Sheena Iyengar

  • S.T. Lee Professor of Business in the Management Division of the Columbia Business School
  • Author, The Art of Choosing
  • Director, Global Leadership Matrix

A world renowned expert on the subject of choice, Dr. Sheena Iyengar's research on how and why we choose, and what we need to do to choose better, has surprising and profound implications for our personal and professional lives. 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.

How did Dr. Sheena Iyengar become a leading expert on choice? View Video...

Her presentation to a packed house at the TEDxEast event (View video) was so successful that she was invited back to speak at TEDGlobal. Her talk earned thunderous applause and high praise from TED: "We're so excited to share this talk! It's mindblowing." (View video)

 

 

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Rave Reviews About Sheena Iyengar
Thank you for a terrific session last week with our management team! Everyone absolutely LOVED your speech - and the workshops were a fantastic way to apply the learning to our specific brand needs. Thank you for taking the time to organize insightful questions/topics, and guide our team through a well thought out brainstorming framework.

A Sample of the Groups That Have Hosted Sheena Iyengar
  • The North Face
  • Deutsche Bank
  • St. Joseph's Health Centre Foundation
  • International Association of Privacy Professionals
  • Publisher's Weekly
  • Booklist
  • Worth magazine
  • Body & Soul Magazine
  • Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers 
  • Atul Gawande, author of Complications and Better
Sheena Iyengar speaking at TEDGlobal on "The Art of Choosing" - Get Sharable Link
Sheena Iyengar speaking at TEDGlobal on "The Art of Choosing"
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Sheena Iyengar at TEDxEast
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Sheena Iyengar: How to make choosing easier
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The Art of Choosing

In The Art of Choosing, Columbia Business School professor Sheena Iyengar addresses such questions and provides answers drawn from her award-winning, discipline-spanning research. Dr. Iyengar explores three main aspects of choice, combining them in different and unexpected ways based on the interest ...

In The Art of Choosing, Columbia Business School professor Sheena Iyengar addresses such questions and provides answers drawn from her award-winning, discipline-spanning research. Dr. Iyengar explores three main aspects of choice, combining them in different and unexpected ways based on the interests and needs of the audience. Think of them as the 3 Cs: Choice Overload, Culture, and Creativity. You’ll learn about the complex relationship between choice and freedom, and why one doesn’t always go with the other. You’ll see that too much choice can overwhelm us, leading to unpleasant experiences, and discover how our choices—both mundane and momentous—are shaped by many different forces, visible and invisible. Perhaps most important, you’ll learn how we build our lives: one choice at a time.

Key Takeaways from Dr. Iyengar’s speech:

  • Find out what effective leaders need to know about choice and how to choose your way to success. 
  • Understanding the differences in how people perceive choice, and its effect on what people want and how they act. 
  • Learn the effect that the ability to choose has on job performance. For example, Iyengar cited Google’s policy of allowing employees to work on their own projects for 20 percent of the time. Fifty percent of Google’s new products, including Gmail and Google Voice, have come out of employee projects. 
  • Discover how to give people the kinds of choices that will motivate them.
  • Recognize how choice is viewed in different cultural contexts. 

Art of Choosing abstract:

“A Mac store customer asks for the latest iPhone in black, but he sees everyone else buying black and suddenly changes his preference to white. When a resident of a former Communist country is offered a fizzy drink from a wide selection, he picks at random; soda is soda, he says. Though the child knows she shouldn’t press the big red button (absolutely not!), she finds her hand inching forward. A young man and woman decide to marry—knowing that the first time they meet will be on their wedding day. How did these people make their choices? How do any of us make ours? We use choice as a powerful tool to define ourselves and mold our lives, but what do we know about the wants, motivations, biases, and influences that aid or hinder our endeavors?” 

Too Much Choice

The absolute number of products available to consumers is constantly increasing, as is the percentage of these products that any given consumer can actually purchase in physical and virtual stores. As a result, ensuring that your products stand out from the competition has never been more important. ...

The absolute number of products available to consumers is constantly increasing, as is the percentage of these products that any given consumer can actually purchase in physical and virtual stores. As a result, ensuring that your products stand out from the competition has never been more important. In this presentation, Sheena S. Iyengar, the S. T. Lee Professor of Business at Columbia Business School and author of The Art of Choosing, explores how to optimize extensive product assortments. She will answer questions such as: How many options should you offer? Is it possible to give consumers too much choice? How should options be displayed? And finally, how do contextual features affect optimal assortment? 

Lead By Choice

You want to make good choices for yourself, your family, your organization. You want to be a kind of superhero when you choose, leaping over or smashing through the wall of options to get to the best one. You want to be so skilled at the art of choosing that people gather in crowds to hear about you ...

You want to make good choices for yourself, your family, your organization. You want to be a kind of superhero when you choose, leaping over or smashing through the wall of options to get to the best one. You want to be so skilled at the art of choosing that people gather in crowds to hear about your exploits in the vast universe—and parallel universes—of choice. Sheena Iyengar can’t grant you special powers, but she can help you understand the inner workings of choice so that you can develop those powers on your own. In particular, she can help you Lead by Choice as she reveals what effective leaders need to know about choice and shows you how to choose your way to success. Sheena believes that all of us can develop and benefit from leadership skills, no matter what title or position we hold, but in order to do that, we have to learn to choose with wisdom, compassion and humility.

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Biography

Sheena has taught courses at Columbia Business School to MBAs, Executive MBAs, and Executives. Her courses have included Thinking Globally, Leadership Development, Entrepreneurial Creativity, and an Advanced Doctorate Organizational Behavior Seminar. In 2005, Sheena's course on Leadership earned her an Innovation in the Teaching Curriculum award from Columbia Business School. In 2012, she received the Dean's Award for Outstanding Core Teaching. In addition, she was recently named a member of the 2011 Thinkers50, a global ranking of the top 50 management thinkers, and chosen as one of the World's Best B-School Professors by Poets and Quants. Considered one of the world's experts on choice, Sheena has written her own book, The Art of Choosing. In the book she explores topics such as why choice is powerful and where its power comes from, the ways in which people make choices, the relationship between how we choose and who we are, why we are so often disappointed by our choices, how much control we really have over our everyday choices, how we choose when our options are practically unlimited, whether we should ever let others choose for us, and if so, whom and why. Sheena's book has gained much recognition,including being chosen as a finalist for the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year 2010 award, and being ranked #3 on the Amazon.com Best Books of 2010: Business & Investing Top 10.

Throughout her career, Sheena's work has received much recognition in both academic and popular circles. In 2002, she was the recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Social Scientists. Her work has also been published in premiere academic journals across such disciplines as economics, psychology, management, and marketing, and it is regularly cited in the popular press, including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, Fortune and Time magazines, the BBC and National Public Radio, television programs such as the Today Show and the Daily Show, and in bestselling books such as Blink by Malcolm Gladwell.