Psychologist Barry Schwartz Finds Joy in the "Low-Flying Life"

Stacey Kutish

Psychologist Barry Schwartz
Finds Joy in "Low-Flying Life"

by Stacey Kutish
5/13/2009

Barry Schwartz

Barry Schwartz

In the face of increasingly hard economic times, Psychologist Barry Schwartz extolls the virtues of what he describes as the "low-flying life." From a recent issue of The Business Insider:

"I believe that security is more important to happiness than wealth. The problem is that during a time of high-risk, high-reward prosperity, the pursuit of security can seem dull." As a professor, Schwartz notes that he himself was once viewed as a man who'd made a low-flying choice. Job security, steady industry, autonomy - those were his values, not money. But now, in this recession, his profession is suddenly esteemed. "The thing is, it's a false choice," he says. "There's plenty of room for joy in a low-flying life." more

Schwartz, the Dorwin P. Cartwright Professor of Social Theory and Social Action, explores the social and psychological effects of free-market economic institutions on moral, social, and civic concerns. His books include The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less and The Costs of Living: How Market Freedom Erodes the Best Things in Life. Earlier this year, he gave a TED Talk in which he called for "practical wisdom" as an antidote to a society gone mad with bureaucracy.