Science can’t stand ignorance; to science, ignorance is a vacuum to be filled. It’s not just mapping genes and studying what used to be called junk DNA. (And now is found to contain the switches that turn genes on or off.) Before long, we will know why people buy virtually everything and, more importantly, why they don’t buy.

Prowling Borders this past weekend, I came across “The Buying Brain,” by Dr. A.K. Pradeep (Wiley, 2010). Wow. Did you know people buy yogurt because they like to open the foil wrap at the top? Well, if you hook people up with sensors, it’s possible to tell why they do things, even including buying yogurt.

Pradeep says our head and eyes are physically arranged to maximize our ability as predators. Read the book and see why.

In terms of what we do now that we don’t have to battle sabre-toothed tigers — whether you feel predatory or perhaps kinder and gentler — it’s possible to manage your product or service for maximum appeal.

Consider Apple. According to Pradeep, “Apple made an innately strategic decision a long time ago to help the brain do what it loves to do: identify and categorize. Apple focused on consumer ease of use, inherent fear/distrust of complicated and, therefore, intimidating technology, and designed beautiful products and packaging, which in turn gave the Apple brand enhanced manning and an even stronger, consistent, and lasting identity.”

Does this give you any ideas for your financial planning practice?

Pradeep is a terrific writer, and you’ll follow the brain through hunting and gathering (cave men and women) and be amazed to realize that 70,000 or so years ago there were probably only about 2,000 mating pairs of humans. You’ll also discover why women make most buying decisions.

Are we not living at a great time? We are, after 150,000 or so years, learning how our bodies and brains work, perhaps the greatest frontier of all.

Have a sensational week!

Check out more blog entries from Richard Hoe.