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Spent: Sex, Evolution, and Consumer Behavior

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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A leading evolutionary psychologist probes the hidden instincts behind our working, shopping, and spending

Evolutionary psychology-the compelling science of human nature-has clarified the prehistoric origins of human behavior and influenced many fields ranging from economics to personal relationships. In Spent Geoffrey Miller applies this revolutionary science's principles to a new domain: the sensual wonderland of marketing and status seeking that we call American consumer culture. Starting with the basic notion that the goods and services we buy unconsciously advertise our biological potential as mates and friends, Miller examines the hidden factors that dictate our choices in everything from lipstick to cars, from the magazines we read to the music we listen to. With humor and insight, Miller analyzes an array of product choices and deciphers what our decisions say about ourselves, giving us access to a new way of understanding-and improving-our behaviors. Like Freakonomics or The Tipping Point, Spent is a bold and revelatory book that illuminates the unseen logic behind the chaos of consumerism and suggests new ways we can become happier consumers and more responsible citizens.

Review:

"Evolutionary psychologist Miller (The Mating Mind) examines conspicuous consumption in order to further his (not entirely complementary) goals — to rectify marketing's poor understanding of human spending behavior and critique consumerist culture. According to the author, our purchases are powerful indicators of our personality and are used to lure in suitable mates and friends. The book defends the current psychological view of personality as varying along six axes: intelligence, openness to new experiences, conscientiousness, agreeableness, emotional stability and extroversion. While there is significant support for the author's contention that variation in these basic categories reflect genetic inheritance, preferences for each of them vary from society to society, from historical moment to moment and even within individual lives (e.g., conscientiousness tends to increase over the course of our lives as mating strategies shift from attracting short-term partners to maintaining long-term relationships). Miller is an engaging writer, even if his attempts at humor fall flat. What remains troubling is his failure to account for how a full range of traits can coexist in the same cultural environment and continue to be perpetuated across generations." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

A leading evolutionary psychologist probes the unconscious instincts behind American consumer culture

Illuminating the hidden reasons for why we buy what we do, Spent applies evolutionary psychology to the sensual wonderland of marketing and perceived status that is American consumer culture. Geoffrey Miller starts with the theory that we purchase things to advertise ourselves to others, and then examines other factors that dictate what we spend money on. With humor and insight, Miller analyzes an array of product choices and deciphers what our decisions say about ourselves, giving us access to a new way of understanding-and improving-our behaviors to become happier consumers.

About the Author

Geoffrey Miller is an evolutionary psychologist and author of The Mating Mind. He was educated at Columbia and Stanford and is associate professor of psychology at the University of New Mexico. He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with his wife, daughter and many products.

Table of Contents

Spent. 1. Darwin Goes to the Mall

2. The Genius of Marketing

3. Why Marketing Is Central to Culture

4. This Is Your Brain on Money

5. The Fundamental Consumerist Delusion

6. Flaunting Fitness

7. Conspicuous Waste, Precision, and Reputation

8. Self-Branding Bodies, Self-Marketing Minds

9. The Central Six

10. Traits That Consumers Flaunt and Marketers Ignore

11. General Intelligence

12. Openness

13. Conscientiousness

14. Agreeableness

15. The Centrifugal Soul

16. The Will to Display

17. Legalizing Freedom

Exercises for the Reader

Further Reading and Viewing

Acknowledgments

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780670020621
Subtitle:
Exposing Our Complicated Relationship with Shopping
Author:
Miller, Geoffrey
Publisher:
Penguin Books
Subject:
Consumer Behavior - General
Subject:
Life Sciences - Evolution
Subject:
Consumer behavior
Subject:
Consumption (economics)
Subject:
Economics - Macroeconomics
Subject:
Business - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Series Volume:
Sex, Evolution, and
Publication Date:
20100525
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
8.54 x 5.6 x 0.82 in 0.7 lb
Age Level:
17-17

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
History and Social Science » Economics » General

Spent: Sex, Evolution, and Consumer Behavior Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$11.95 In Stock
Product details 384 pages Viking Books - English 9780670020621 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Evolutionary psychologist Miller (The Mating Mind) examines conspicuous consumption in order to further his (not entirely complementary) goals — to rectify marketing's poor understanding of human spending behavior and critique consumerist culture. According to the author, our purchases are powerful indicators of our personality and are used to lure in suitable mates and friends. The book defends the current psychological view of personality as varying along six axes: intelligence, openness to new experiences, conscientiousness, agreeableness, emotional stability and extroversion. While there is significant support for the author's contention that variation in these basic categories reflect genetic inheritance, preferences for each of them vary from society to society, from historical moment to moment and even within individual lives (e.g., conscientiousness tends to increase over the course of our lives as mating strategies shift from attracting short-term partners to maintaining long-term relationships). Miller is an engaging writer, even if his attempts at humor fall flat. What remains troubling is his failure to account for how a full range of traits can coexist in the same cultural environment and continue to be perpetuated across generations." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by ,

A leading evolutionary psychologist probes the unconscious instincts behind American consumer culture

Illuminating the hidden reasons for why we buy what we do, Spent applies evolutionary psychology to the sensual wonderland of marketing and perceived status that is American consumer culture. Geoffrey Miller starts with the theory that we purchase things to advertise ourselves to others, and then examines other factors that dictate what we spend money on. With humor and insight, Miller analyzes an array of product choices and deciphers what our decisions say about ourselves, giving us access to a new way of understanding-and improving-our behaviors to become happier consumers.

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