Summary of Spent

Sex, Evolution, and Consumer Behavior

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Spent book summary
Evolutionary psychology sheds light on marketing: The items people buy send signals about their identity.

Rating

8 Overall

7 Importance

9 Innovation

9 Style

Recommendation

Evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller examines modern consumer culture through a scientific lens. The result is thought-provoking, useful and often witty, but a bit uneven. Miller does of fine job of explaining evolutionary psychology and, especially, of showing how the endless purchases that define “consumerist capitalism” come from an unacknowledged need to demonstrate physical characteristics or personality traits to others. This section of the book will interest anyone seeking original social critique. The highly focused discussion of the “Central Six” personality traits provides a stable foundation for evaluating other people or marketing to them. The final section, in which Miller proposes social alternatives to consumerism, challenges existing culture, but is not nearly as convincing (or, strangely) as witty as the earlier sections. getAbstract recommends this book to marketing and human resources professionals, and to any reader who wants to think deeply about the foundations of societies and their economies.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How human evolution drives economic behavior
  • How purchases that denote youthfulness signal reproductive fitness
  • What “Central Six” traits people share – and what those characteristics mean
 

Summary

Evolutionary Psychology, Marketing and “Consumerist Capitalism”
Why do people buy certain items, particularly really expensive, impractical things, like the Hummer H1, which costs $139,771 and gets 10 miles per gallon? The answer resides in biology, in the specific context in which humanity...
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About the Author

Geoffrey Miller is author of The Mating Mind and a professor of evolutionary psychology at the University of New Mexico.


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