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  • Alchemy

  • The Surprising Power of Ideas That Don't Make Sense
  • By: Rory Sutherland
  • Narrated by: Rory Sutherland
  • Length: 9 hrs and 38 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (1,355 ratings)

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Alchemy cover art

Alchemy

By: Rory Sutherland
Narrated by: Rory Sutherland
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Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of Alchemy: The Surprising Power of Ideas That Don't Make Sense, written by Rory Sutherland.

To be brilliant, you have to be irrational.

Why is Red Bull so popular - even though everyone hates the taste? Why do countdown boards on platforms take away the pain of train delays? And why do we prefer stripy toothpaste?

We think we are rational creatures. Economics and business rely on the assumption that we make logical decisions based on evidence.

But we aren’t, and we don’t.

In many crucial areas of our lives, reason plays a vanishingly small part. Instead we are driven by unconscious desires, which is why placebos are so powerful. We are drawn to the beautiful, the extravagant and the absurd - from lavish wedding invitations to tiny bottles of the latest fragrance. So if you want to influence people’s choices you have to bypass reason. The best ideas don’t make rational sense: they make you feel more than they make you think.

Rory Sutherland is the Ogilvy advertising legend whose TED Talks have been viewed nearly seven million times. In his first book he blends cutting-edge behavioural science, jaw-dropping stories and a touch of branding magic on his mission to turn us all into idea alchemists.

©2019 Rory Sutherland (P)2019 Random House Audiobooks

Featured article: Steven Bartlett recommends…


In the spirit of continuous learning we asked Steven to share with us the books he’s enjoyed and been inspired by. Covering psychology and health to business and technology, read on to discover Steven Bartlett’s top listening recommendations.

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loved this book.

this was such an interesting opportunity to think differently for a while. I enjoyed the quiet facts and ideas around explaining human behaviours.

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  • 02-09-19

Simply brilliant

In equal parts enlightening, entertaining and thought provoking. Can’t recommend this book enough, full of great examples.

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You'll look at the world in a different way

Rory Sutherland is a fascinating man and the way he takes you through the problems with logic and theory is fantastic. A highly entertaining book with lots of great examples. It's also really funny at times. Highly recommend you give it a listen.

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Fantastic guide to lateral thinking

If you like to be a maverick, and approach things differently (better?!) then others, you should read this. It provides novel approaches to simple, and difficult, decisions.

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Could be my favourite book ever

With an education in biochemistry including genetics and having since worked in business for many years and seen first hand how dysfunctional the (long ago) most successful company in the world has now become, plus reading a lot on behavioural science and economics, this book was was the perfect articulation of many things I'd noticed but not fully understood. Confirmation bias perhaps, but loved it. Always like an author to narrate their own books and I was regularly in fits of laughter too. What a great book!

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Funny, insightful and just great

Funny, insightful and just great. Narrated with a sense of humour, lots of insights and food for thought.

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For anyone in the business of Idea, this is the one for you

Amazing book. I’m coming from a marketing and psychology background, and I could not stop listening and already relistened to some chapters along the way.

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very interesting

really enjoyed this will read more into the subject after reading this for definite

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Thought provoking

I enjoyed this book a lot. I run a business and almost immediately found I could apply some of the ideas Rory describes so eloquently in this book

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Merlin would be proud.

I was highly intrigued to listen to this book after hearing Rory speak on a podcast. I found his insight on human behaviour interesting, and this book delivered a great deal of that. Whilst I fully understand an author may not be able to consider every demographic whilst writing a book. I did feel at times that his target audience seem to be middle class Oxbridge types. For instance when he discussed taxes and giving more choice to a tax payer who they would pay taxes too. I am African Caribbean my experience over the past 50+ year's from the police is vastly different from that of the NHS and or the Fire Service. And I suspect many from similar back grounds. Some given a choice I probably wouldn't choose to give my taxes to fund the Police. This would ultimately cause me more harm in the long run even with all my negative experiences. If on the other hand it was merely a placebo effect in which it didn't matter which box I ticked local and central government did what they wanted anyway with my knowledge (much like they're doing anyway) I would feel better in myself thinking that I was giving my taxes to the NHS.

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5 people found this helpful