Synopses & Reviews
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.
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
15. The Centrifugal Soul
16. The Will to Display
17. Legalizing Freedom
Exercises for the Reader
Further Reading and Viewing