January 7, 2020

Rory Sutherland: The Opposite of a Good Idea is a Good Idea

Rory Sutherland is a British advertising executive who became fascinated with behavioral science. Between his TED talks, books and articles, he has become one of the field’s greatest proponents. Rory is currently the Executive Creative Director of OgilvyOne, after gigs as vice-chairman of Ogilvy Group UK and co-founder of the Behavioural Sciences Practice, part of the Ogilvy & Mather group of companies. He is the author of The Spectator’s The Wiki Man column and his most recent book, which we highly recommend, is Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life.

We started our discussion with Rory by asking him about his new book and some of his insights from it. His approach to advertising, marketing and product design is informed by his ability to look for the things that aren’t there. He once described a solution to improving customer satisfaction on the Chunnel Train between London and Paris by suggesting that a billion dollars would be better spent on supermodel hosts in the cars than on reducing ride time by 15 minutes. He’s a terrifically insightful thinker.

Our conversation ran amok of all sorts of rabbit holes, as expected, including ergodicity, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's “The Silver Blaze,” high-end audio and the dietary habits of the world-famous runner, Usain Bolt.

In Kurt and Tim’s Grooving Session, we discuss some of our favorite takeaways from Rory’s conversation including, “The Opposite of a Good Idea is a Good Idea” and others. And finally, Kurt teed up the Bonus Track with a final reflection and recap of the key points we discussed.

As always, we would be grateful if you would write us a quick review. It helps us get noticed by other folks who are interested in podcasts about behavioral science. It will only take 27 seconds. Thank you, and we appreciate your help. 

© 2020 Behavioral Grooves



Rory Sutherland: https://ogilvy.co.uk/people/rorys

“Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life”: https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062388414/alchemy/

“Friction”: https://www.rogerdooley.com/books/friction/

Murray Gell-Mann, PhD: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murray_Gell-Mann

Robin Williams “Scottish Golf”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jx8TzR1-n4Q

Don Draper: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Draper

Ergodicity: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ergodicity

John James Cowperthwaite: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_James_Cowperthwaite

SatNav: https://www.macmillandictionary.com/us/dictionary/american/satnav

Daniel Kahneman, PhD: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Kahneman

What You See is All There Is: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thinking,_Fast_and_Slow

Arthur Conan-Doyle: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Conan_Doyle

Sherlock Holmes “Silver Blaze”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Adventure_of_Silver_Blaze

Tim Houlihan’s Blog on “Silver Blaze”: https://tinyurl.com/ufumkj6

Ben Franklin T-Test: https://tinyurl.com/wocdsdk

Volkswagen Fighter: https://tinyurl.com/qpyqh87

David Ogilvy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Ogilvy_(businessman)

Jock Elliot: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2005/dec/01/guardianobituaries.media

Battle of Leyte Gulf: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Leyte_Gulf

Croft Audio: http://www.croftacoustics.co.uk/main.html

Mu-So single speaker: https://www.naimaudio.com/mu-so

WFMT Chicago: https://www.wfmt.com/

TK Maxx: https://www.tkmaxx.com/uk/en/

Berlin Hotel with Big Lebowski: https://www.michelbergerhotel.com/en/

Shure: https://www.shure.com/en-US/products/microphones?lpf[top][types][]=microphones

Zoom: https://zoom.us/

Satisficing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satisficing

Usain Bolt: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usain_Bolt

Sheena Iyengar, PhD: https://www.sheenaiyengar.com/

Jelly Jar Study: https://tinyurl.com/oo6g6eb

Big Band Music: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_band


Musical Links

Aretha Franklin: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aretha_Franklin

Southern California Community Choir: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_California_Community_Choir

Abba: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ABBA

Felix Mendelssohn: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felix_Mendelssohn

George Frideric Handel: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Frideric_Handel

Johann Sebastian Bach: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Sebastian_Bach

Johann Christian Bach: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Christian_Bach


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