A Field Guide to Paradoxes

Other notable logic-defying and head-scratching contradictions

Paradox of Choice

When someone is given such a vast wealth of items to choose among — from the olives selection at Whole Foods to the thousands of suitors on Match.com — that he or she becomes paralyzed and unable to make a decision.

Many Options Harder Choice

Less Options Easier Choice

Paradox of Thrift

Call it the ultimate frugal person’s guilt trip: The Keynesian economic belief that an individual’s choice to save money during a recession, rather than spend it, has insidious echoes on the economy as a whole.

SAVE MONEY LESS SAVINGS

SPEND MONEY MORE SAVINGS

The Productivity Paradox

The idea that great leaps in technology don’t lead to boosts in human productivity. Wait — so Google Goggles and Siri aren’t going to help with hitting sales goals or finishing that novel?

TECHNOLOGY

PRODUCTIVITY

Obesity Paradox

Can overdoing it at the plate — with extra helpings of dessert — actually save someone’s life in the long run? Possibly; this is the phenomenon of obese individuals responding better to chronic ailments and living longer than people of a normal weight in similar condition.

GET FAT LIVE LONGER

Paradox (the Band)

Germany’s metal group, which churned out such gems as 1987’s Teutonic Invasion and 1990’s Thrash the Wall, are still headbanging more than 30 years later. Who can explain that?

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