Feature

My Desk: Rory Sutherland

When we had twins and decided to move out of London, Patrick Collister advised us that the best places to live if you work in Canary Wharf were Kent and Essex.

My Desk: Rory Sutherland
My Desk: Rory Sutherland

We happened to look at Kent first, which is why my photograph does not show me wearing a towelling robe and gold necklace standing next to a Range Rover Overfinch.

This flat we bought is in the former attic of a Robert Adam house in Kent, built in 1781 for George III's doctor. Buying good architecture is a much cheaper way of buying good art than buying conventional art, and it uplifts the spirit more. Great paintings cost 1,000 times more than crap paintings; but great buildings cost about 5 per cent more than ugly ones. I don't know why this is, exactly.

What you see here is a corner of our sitting room where I sometimes work - mostly between 10pm and 2am, which is the only time I can concentrate on anything. I get up bloody late, though - around nine. There are two good reasons for this: the traffic is much lighter, for one thing, but also I have found, through repeated experience, that most people who get up early are complete shits. When you travel early in the morning, most of your fellow passengers are arseholes.

Three of the remote controls (1) are identical - they all operate the Sky HD box. Duplication is essential if you have children. One of the greatest benefits of being mildly prosperous is you can afford lots of socks and remote controls - and avoid the annoyance of losing things by buying too many of them. Those wires that sync an Apple device with a laptop? I have about 50 of them.

I am one of those oddballs who demands some form of constant background noise. Sky News (2) is a good source, with its constant supply of fat, shouty men. Internet radio is a good alternative - if you have a smartphone, do get an app called TuneIn Radio: it's a little gem, and costs something like £1.79. One of the strange things about the modern economy is there is no correlation at all between what things cost and how useful or pleasurable they are. Those radio-controlled helicopters (3) cost about £15, but Louis XIV would have given you half of Gascony to own one.

That's an Android tablet (4), not an iPad. A Samsung Galaxy. I make heavy use of tablets, since my laptop is so ludicrously large. I watch a lot of films and TV documentaries on the laptop, which is why I chose the largest one you can get. The phone attachment (5) plugs into a laptop or iPad so you can use Skype.

My books (6) here are either on crime fiction or behavioural economics. Popular Crime is a very interesting book by Bill James, the baseball statistician featured in Moneyball. Most of the other books are on crime, especially Fred and Rose West, including a book called An Evil Love, the foreword of which contains the world's most unexpected acknowledgement to Jeremy Bullmore.

It's not just about serial killers, I might add, just in case you think I am some weird deviant. What I find fascinating about crime writing is that, in a way, it's like free market research. You get to learn the lives of ordinary people in incredible detail. Plus, someone gets killed, which you don't get in most research, unfortunately.

I keep trying to persuade one of my daughters to become a forensic pathologist, much to her annoyance. She wants to be a singer or an actress. The pictures (7) show my wife Sophie and my twin daughters Millie and Hetty when they were small (they're now ten). Although it is mandatory to pretend you like babies, I frankly found them conversationally quite limited. I much prefer my children now when they are ten and you can argue with them and when they swear and tell you jokes.

You can also inculcate in them your own unattractive right-wing prejudices. "The good thing about this car park, Dad, is that there aren't too many bloody disabled spaces," my daughter said in Sainsbury's the other day. I was so proud, I nearly cried.

It seems I am wearing odd socks (8). I didn't notice.

Rory Sutherland is the vice-chairman at Ogilvy & Mather UK.

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