Alchemy
Rory Sutherland

Book cover image

Narrated By: Rory Sutherland

Duration: 9 hours and 38 minutes

What to expect

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Alchemy: The Surprising Power of Ideas That Don't Make Sense, written and read 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 7 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.

Genre

Popular psychology, Behaviourism, Behavioural theory, Sales & marketing

Listen to a sample

Reading Alchemy was, as its title promised, the process of turning paper and print into gold. Veins of wisdom regarding human functioning emerge regularly and brilliantly from the pages. Don't miss this book.

Robert Cialdini, bestselling author of Influence, Yes!, The Small BIG and Pre-suasion

Revelatory and entertaining

The Sunday Times

Deeply original

Robert Trivers, evolutionary biologist and author of Deceit and Self-Deception

Rory Sutherland is one of the all-time great raconteurs, polymaths, and ad men. But this book shows his hidden depths. Within this fun, quirky, hilarious page-turner, he develops a profound critique of technocratic hubris and fetishised economics. Sutherland helps us rediscover the profound wisdom behind everyday human reasoning, and invites us to explore the magic that happens when we trust a bit less in our focus groups and optimization models, and trust a bit more in our creative eccentricity.

Geoffrey Miller, evolutionary psychologist, author of The Mating Mind, Spent, and What Women Want

Sutherland’s book touches on many facets of life, but all come down to the importance of “psycho-logic”, or non-rational factors, in how we make decisions and how problems can be solved