image : Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker is one of the world's leading authorities on language and the mind. His popular and highly praised books include The Stuff of Thought, The Blank Slate, Words and Rules, How the Mind Works, and The Language Instinct. The recipient of several major awards for his teaching, books, and scientific research, Pinker is Harvard College Professor and Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. He also writes frequently for The New York Times, Time, The New Republic, and other magazines.

The Best 12 Books on Steven Pinker

image Steven Pinker

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined

“If I could give each of you a graduation present, it would be this—the most inspiring book I've ever read."
Bill Gates (May, 2017)

Selected by The New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of the Year


The author of Enlightenment Now and The New York Times bestseller The Stuff of Thought offers a controversial history of violence.

Faced with the ceaseless stream of news about war, crime, and terrorism, one could easily think we live in the most violent age ever seen. Yet as New York Times bestselling author Steven Pinker shows in this startling and engaging new work, just the opposite is true: violence has been diminishing for millenia and we may be living in the most peaceful time in our species's existence. For most of history, war, slavery, infanticide, child abuse, assassinations, programs, gruesom punishments, deadly quarrels, and genocide were ordinary features of life. But today, Pinker shows (with the help of more than a hundred graphs and maps) all these forms of violence have dwindled and are widely condemned. How has this happened?

This groundbreaking book continues Pinker's exploration of the esesnce of human nature, mixing psychology and history to provide a remarkable picture of an increasingly nonviolent world. The key, he explains, is to understand our intrinsic motives--the inner demons that incline us toward violence and the better angels that steer us away--and how changing circumstances have allowed our better angels to prevail. Exploding fatalist myths about humankind's inherent violence and the curse of modernity, this ambitious and provocative book is sure to be hotly debated in living rooms and the Pentagon alike, and will challenge and change the way we think about our society.  
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The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

A brilliant inquiry into the origins of human nature from the author of The Better Angels of Our Nature and Enlightenment Now.

"Sweeping, erudite, sharply argued, and fun to read..also highly persuasive." --Time

Now updated with a new afterword

One of the world's leading experts on language and the mind  explores the idea of human nature and its moral, emotional, and political colorings. With characteristic wit, lucidity, and insight, Pinker argues that the dogma that the mind has no innate traits-a doctrine held by many intellectuals during the past century-denies our common humanity and our individual preferences, replaces objective analyses of social problems with feel-good slogans, and distorts our understanding of politics, violence, parenting, and the arts. Injecting calm and rationality into debates that are notorious for ax-grinding and mud-slinging, Pinker shows the importance of an honest acknowledgment of human nature based on science and common sense.
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Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"My new favorite book of all time." --Bill Gates

If you think the world is coming to an end, think again: people are living longer, healthier, freer, and happier lives, and while our problems are formidable, the solutions lie in the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science.

Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? In this elegant assessment of the human condition in the third millennium, cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, which play to our psychological biases. Instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise, not just in the West, but worldwide. This progress is not the result of some cosmic force. It is a gift of the Enlightenment: the conviction that reason and science can enhance human flourishing.

Far from being a naïve hope, the Enlightenment, we now know, has worked. But more than ever, it needs a vigorous defense. The Enlightenment project swims against currents of human nature--tribalism, authoritarianism, demonization, magical thinking--which demagogues are all too willing to exploit. Many commentators, committed to political, religious, or romantic ideologies, fight a rearguard action against it. The result is a corrosive fatalism and a willingness to wreck the precious institutions of liberal democracy and global cooperation.

With intellectual depth and literary flair, Enlightenment Now makes the case for reason, science, and humanism: the ideals we need to confront our problems and continue our progress.]

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The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language (P.S.)

The classic book on the development of human language by the world’s leading expert on language and the mind.

