Courses and Workshops

How We Decide

Barry Schwartz
Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM (PT)
Repeats every Tuesday until Tuesday, Mar. 5, 2024
Price: $155.00
45 slots available

In the modern world, people are faced with many difficult decisions. Even those of us at or near retirement face decisions about what to do with our leisure time, how to invest, how to take care of our health, and about whether and when and where to move to a senior living facility. And beyond our own decisions, we may be noticing how much difficulty our children and grandchildren are having making decisions about where to go to college, how to choose a career, whether to change jobs, whether, and when, and who to marry, whether and when to have children. Our loved ones often seem to be suffering with uncertainty in the face of almost unlimited freedom to choose their futures.

This course will examine the gap between how people should go about making decisions and how people do go about making decisions, and what can be done to close that gap.

It is hard to pick up a newspaper without confronting articles that are loaded with uncertainty (about pandemics, vaccines, elections, the stock market; you name it). Somehow, our decisions must take this uncertainty into account. But to do so properly requires that we think about uncertainty properly. The aim of the course is both to familiarize you with exciting contemporary research on decision making, and to give you tools that might help you to improve your own decision making.

Faculty Bio

Barry Schwartz taught psychology at Swarthmore College and at Berkeley Haas for 50 years. He works on the interaction between economics, psychology, and morality. His books include the national bestseller The Paradox of Choice. Schwartz's TED talks have been viewed by more than 25 million people. View his TED talks here.

This is an In-Person, Livestreamed + Recorded Course

  • Classes meet in person at the Golden Bear Center, Suite 202, at 1995 University Ave., Berkeley
  • Classes will also stream live on the scheduled day and time and be video recorded
  • You must be a current OLLI @Berkeley member to register. Learn about membership, including our fee assistance program.

Schedule Highlights

  • Course starts on Tuesday, Jan. 30 and ends on Tuesday, March 5
  • Classes meet for six weeks, two hours per session (10–noon)
  • Videos will post on Fridays in Member Dashboards
  • Course materials, including videos, will remain available to view and enjoy through March 31

Faculty Q&A