The Nature of Being Human and How to Succeed in the Dynamic Human Marketplace (Part One – Human Nature; Can and Should Women Have Sex Like A Man?; Economic Life and, Social Image) – by Gary S. Smolker

For the readers convenience the material which follows is a portion (approximately 1/7th) of a combination book report and movie review previously published/posted on this blog.

That entire article can be found at, posted on August 2, 2015.


The book “Cool” and the movie “Trainwreck” are about the same topics: human nature, human tendencies, human motivations, why we think the way we do, why we do what we do, why things happen to us they way they do and the forces causing  society to be visibly changing in front of our eyes.

Among other things, “Cool” is about money, power, sex, instant gratification, relationships, food, diets, dieting, dieters, vanity, why we consume what we consume, what our pattern of consumption reveals and conveys about ourselves, the dramatic changes in society that have occurred in the past thirty years including the sex life of women, dramatic changes in the status of women, the dramatic changes in women’s participation in society, the evolving status, the self-image women have of themselves and what a man should do to if he wants to get the favorable attention of a woman.

The story told in the movie “Trainwreck” illustrates many of the points made in the book “Cool” and vice versa.

“Cool” is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the nature of being human or who seeks guidance on how to succeed in the dynamic human marketplace.

Any one who wants to sell anything to younger people should read “Cool.”

The authors of “Cool” discuss how young people decide what to buy.

The authors of “Cool” report:

  • “Today, young people believe that their musical taste is the best indicator of their identity…” 
  • There is a deep consensus among young people about what various kinds of music reveal about fans’ personalities, values, ethics and even social class.
  • The authors of “Cool” point out there are about 25 million songs for sale today and more than one thousand distinct musical genres.
  • Just before the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee of the United States Senate held hearings on offensive content in records in response to Tipper Gore’s campaign and proposal to have music rating labels, requiring albums bearing warnings to be be placed under store counters, forbidding  such works to be broadcast, and asking music companies to reassess their contracts with musicians who produced explicit music (rating categories to be based on sex, masturbation, violence, the occult, and drug and alcohol use content), none other than Donny Osmond made the point on Nightline that a sticker would make an album cool and kids would want it that much more.  He even said he might have to add some suggestive lyrics to his own songs to avoid a dreaded G rating that would doom sales.
  • Madonna, whose album in 1984 Like A Virgin sealed her global recognition has gone on to become the best selling solo artist of all times, to appear on Time’s 2010 list of “The 25 Most Powerful Women of the Past Century, and was the highest-paid musician of 2013, earning $125 million.
  • Even as early as her 1984 “Like A Virgin” performance, Madonna parodied the social commodification and fetishizing of female virginity.

Can and Should A Woman Have Sex Like A Man?

“Cool” contains a very interesting discussion of sex therapist Ian Kerner’s 2009  article titled “Can You (and Should You) Have Sex Like a Man?”:

Writing on “Today’s” health blog, he warned that the female orgasm releases oxytocin, a hormone that predisposes women to attachment, and when attachment is not forthcoming ‘orgasm becomes a regretful reminder of the hollowness of the sex that preceded it.’

Suggesting an even worse picture of the dire emotional consequences of casual sex, the University of Southern California professor Ruth White adds that while a woman’s brain releases oxytocin, men’s brain release testosterone, which ‘drives them off  to find some other women with whom to spread their biological material.’

Quartz and Asp point out that the authors (Kerner and White) get the biological facts wrong.  They leave out the fact that male orgasm likewise releases oxytocin – indeed oxytocin appears to play a central role in male monogamy.

They also point to a study which reported that men and women college students report identical rates of casual sex, and that women were not more motivated by the thought that hookups might result in long-term relationships, indicating casual sex has equal appeal for both sexes.  They found no negative effects on well-being.

The movie “Trainwreck” takes the path cut by Madonna in “Like A Virgin” one step further by showing what would happen if women were able to turn-the-tables on men in their sexual relationships with men.

By the way, in the United States, the last forty years have seen the most dramatic and most rapid transformation of gender relations in the United State’s history.

The movie “Trainwreck” takes the path cut by Madonna in “Like A Virgin” one step further by showing what would happen if women were able to turn-the-tables on men in their sexual relationships with men.



The authors of “Cool”  (Steven Quartz and Anette) discuss what they found from studying brain activity scans.

They also talk about biological and evolutionary forces that cause us to do what we do.

They talk about food – why we eat what we eat; they talk about dieting – why and how the human brain works against dieting.

In addition to talking about food, they talk about sex, they talk directly about how women choose their sexual partners, how women evaluate men.

They also talk about personal, cultural, and group identities and why those identities are so important to us.

They talk about having street creed and securing the trust of other people.

They talk about how the three “identities” (our personal identity, group identity and cultural identity) impact our behavior, including what we buy and sell and how we act.