In this classic, the world's expert on language and mind lucidly explains everything you always wanted to know about language: how it works, how children learn it, how it changes, how the brain computes it, and how it evolved. With deft use of examples of humor and wordplay, Steven Pinker weaves our vast knowledge of language into a compelling story: language is a human instinct, wired into our brains by evolution. The Language Instinct received the William James Book Prize from the American Psychological Association and the Public Interest Award from the Linguistics Society of America. This edition includes an update on advances in the science of language since The Language Instinct was first published.

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The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century

 “Charming and erudite," from the author of Enlightenment Now, "The wit and insight and clarity he brings . . . is what makes this book such a gem.” —Time.com
 
Why is so much writing so bad, and how can we make it better? Is the English language being corrupted by texting and social media? Do the kids today even care about good writing—and why should we care? From the author of The Better Angels of Our Nature and Enlightenment Now.

In this entertaining and eminently practical book, the cognitive scientist, dictionary consultant, and New York Times–bestselling author Steven Pinker rethinks the usage guide for the twenty-first century. Using examples of great and gruesome modern prose while avoiding the scolding tone and Spartan tastes of the classic manuals, he shows how the art of writing can be a form of pleasurable mastery and a fascinating intellectual topic in its own right. The Sense of Style is for writers of all kinds, and for readers who are interested in letters and literature and are curious about the ways in which the sciences of mind can illuminate how language works at its best.
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Enlightenment Now

If you follow the news, the 21st century doesn't seem to be going so well. From 9/11 to the Great Recession, the Syrian civil war, the Ebola epidemic, growing inequality, racial unrest and bitterly contested elections, the world seems to be sinking into chaos and hatred. Moralizing commentators tell us that the decline of religious belief and close-knit communities has left us spiritually adrift, without a grounding in moral values, so it's no wonder we're suffering through an epidemic of loneliness, unhappiness and suicide. and then there are the futurologists who speculate on what will finish us off first: resource wars, nuclear annihilation, unstoppable climate change or robots that steal our jobs, enslave us and turn us into raw materials. But, as Steven Pinker argues in this landmark new book, we do not truly inhabit a dystopia of deprivation and violence: In fact, every global measure of human flourishing is on the rise. We're living longer, healthier, safer and more affluent lives-not just in the West, but worldwide. Why? In Enlightenment Now, Pinker proposes that human progress is the gift of a coherent value system that many of us embrace without even knowing it. The values of the Enlightenment underlie all our modern institutions and deserve credit for the stupendous progress we have made. The progress we have enjoyed is not, of course, an excuse for complacency: Some of the challenges we face today are unprecedented in their complexity and scope. The way to deal with these challenges, Pinker argues, is to treat them as problems to solve, as we have solved other problems in our past. Putting the case for an Enlightenment newly recharged for the 21st century, Pinker shows how, by using our faculties of reason and sympathy to understand the world and to enhance human flourishing, we can tackle problems that inevitably come with being products of evolution in an entropic universe.
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How the Mind Works

"A model of scientific writing: erudite, witty, and clear." ―New York Review of Books

In this Pulitzer Prize finalist and national bestseller, one of the world's leading cognitive scientists tackles the workings of the human mind. What makes us rational―and why are we so often irrational? How do we see in three dimensions? What makes us happy, afraid, angry, disgusted, or sexually aroused? Why do we fall in love? And how do we grapple with the imponderables of morality, religion, and consciousness? How the Mind Works synthesizes the most satisfying explanations of our mental life from cognitive science, evolutionary biology, and other fields to explain what the mind is, how it evolved, and how it allows us to see, think, feel, laugh, interact, enjoy the arts, and contemplate the mysteries of life.

This edition of Pinker's bold and buoyant classic is updated with a new foreword by the author.

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The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature

This New York Times bestseller is an exciting and fearless investigation of language from the author of Better Angels of Our Nature and The Sense of Style and Enlightenment Now.

