The Consuming Instinct

The Consuming Instinct

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

Book - 2011
Average Rating:
Rate this:
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 questions is "the consuming instinct," the underlying evolutionary basis for most of our consumer behavior. In this book, the author, founder of the new field of evolutionary consumption, illuminates the relevance of our biological heritage to our daily lives as consumers. While culture is important, he 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). This 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. This work, which deals with the biological basis of human behavior and in what makes consumers tick, is of interest to marketing professionals, advertisers, psychology mavens, and consumers themselves.
Publisher: Amherst, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, 2011
ISBN: 9781616144296
Characteristics: 374 p., [12] p. of plates : ill. (chiefly col.) ; 24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

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 MenloPark

To Top