Barry Schwartz talking about the Paradox of Choice. It's an oldie but a goodie and it was an idea I discovered back in the book writing days of 2005. We wrote about the challenge for almost-30-somethings having to make decisions about careers, jobs, relationships, travel and finances in the face of almost limitless choice and the anxiety that this can create. Today we'd probably hashtag this #firstworldproblems and I think in recent years there's been a move back to simplicity that is perhaps an antidote to the paradox of choice. But maybe it's just that I'm no longer turning 30.
If you haven't seen it before, here's Barry talking about the paradox of choice....
And here's the UK version of our book, just in case you want to take a peek.