Geoffrey Miller

Illuminating the hidden reasons for why we buy what we do, Spent applies evolutionary psychology to the sensual wonderland of marketing and perceived status that is American consumer culture. Geoffrey Miller starts with the theory that we purchase things to advertise ourselves to others, and then examines other factors that dictate what we spend money on. With humor and insight, Miller analyzes an array of product choices and deciphers what our decisions say about ourselves, giving us access to a new way of understanding-and improving-our behaviors to become happier consumers.

status Copy #1 (7109): in
genre Social Science ยป Sociology
publisher Viking
publish date 2010
popularity checked out 1 time(s)


  • By Jasmine Koster -

    Engaging and witty, I was at first enamored with this critique of consumerism as seen through the lens of evolutionary psychology. The scholar leading the discussion, Geoffry Miller, leads into his proposal for a new view on capitalism…not one of either extremes (it’s excellent! per the rapturous 1% , it sucks, frowns most everyone else not utterly resigned and ambivalent to its plethora of disastrious yet enigmatically appealing facets), but that combines the best attributes of today’s life enhancing innovations and yesterday’s tight-knit, easy going social constructs. I would tread lightly, though, because the author takes a heteronormative stance on all humanity as well as assuming all humans have embraced consumerism (like it or not) and none still live in said “primitive” Cro-magnon manners of 30-thou years past (this is ethnocentric–the globe is full of diverse cultures that, if ignorance rather than respect and recognition persists, will die in vain). Despite assuming we are all heterosexual, capitalistic and resemble the elephant seal in our attention to needs, the book attempts to engage capitalistic discourse in an intelligent and provacative manner–it did manage to raise my shackles a bit, and succeeded in generating debate and critical thought on the way our world seems to work these days. I give it a 4. As with all discourses including the tome that is this review, read it but take it with a grain of your own critique.

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