Rory Sutherland – Alchemy

00:00 Trailer.

02:27 Brian’s thoughts on the episode.

03:13 Brian’s introduction.

03:47 What has changed in the last four years of understanding human behaviour in relation to marketing.

05:06 Americans feel they can’t recapture the American dream.

15:43 Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn and Donald Trump from a marketing perspective.

25:18 Where marketing started.

30:03 By what means marketing should now focus on making improvements to people’s lives.

35:45 Human behaviour doesn’t run on objective realities.

39:25 AI lacks a necessary skill in marketing.

51:14 Every man has two reasons for doing things he does, a good reason and the real one

56:00 A brilliant piece of advertising by Donald Trump

1:07:45 The importance of a four-day week.

1:11:54 Wealth is only meaningful if it increases the choices you can make.

1:14:51 The marketing manipulation of the Brexit vote and the perception of Brexit now, versus reality.

1:25:05 The placebo effect, the psychological effect of what we are being sold.

1:31:29 To be brilliant you have to be irrational.

1:32:55 The problem with logic is it kills off magic.

1:33:28 Dare to be trivial.

1:35:59 A weed is simply a flower without an advertising budget.

1:36:45 Don’t design for average.

1:38:29 The opposite of a good idea can also be a good idea.

1:42:34 If there were a logical answer, we would have found it.

1:43:21 Test counter-intuitive things only because no-one else will.

1:44:10 How Rory views modern day marketing which seems governed by data driven logic.

1:50:07 The whole advertising industry has totally lost the plot.

1:57:59 Rory’s daily practice.

2:01:51 What is Rory’s superpower.

2:03:55 The best and worst days of his life.

2:08;55 What scares Rory.

2:14:26 What keeps him awake at night.

2:18:22 Phone call to the 20 years old Rory Sutherland.

2:21:13 Best advice he ever received about marketing.

2:22:45 Success secrets.

2:23:13 Advice to the 20 years old listening

2:25:01 Brian’s summing up.


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This is unwatchable: he keeps interrupting Brian and going off on tangents.


Thats a good content!


I loved this interview. What a brilliant man! I will follow his work from here on. I’ve enjoyed all of his answers. We both look at the world very much alike.


What the heck is Rory holding in his hand? Looks like some sort of detonator linked to his stomach, that appeared like it was going to explode out of his shirt. To me this was the worst interviewee by a landslide and I found it hard to even focus on what he was saying based on his sloppy disheveled appearance, and inability to even sit comfortably in a chair. After so many inspirational guests, the only thing Rory inspired me to do is shut down my browser window.


Rory Sutherland is Wisdom with Wit and Brilliance as always.
Me personally, I don’t want simple soundbites as answers. I can get those virtually anywhwere.
I enjoy the thinking, the reasoning and the research behind ideas.
Also love the honesty when he doesn’t know, he will actually say so.


It took me almost an hour before I realized Rory hadn’t yet finished one thought, or yet made a point. I’ve never seen Brian have to work so hard to get a guest to make his points; Rory’s ADHD is exhausting to try and follow.

Richard Matzinger

I’ve got to say.. I really think Brian ruined this interview, not Rory. This guy was probably one of my favourite interviewees of the past, super interesting ideas and entertaining personality. I didn’t feel their first interview was like this, but it seemed like Brian was just trying to get quick one-line “success secrets” phrases out of the guy, or summarize everything he said to that effect. Brian cut him off so many times just so he could go down his interview notes of highlights and get Rory to say two sentences about every bullet point on the book sleeve.… Read more »


Brian: What scares you?
Rory: Well, health scares me.. So that is why it is counter-productive to criticize Trump… I am surprised about how much of the fear is in uncertainty… It was 1942 the year I first…
Like yooo, focus man 😀

Charles Toepfer

I enjoyed the interview but it seemed like Brian was trying to corral a herd of unruly cats which made it more interesting 🙃


I enjoyed the interview. First time I heard of Rory Sutherland.. definitely going to look more of his work up. Thank you Brian for your work.


I now finally understand why Red Bull taste like bird piss


Great interview, interesting points on more leisure time (than current amount) vs more money (than other people because relative wealth). Also sheds light on the massive market cap companies like Starbucks (a tech company that also sells coffee) and Uber (takes away the pain of waiting but not faster taxi- advances in bits not atoms) . Funny insight about Google maps, California start up= cars and trains can’t mix 🙂 Fascinating history of innovations which benefited humanity- more happened in the of 20th century than recent few years. We have the internet and low cost air travel, everything else in… Read more »


Is Rory on drug?? He made this video so hard to watch, his sway away the topic with random example that is not making any point

Craig Bevan

I am still working my way through this, this is an information rich interview.
Perhaps the great technological breakthrough Rory Sutherland is waiting for, is Rory Sutherland.
I have never heard the Complex Theory as applied to human perception and behaviour explained so well.

He constantly reinforces ideas with common example.
Suggesting good solutions based on how the human mind actually works,
rather than bad solutions based on where two lines cross on a graph.

The “unsellable” £ 2000 Tesco handbag and the rogue millionaire speed cameras, for example.

Definitely getting the book.

Thank you again,Brian and the Team, for another fantastic interview.


Brilliant mind, but difficult to follow because he shifts to many subjects at once without barely making the point in the first place. Brian battled this trying to bring him back to the original question and many times he could not. Great effort there. Wish I could have learned more, maybe I’ll buy his book if, and only ig he is bot all over the place.