The paradox of choice – ESL lesson

The lesson is based on the talk by Berry Schwartz “The paradox of Choice”. It’s meant for intermediate – advanced students of English.


1. How often do you have to makes choices?

2. Can you count how many choices you did today (online, in a supermarket, at work, at home)?

3. How much time does it normally take you to make up your mind and choose something?

4. Think of a time when it was very hard for you to make a choice?

[LDAdvQuiz 2]

6. How do you feel when presented with a lot of options to choose from?

 7. Here is a vocabulary task for you. Think of adjectives and verbs that may collocate with the word      CHOICE.

Choice:   free, _____, ______

Make a choice, ________, _______

 8. Take a look at this mind map to check yourself. Have you come up with any words that are not mentioned here? Write them in the comments.


You are going to watch a talk “Paradox of choice” given by Barry Schwartz.

1. Brainstorm ideas that may be discussed in this talk.


2. How far do you agree with this statement

“The more choice people have, the more freedom they have. The more freedom they have, the more welfare they have.

3. Before watching the video make sure you are familiar with these words.


Watch the talk


4. Discussion questions

  • The speaker argues that choice dominates many domains of the society.

He illustrates his point by talking about supermarkets, electronics store, healthcare, identity and marriage. What choices do people have to make in these areas, according to the speaker? It is true in your country?


  • The speaker claims that wide choice doesn’t make us more satisfied, on the contrary, it produces paralysis. What 4 arguments does he bring forward to prove his point?


  • To what extent do you agree with his arguments?


  • In what context does the speaker talk about income redistribution?


  • Please, comment on this quote. “The secret of happiness is low expectations”.


I hope you enjoyed the lesson. Please, leave your comments.