Rory Sutherland rssWiki man

Rory Sutherland is vice-chairman of Ogilvy Group UK. He writes The Spectator’s Wiki Man column.

A lesson in decision-making from the world’s worst road sign

28 March 2015

Driving from Dover on the M20 a year ago I missed the turning for the M25. A month later I did it again. Then again. ‘You bloody idiot — you… Read more

Can you see it?

How to make Ukip supporters love green policies

14 March 2015

Few people know this, but hidden within the FedEx logo, between the E and the x, there is a small white arrow, pointing to the right. I feel slightly guilty… Read more

Want more diversity? Hire groups, not individuals

28 February 2015

If I were to give you a budget to choose your perfect house, you would quickly have a clear idea of what to buy. And typically your perfect house will… Read more


From Umbrella Man to the Coughing Major, the truth is often very strange

14 February 2015

Are you sitting comfortably and wearing your tinfoil hat? If so, open YouTube and watch a full-screen version of the Zapruder film, in particular the section after frame 215 where… Read more

No Strings

How consumer habits are subject to the law of unintended consequences

31 January 2015

Some time in the 1960s, a group of people in an advertising agency (among them Llewelyn Thomas, son of Dylan) found themselves debating the direction of causation in the purchase… Read more


The joys and sorrows of two-way ratings systems

17 January 2015

‘J’ai failli attendre’ — ‘I almost had to wait’ — allegedly said by Louis XIV when his carriage drew up just a few seconds before he reached the bottom of the palace… Read more


Let’s appoint a Ministry of Scandalous Ideas

3 January 2015

My children have a phrase called ‘fomo’ — which stands for ‘fear of missing out’. It is a constant, mildly paranoid anxiety, exacerbated by social media, that all your friends… Read more


How to pick the perfect present

13 December 2014

I had always attributed it to bad luck in the genetic lottery. I am three-eighths Welsh and a quarter Scottish, which is a rotten mixture: part Cavalier, part Roundhead. This… Read more


Have the people who design trains and airports noticed that laptops exist?

6 December 2014

It’s taken years to work this out, but there is a subtle art to designing an airport lounge. 1) Install power sockets and add useful tables and comfortable chairs… 2)… Read more

Stained Glass Car 1A

Driven by instinct

29 November 2014

I first discovered Moravec’s Paradox when watching Brief Encounter on television. I was watching the film with my daughter, who was then about seven; she had wandered in and began… Read more

Facebook's Influence In Consumer Consumption Of News Growing

The secrets that your clicks give away

22 November 2014

About four years ago, an irate father in Minneapolis walked into his local Target shop with a complaint. He wanted to know why they were sending his daughter, who was… Read more


S&M&B&Q: Why aren’t there sex-and-shopping novels for men?

8 November 2014

I never got beyond page 20 in Fifty Shades of Grey. No one got shot in the first chapter, and there were more than four characters, so I rapidly found… Read more


The best navigation idea I’ve seen since the Tube map

25 October 2014

I stopped using London buses when some coward put doors on them. Twenty years ago, you could board any bus headed in the right direction and when it diverged from… Read more

The Garden of England

Why everywhere should be more like Essex

11 October 2014

Apart from the Wye Valley, where I grew up, there are only two places in Britain I’d consider living: Kent and Essex. Since Kent grabbed the ‘Garden of England’ moniker,… Read more

Red or white… or nothing

Was the phrasing of the Scottish referendum question designed to create division?

27 September 2014

It is a trick which often works on children. Do not tell them to eat vegetables; instead ask whether they want broccoli or spinach. Question such as ‘Red or white?’… Read more

Scotland Prepares For Independence Vote

Why is nationalism OK when prefixed by the word ‘Scottish’ but not ‘British?’

13 September 2014

My second favourite religious joke is an old Jewish joke (which I read in the Harvard Review, so I assume it has passed the political correctness test). Two Jews pass… Read more

Why don’t more non-smokers try e-cigarettes?

30 August 2014

I was waiting on an office forecourt recently puffing on an e-cigarette when a security guard came out. ‘You can’t smoke here,’ he shouted. ‘I’m not, actually,’ I replied. He… Read more

"A peacock is a wankified pheasant"

How oneupmanship wrecks things for everyone

16 August 2014

‘There’s a little bit of a fascist in all of us. For some, the tragedy of human want may provoke an impatient urge to expropriate and centralise economic resources. Others,… Read more


Four gadgets to take on holiday — and two to leave behind

2 August 2014

One inarguably good thing about electronic publishing is that it solves that old quandary about what books to pack for your holiday — you just take a tablet or Kindle… Read more


Why we’ll never go back to smoking indoors

19 July 2014

What would happen, I wonder, were we to rescind the smoking ban as Nigel Farage wants? My guess is not much. Most restaurants would keep the existing rules. Some pubs… Read more


Adam Smith is the father of more than one sort of economics

5 July 2014

Gandhi would test his resolve by sleeping between two naked virgins, an avenue not really open to me, as my wife is an Anglican vicar: though Anglicanism imposes almost no… Read more


The six things that'll change when I rule the world

21 June 2014

But why did the food [in England] stay so bad after refrigerated ships, frozen foods and eventually air-freight deliveries of fresh fish and vegetables had become available? … The answer… Read more


How user-friendly is your house?

7 June 2014

Old Glaswegian joke: ‘Put your hat and coat on, lassie, I’m off to the pub.’ ‘That’s nice — are you taking me with you?’ ‘No, I’m just switching the central… Read more

Winner of Eurovision, Conchita Wurst Photo: Getty

This strategy won Eurovision. It could also save your life

24 May 2014

Oskar Morgenstern grew up in Vienna, John von Neumann in Budapest. Clearly the same Austro-Hungarian intellectual spirit which gave rise to Zur Theorie der Gesellschaftsspiele and their seminal joint work… Read more


Why I no longer want to live in America

10 May 2014

A few years ago I would have quite liked to live in America. I’m not sure now. For one thing, most of the things perfected by Americans (convenience, entertainment, technology,… Read more