"Curious, inventive, fearless, naughty."
--The New York Times Book Review

Bestselling author Steven Pinker possesses that rare combination of scientific aptitude and verbal eloquence that enables him to provide lucid explanations of deep and powerful ideas. His previous books - including the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Blank Slate - have catapulted him into the limelight as one of today's most important popular science writers. In The Stuff of Thought, Pinker presents a fascinating look at how our words explain our nature. Considering scientific questions with examples from everyday life, The Stuff of Thought is a brilliantly crafted and highly readable work that will appeal to fans of everything from The Selfish Gene and Blink to Eats, Shoots & Leaves.
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Words and Rules: The Ingredients Of Language (Science Masters Series)

Words and Rules: The Ingredients Of Language (Science Masters Series)
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Do Humankind's Best Days Lie Ahead?: The Munk Debates

Progress. It is one of the animating concepts of the modern era. From the Enlightenment onwards, the West has had an enduring belief that through the evolution of institutions, innovations, and ideas, the human condition is improving. This process is supposedly accelerating as new technologies, individual freedoms, and the spread of global norms empower individuals and societies around the world. But is progress inevitable? Its critics argue that human civilization has become different, not better, over the last two and a half centuries. What is seen as a breakthrough or innovation in one period becomes a setback or limitation in another. In short, progress is an ideology not a fact; a way of thinking about the world as opposed to a description of reality.

In the seventeenth semi-annual Munk Debates, which was held in Toronto on November 6, 2015, pioneering cognitive scientist Steven Pinker and best-selling author Matt Ridley squared off against noted philosopher Alain de Botton and best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell to debate whether humankind’s best days lie ahead.
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En defensa de la Ilustración: Por la razón, la ciencia, el humanismo y el progreso (Spanish Edition)

Si creías que el mundo estaba llegando a su fin, esto te interesa: vivimos más años y la salud nos acompaña, somos más libres y, en definitiva, más felices; y aunque los problemas a los que nos enfrentamos son extraordinarios, las soluciones residen en el ideal de la Ilustración: el uso de la razón y la ciencia.


En esta elegante evaluación de la condición humana en el tercer milenio, el científico cognitivo e intelectual Steven Pinker nos insta a ver con otra perspectiva los titulares alarmistas y las profecías de la perdición que juegan con nuestros prejuicios psicológicos. En cambio, haciendo uso de datos empíricos, muestra que la vida, la salud, la prosperidad, la seguridad, la paz, el conocimiento y la felicidad van en aumento, no solo en Occidente, sino en todo el mundo. Este progreso no es el resultado de alguna fuerza cósmica. Es un regalo de la Ilustración: la convicción de que la razón y la ciencia pueden mejorar el florecimiento humano.


Lejos de ser una esperanza ingenua, la Ilustración, ahora lo sabemos, ha funcionado. Pero hoy más que nunca necesita que la defendamos con vigor. Con profundidad intelectual y estilo literario, En defensa de la Ilustración defiende la razón, la ciencia y el humanismo: los ideales que necesitamos para enfrentar nuestros problemas y continuar nuestro progreso.

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La tabla rasa: La negación moderna de la naturaleza humana (Spanish Edition)

En La tabla rasa, Steven Pinker explora la idea de la naturaleza humana y sus aspectos éticos, emocionales y políticos. Demuestra que muchos intelectuales han negado su existencia al defender tres dogmas entrelazados: la «tabla rasa» (la mente no tiene características innatas), el «buen salvaje» (la persona nace buena y la sociedad la corrompe) y el «fantasma en la máquina» (todos tenemos un alma que toma decisiones sin depender de la biología). Pinker aporta calma y serenidad a estos debates al mostrar que la igualdad, el progreso, la responsabilidad y el propósito nada tienen que temer de los descubrimientos sobre la complejidad de la naturaleza humana.

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IF YOU’D LIKE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT STEVEN PINKER, YOU CAN FIND HIM ON HIS Website, Facebook , Twitter , Instagram AND Youtube