The Consuming Instinct: What Juicy Burgers, Ferraris, Pornography, and Gift Giving Reveal about Human Natureby Gad Saad
In this highly informative and entertaining book, the founder of the vibrant new field of evolutionary consumption illuminates the relevance of our biological heritage to our daily lives as consumers. While culture is important, the author shows that innate evolutionary forces deeply influence the foods we eat, the gifts we offer, the cosmetics and clothing styles
In this highly informative and entertaining book, the founder of the vibrant new field of evolutionary consumption illuminates the relevance of our biological heritage to our daily lives as consumers. While culture is important, the author shows that innate evolutionary forces deeply influence the foods we eat, the gifts we offer, the cosmetics and clothing styles we choose to make ourselves more attractive to potential mates, and even the cultural products that stimulate our imaginations (such as art, music, and religion).
The book demonstrates that most acts of consumption can be mapped onto four key Darwinian drives—namely, survival (we prefer foods high in calories); reproduction (we use products as sexual signals); kin selection (we naturally exchange gifts with family members); and reciprocal altruism (we enjoy offering gifts to close friends). The author further highlights the analogous behaviors that exist between human consumers and a wide range of animals.
For anyone interested in the biological basis of human behavior or simply in what makes consumers tick—marketing professionals, advertisers, psychology mavens, and consumers themselves—this is a fascinating read.
"…will appeal to readers interested in the biological basis of human behavior, the age-old debate of nature versus nurture, and especially what makes consumers tick…. clearly essential for marketing professionals, advertisers, and psychologists…"
"Covering everything from pornography to Wall Street, this thought-provoking title induces readers to take a deep look at how they live."
An evolutionary psychologist goes on a mission to prove that modern-day consumerism is imbedded in our caveman DNA.
CelebratedPsychology Todayblogger Saad comes out punching, and the ghost of Charles Darwin just might be in his corner, cheering him on. Accepting that human beings evolved from earlier primates may be hard enough for some, but the author aims for the jugular when he suggests that infidelity might be imbedded in a cheating husband's genes. Like an oncologist trying to understand a cancerous tumor, Saad insists he's only trying to get a handle on what makes humans tick. But viewing the human experience solely through the lens of evolutionary psychology will make many uncomfortable. Corporate giants who spend millions of dollars each year in an attempt to mold and manipulate consumers get a pass. But readers not inclined to view fatty cheeseburgers as savvy insurance policies against times of caloric privation or birthday gifts simply as bids at social reciprocity will want to hit back. Saad's dismissive tone also detracts from the scientific smackdown he delivers; when the author declares that the clinically depressed are the only ones not suffering from the "delusional glow" of self-help books, readers may wonder if Saad isn't getting a little punchy himself.
The "nature versus nurture" debate might not be laid to rest here, but there is plenty to ponder in this provocative read.
- Prometheus Books
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Meet the Author
Gad Saad, Ph.D. (Montreal, Canada), a popular blogger for Psychology Today ("Homo-Consumericus"), is a professor of marketing at the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University. He holds the Concordia University Research Chair in Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences and Darwinian Consumption and is the author of The Evolutionary Bases of Consumption, plus numerous scientific papers.
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >