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Dirty, sexy money

What can Darwin tell you about your shopping habits? According to evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller, the answer is pretty much everything

Spent: Sex, Evolution, and the Secrets of Consumerism By Geoffrey Miller (Heinemann, £20)

Why write a book about the evolutionary psychology of consumerism? As the success of John Naish’s Enough (subtitled “breaking free from the world of more”) proved in 2008, the modern publishing environment is hospitable to this particular species. But why write one? To change the world? To make money? No. Geoffrey Miller’s answer to this kind of question is simple: it’s all about showing off. Our evolutionary history has bequeathed us strong tendencies to display signals that indicate our desirability. Being an author, for example, advertises intelligence—something…

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