Foreword by David M. Buss
Author of The Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology and The Evolution of Desire
“What’s your guilty pleasure? Junk food? Fast cars? Champagne? To shop until you drop? What makes consumers tick? Psychologist Gad Saad writes of the innate needs, preferences, and drives that spur many of our most treasured appetites and behaviors—all soft-wired into the human brain in deep history for purposes of survival and reproduction. We are natural-born consumers. And as Saad elegantly examines our daily rituals and tastes (and he gives us troves of fascinating data from around the world), he brings our common human heritage to life. I’ll never look at my high-heeled shoes or a buffet the same way again. It’s a smart read for all who sell, all who buy, and all who really want to understand others and themselves. You may even come away thinking: I consume, therefore I am.”
Biological anthropologist, Rutgers University; author of Why Him? Why Her?
“This is a fun, sexy, eclectic, and irreverent book by a pioneer of evolutionary consumer psychology. Saad shows how to make Darwinian theory your secret weapon in product development, branding, marketing, and advertising. This work could herald a fundamental change in how we think about the lives of consumers and the nature of business.”
Author of The Mating Mind and Spent: Sex, Evolution, and Consumer Behavior
“Juicy burgers, Ferraris, pornography, and gift giving are the stuff of human nature. Evolutionary psychologist Gad Saad tells us just how and why, and much more, in The Consuming Instinct. With wit, charm, and crystal clarity, Saad lays bare the evolutionary underpinnings of consumerism.”
TODD K. SHACKELFORD
Professor and chair of psychology, Oakland University; editor of Evolutionary Psychology
“I urge you to consume The Consuming Instinct! Using cogent examples from popular culture deftly mixed with an expert’s grasp of modern evolutionary biology, Dr. Saad shows how our biology underlies our consumer choices. Like nothing else on the market today, it will help you understand why we purchase and pay attention as we do. Indeed, never has science for the layperson been presented more cogently or accessibly when it comes to our daily economic activities.”
DAVID P. BARASH
Professor of psychology, University of Washington
Coauthor of Payback: Why We Retaliate, Redirect Aggression, and Take Revenge
- What do all successful fast-food restaurants have in common?
- Why do men’s testosterone levels rise when they drive a Ferrari or a Porsche?
- Why are women more likely to become compulsive shoppers and men more likely to become addicted to pornography?
- How does the fashion industry play on our innate need to belong?
The answer to all of these intriguing questions is “the consuming instinct,” the underlying evolutionary basis for most of our consumer behavior.
In this highly informative and entertaining book, Dr. Gad Saad, 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, Dr. Saad 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 Consuming Instinct 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—The Consuming Instinct is a fascinating read.
Pages: 374 (illustrations and color photographs)
Shipping Weight: 2lbs
Gad Saad, a popular blogger for Psychology Today, 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.