The Consuming Instinct

The Consuming Instinct

What Juicy Burgers, Ferraris, Pornography, and Gift Giving Reveal About Human Nature

Book - 2011
Average Rating:
Rate this:
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.
Publisher: Amherst, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, 2011
ISBN: 9781616144296
Branch Call Number: 339.47 Sa11C 2011
Characteristics: 374 pages, 12 unnumbered pages of plates : color illustrations ; 24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Mar 21, 2019

Evolutionary psychology is a new field of study that shows how Darwinian forces of natural and sexual selection drive human behaviour. This book is an easy read that uses many studies and examples to illustrate how we may not be masters of our desires and consumer decisions.

Feb 24, 2019

I found this fascinating and I feel better armed against the tools and tricks of marketers.

I cant stand books like this. NO you cant summarize our entire population in one book. There are too many people for us all to be so similar. I hate everything on the cover except gift giving anyway.

Dec 09, 2015

Skip this one, Saad explains things most people already inherently know. I was a bit bored reading this one.

Nov 02, 2012

This is probably the best explanation of human behaviour that I have read to date. While Gad Saad’s compilation provides a systematic and consistent foundation for the social sciences, his framework will probably be resisted by the traditional “blank slate” brigade for a long time to come.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at SPL

To Top