How to challenge conventional thinking

Christian Landscape

Framework Book Club: Alchemy by Rory Sutherland

Here at Framework finding avenues to foster innovation, collaboration, and continuous learning is crucial. And with this in mind, we’ve recently rediscovered the power of a good old book club. It’s allowed us to engage in intellectual discussion, broaden perspectives, fuel creativity, drink wine and eat really expensive cheese. 

First up, we recently delved into Rory Sutherland’s ‘Alchemy’, and the experience and outcomes have been nothing short of transformative.

It’s proved to us that our book club cultivates a culture where learning is not confined to formal training sessions. With this book we’ve had the opportunity to explore diverse topics and gain insights that we might not encounter in day-to-day life. Across the team, a continuous learning mindset is invaluable. 

We’re going to continue. And do a session every month.


Our first book club discussion provided a unique space for team members to interact in a relaxed setting. It’s certainly true that the shared experience of reading a book and discussing its themes break down communication barriers and create stronger bonds among team members. 

This, as we are rapidly seeing, can only further enhance collaboration and teamwork. By exploring different perspectives, we can bring fresh insights to client projects.

Key takeaway from ‘Alchemy’ by Rory Sutherland
  • We need to challenge conventional thinking and encourage a more imaginative approach to problem-solving.
  • Sutherland explores the idea that perceived value is often more important than objective value. In the creative design field, understanding how people perceive a product or service is crucial. 
  • This insight can guide the development of design that not only meets functional requirements but also can resonate with a target audience on a deeper level. His book emphasises the significance of making small changes to achieve disproportionately large outcomes. This concept is particularly relevant in creative design and UX, where subtle alterations can have a profound (and often profitable) impact. 
  • We need to encourage each other to explore unconventional solutions and think beyond the obvious.

Sutherland integrates principles of behavioural economics into his book, shedding light on how human behaviour influences decision-making. Understanding these behavioural nuances is invaluable in designing websites or campaigns that stir the emotion of target audiences.

The book challenges the obsession with quantifiable metrics and encourages a broader perspective that includes the unquantifiable aspects of human experience. This sits really deeply with Framework’s values and design ethos.

Key takeaway for Framework
  • We want to push boundaries.
  • Creative endeavours often involve intangible elements that contribute to the overall impact. Think Meerkats in advertising. It’s really doubtful these furry friends were signed off by accountants, firstly seeking an ROI test case – as proof of success. What it does prove is that emotion, if done right – will see a response to trump historical metrics. 
  • Incorporating a book club into the fabric of our agency is definitely a catalyst for growth, learning, and innovation. 
  • Rory Sutherland’s ‘Alchemy’ serves as a powerful guide, inspiring us to further explore our approach to creativity, perception, and problem-solving. As we continue to investigate diverse literary works, we anticipate further breakthroughs and development, and of course we shall keep you posted. 

If there has been one piece of criticism, the book for many was a little too wordy. 

Many felt they found it hard to commit to a nine hour audiobook, or a six hour read. Having said this, we all got there – but in light of this feedback, next month’s book will likely be something a little shorter and lighter on its feet – Paul Arden’s “It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be” seems like a good choice. 


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