Seek quality, sure--but decide what's "good enough," and stop looking when you find it.
Your post reminded me of "The Paradox of Choice" , a book by Barry Schwartz that I read not long ago. One of the claims that the author makes is that satisficing is the best maximizing strategy. After factoring in stress, wasted time and dissatisfaction that result from looking for "the best" product or price it turns out that paying a bit more for a product that is good enough is cheaper.
The Paradox of Choice: http://www.amazon.ca/Paradox-Choice-Why-More-Less/dp/0060005...
To quote from the article:
"People who constantly try to always get that great deal end up spending all their time chasing those deals and never actually get things done. I’ve seen people do this their entire lives, and it is debilitating."
You can say the same about people who spend all their time trying to constantly get "the best" product. Figure out a few things that are important to you and maximise these - whether on quality or price. For the rest, learn to accept "good enough" and get on with your life doing things that matter for you.
"The Paradox of Choice"
All the more so when the eventual implications of a decision remain hidden and indeterminate.
Some Mental Models are available here for free :
For systems :
Lean Thinking by James Womack
Some thought provoking personal effectiveness titles :
The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz (http://www.amazon.com/Four-Agreements-Practical-Personal-Fre...)
The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less by Barry Schwartz (http://www.amazon.com/Paradox-Choice-Why-More-Less/dp/006000...)
The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz
If you think that the secret to encouraging engagement is to flatten out the structure of the information, and ask everyone to read everything in order to discover the influential, popular, or insightful bits...
... you desperately need to read The Paradox of Choice:
There is nothing engaging about thirty screenfuls of undifferentiated choices. When presented with that, I'll just leave. If I wanted a firehose of undifferentiated, recent, quality content, presented in a way which made it very difficult to nucleate a conversation or form a community, I'd be using Google Reader.
[EDIT: Incidentally, if not illustratively, I should point out that I haven't actually read the entirety of The Paradox of Choice myself. I listened to the author lecture about it for an hour in a podcast, and I started to read it, and I appreciated the concept, but I felt that the book kept repeating the same point too many times and I had other uses for my time... ;]
A very interesting set of top results.
There is also this 2003 book on the matter:
"The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less": http://www.amazon.com/Paradox-Choice-Why-More-Less/dp/006000...
There was some buzz and a number of articles on the topic published around the time the book came out.
Let's be clear about one thing: They didn't eliminate "the paradox of choice," they eliminated "choice." The Paradox of Choice comes into play when there are so many choices that people have difficulty making a choice at all -- like 23 varieties of white bread. The Paradox of Choice does not come into play when there are two choices. But I guess this was destined to happen because eliminating choice has been the philosophy of the Rails team all along.
BTW, the book "The Paradox of Choice" is a great read and every hacker should read it. And the best part is that you don't even have to read it all the way to the end to 'get it.'
(Yes, this is my second rant on this topic. I will shut up now).
To me, it also ties in with embodiment theory (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=123243). We think we'd rather have the buffet, especially on first sight and with an empty stomach. But after gorging ourselves we realize we would have much rather had one really good dish than twenty mediocre ones.
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