This is a wonderful book - One of the best in learning how to apply principles of human behaviour in your work; especially for those who work in marketing, communication, product management, sales and business.
The premise of the book is this -
Human beings are complex. They actually don’t even know why they do things. So trying to logically model and understand their thoughts and actions and create plans based purely on data and logic is not enough. Don’t discard it, but also add psycological methods to your tool kit. Don’t bother overtly with the theory of why something will work in a certain way. Try counterintuitive and sometimes even illogical experiments. Allow yourself the chance of serendipitous discoveries. Often these work in magical ways. Better than the logical well thought out decisions.
Most of the behavioural science and psychology books have been written by academics. Great ones no doubt. But their experiments are usually controlled. Not done in the real world with all its noise. Rory Sutherland on the other hand is an advertising guy who worked in direct advertising. He’s done it and seen it all. He created the behavioural science practise at Ogilvy and measures success & failure in business terms. His real life experience shows in the book, which is full of real world examples and practical wisdom.
The book is written in a very easy to read manner. The language is simple. The analogies are excellent. Explaining self signalling through the example of using the accelerator in an automatic car is one such. It has these tiny chapters which are like small nuggets. In addition to psychology and behaviour science, Rory borrows generously from evolutionary biology and related sciences without making it look like a research paper. More than sharing best practises or strategies, Rory helps in changing your mindset. Makes you aware of the possibilities of creating alchemy by thinking differently.
Written by Avnish Anand
Avnish Anand is COO and Co-founder at CaratLane. He is an avid reader of Leadership & sports books. Follow him on his Medium site!