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Alchemy by Rory Sutherland

Link: Good Reads


The main premise of the book is that while science and logic has resulted in immensely valuable products, there is a treasure trove still waiting to be discovered by applying apparently illogical solutions to human problems.

  • Just because the scientific methodology has been so reliable it does not have to be the only tool to apply especially to a messy field like human behaviour.
  • "Engineering does not allow for magic. Psychology does."
  • Rory defines the way humans make decisions as "psycho-logic" - to distinguish it from the concepts of "logic" and "rationality"
  • The idea is to become adept at spotting instances where the "universal laws" don't apply - when abandoning logic is sensible

A 4x4 matrix that can be plotted of human advances / ideas that fall on a spectrum between FAILS to WORKS and SEEMS WEIRD to MAKES SENSE.

e.g. Bicycles definitely work but are at the same time very weird - humans have learned how to ride bicycles but it is not built in a "logical" manner.


Subconcious Hacking