Alchemy: The Surprising Power of Ideas That Don't Make Sense


A book by Rory Sutherland “Alchemy: The Surprising Power of Ideas That Don’t Make Sense”


To be brilliant, you have to be irrational

In his book Alchemy, advertising legend and TED speaker Rory Sutherland explains why it’s important to let go of logic in order to generate brilliant ideas, solve problems with creativity, and successfully impact the world around you.

Don’t play it safe… you’re killing off creativity!

If you’re always playing it safe with your ideas, guess what, you become predictable!  And when you’re predictable, you become the same as everyone else… you become commoditized.  So if you want to stand out, and stay in front of the pack, dare to be Irrational.  Ignore logic and explore the OPPOSITE of a good idea because that can be a brilliant one!

So how can you break away from logic?

Test things, even if they don’t make sense at first.  These tests that nobody else will do can lead to super valuable discoveries.  Get comfortable with making progress as a result of random accidents.  If you design your process to a) facilitate accidents, and b) be open to the results from accidents, then your process can be the source of magic.

And dare to look stupid!  A logical solution to a problem is likely to already have been found.  So ask questions outside the box, even if they sound stupid at first, ignore that filter.  Because you don’t know where these questions can lead you.  And since nobody else has tried them, you can find very novel solutions that can be far superior to existing ones.

It’s all about the ideas that initially don’t make sense

You want to keep an open mind and chase after the ideas that initially seem too far fetched or even illogical.  

Remember these 2 key reasons why you want to be illogical:

One- We’re all taught to be rational thinkers.  So we all come up with very simiar solutions.  If you want to be different, you want to test out or follow down the illogical paths that no one else has dared to follow before.

And two- there is no AVERAGE consumer.  Companies are build upon assumptions of what the average person feels or needs and how the average customer will react.  But guess what: if you design something that’s perfect for the AVERAGE, it will resonate with absolutely no one.

So… dare to be irrational… dare to be different!

Rory Sutherland author of Alchemy: The Surprising Power of Ideas That Don't Make Sense

Rory Sutherland

Book Author

Rory Sutherland is the Vice Chairman of Ogilvy, where he has worked since 1988. This attractively vague job title has allowed him to form a behavioural science practice within the agency whose job is to uncover the hidden business and social possibilities which emerge when you apply creative minds to the latest thinking in psychology and behavioural science.

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