Book Review: The Consuming Instinct

According to the book jacket, this book demonstrates how most acts of consumption can be mapped onto the four Darwinian drives of survival, reproduction, kin selection and reciprocal altruism. What the jacket does not say is just how entertaining, enlightening and informative this book is as Saad reveals the reasons behind consumers’ preferences for fat burgers, fancy cars and the trendiest fashions. By putting forward the idea of evolutionary economics, Saad opens up new concepts in marketing as well as a much clearer understanding of why we respond to certain products the way we do. This includes some interesting, gender specific differences in the items men and women are most likely to indulge in. The author makes an excellent case for the importance of reciprocity, think birthday presents or treating your friends to lunch.

This illuminating read is certain to spark lively discussions although it falls short providing solid marketing strategies so if that is what you seek, look elsewhere. For those curious about the reasons people spend their hard-earned money on the things they do, presented in an understandable format then look no further.


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