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Alchemy Reviews

Alchemy by Rory Sutherland


The Surprising Power of Ideas That Don't Make Sense

Rory Sutherland

Score pending

2 reviews

Category: Non-fiction
Imprint: W H Allen
Publisher: Ebury Publishing
Publication date: 7 May 2019
ISBN: 9780753556504

The best ideas don't make rational sense: they make you feel more than they make you think. 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.

4 stars out of 5
Dominic Lawson
7 Jul 2019

"When goods become more costly, demand for them increases – that’s ‘psycho-logic’"

However, Sutherland is revelatory — and entertaining — in his anatomy of apparently paradoxical consumer choice in action. For example, people will happily pay 30p for a Nespresso capsule, but would be affronted if they were charged £50 for a jar (which, in effect, they are). Or how about the pilchard, demand for which had all but died out, until the head of the Pilchard Works fish suppliers in Newlyn had the idea of renaming them Cornish sardines and persuading the EU to award them Protected Designation of Origin status. Sales of the things at Tesco rocketed by 180%. Yet they were still pilchards.


4 stars out of 5
1 Jun 2019

"highly entertaining analysis of the trade"

In Alchemy, Sutherland brings together complex theory with stories and plentiful humour to both captivate and entertain. It’s an important work for our era of apparent irrationality.