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“A fascinating history of corporate America’s efforts to shape our habits and desires.”
—Sean Illing, Vox
“[A] compulsively readable book about bad habits becoming big business…In crisp and playful prose and with plenty of needed humor, Courtwright has written a fascinating history of what we like and why we like it, from the first taste of beer in the ancient Middle East to opioids in West Virginia.”
“A sweeping, ambitious account of the evolution of addiction…This bold, thought-provoking synthesis will appeal to fans of ‘big history’ in the tradition of Guns, Germs, and Steel.”
“A mind-blowing tour de force that unwraps the myriad objects of addiction that surround us daily…This intelligent, incisive, and sometimes grimly entertaining book will become the standard work on the subject.”
—Rod Phillips, author of Alcohol: A History
We live in an age of addiction, from compulsive gaming and shopping to binge eating and opioid abuse. Sugar can be as habit-forming as cocaine, researchers tell us, and social media apps are deliberately hooking our kids. But what can we do to resist temptations that insidiously rewire our brains? A renowned expert on addiction, David Courtwright reveals how global enterprises have both created and catered to our addictions. The Age of Addiction chronicles the triumph of what he calls “limbic capitalism,” the growing network of competitive businesses targeting the brain pathways responsible for feeling, motivation, and long-term memory.