They talk about what our actions signal to others.

They talk about status (swagger and star presence), social identity, and social norms.

They talk about why social hierarchies exist.

They discuss how your pattern of consumption conveys who you are to yourself and to others.

They discuss how and why material objects are symbols with meanings that communicate values, identities, aspirations and even fears.

They even discuss Margaret Thatcher’s remark that there is no such thing as society.

They tie all of the above to (a) what we consume, (b) why we consume what we consume, (c) how we interact with (i) other people, (ii) society, and (iii) the world we live in.

They also discuss the “real reason” people work.

Economic Life and Social Image

According to Quartz and Asp our economic life isn’t about just the bare necessities.

If it were, we’d stop working as soon as we had food and shelter – just like every other animal.

According to Quartz and Asp after people obtain bare necessities what people really work to obtain is recognition from others – to be viewed favorably.

Why does that happen?

According to Quartz and Asp:

  1. Human beings are social animals.
  2. Your brain keeps track of your social image – your perception of how other people evaluate you.
  3. It’s doing it all the time, usually outside your awareness.
  4. You and me and all other human beings are exquisitely sensitive to the approval and disapproval of others.
  5. When you see a product your brain computes how much it will likely enhance or hurt your social image.

TAKE AWAY: In an economy of abundance people invest great personal meaning in their purchasing decisions.

I don’t know to what degree people invest a great personal meaning in their purchasing decisions.

Many people don’t have time to go shopping, they are too busy working and/or they have to struggle to pay for and sometimes can not pay for their bare necessities.

I expect whether or not people invest great personal meaning in their purchasing decisions depends upon a person’s personal situation and personality, including their age, their health, their maturity, their wealth, the groups they belong to (if any), their success in whatever they are doing, their self-esteem, their education, their experience, their job, their satisfaction with whom they are, etc.

Brain Based Quest for Esteem

Quartz and Asp are convinced we have a brain based quest for esteem.

Status seeking is not artificial.

Status seeking is not imposed by an unjust and crass society.

Status seeking is a natural element of being human.

Products Have a Social Life

According to Quart’s and Asp’s point of view, products are valued for their imaged effect on social image.

The impact of products on social identity (personal identity, group identity and cultural identity) is discussed in the following sections titled “There’s A Big Symbolic Difference Between Riding A Harley and Riding A Ducati,” “Our Social Life Is Rife with Displays of Our Value As A Social Partner,” “Communication Involves More Than The Words You Speak”,  “Car Culture and Social Identity”, “What Is Your Favorite Book?” and “Signaling Your Social Identity to Others.”

Copyright © 2015 by Gary Smolker, All Rights Reserved


About Gary S. Smolker

PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY: No enterprise can exist for itself alone. Every successful enterprise ministers to some great need, it performs some great service, not for itself, but for others. Otherwise, it ceases to be profitable and ceases to exist. Imagination, open mindedness and flexibility are the most important factors in unlocking potential. Those who embrace innovation, improvisation, continuous learning, time management, are action oriented, high energy, passionate, creative, purposeful and intense individuals are best equipped to succeed. We all have ideas and the ability to make progress by sharing information and our ideas and also by changing our ideas when appropriate. We should always be on the lookout for teaching and mentoring moments. We hold time like water in our hands; however tightly we clench our fingers, it drips away. But, if it falls on a seed, a seed may grow to become something that will have a positive social impact. PERSONAL INTERESTS: I have a passion to learn, to innovate, to lead, to mentor and to teach. I seek to write things worth reading and want to do things worth writing about. I enjoy (a) driving a fast car, (b) having intense conversations (c) teaching/mentoring, (d) reading and (e) being involved in productive activity. PERSONAL: I believe in cultivating and backing passionate people, innovation, and old fashioned good ideas. I love making human connections and spreading good ideas. I am strongly motivated to achieve in situations in which independence of thought and action are called for. PERSONAL GOALS: I want to live life vibrantly, to be as sharp as a tack until my last breath and to change the world by being me. My personal goal is to be fully engaged in life, to lead by example, to set high standards and to continue to amass firsthand experience and knowledge in all that interests me. PERSONALITY: I love fun and mischief. I relish absurdity. I have an irreverent, facetious and satiric disposition. I dread boredom. I have spent a lifetime reading. I have no bias against people who have lived successful and/or complicated lives. I write to release tension, to get things off my chest. SOCIAL MEDIA: I post articles on the "Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange" blog at, and "Dude's Guide to Women's Shoes" at I also post images and comments on Instagram @garyspassion. CONTACT INFORMATION: Gary Smolker, Smolker Law Firm, 16055 Ventura Blvd., Ste 525, Encino, California, 91436-2609, USA. Phone 1-818-788-7290, e-mail

Posted on September 4, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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