This is a very interesting and well written book on an important topic, the malleability of human nature. Similar to "The Righteous Mind," which I also enjoyed immensely. The narration was also excellent.
Pinker skewers those who, either wittingly or willingly pervert science and art in order to prop up a belief system whose time has clearly come. More astonishing is the fact that he does so while giving far more time to the opposing viewpoint. Admittedly, this almost becomes tedious, but each chapter lets you off the hook with a healthy dose of real science. A must read for all natural and social scientists, philosophers and educators.
Trying to support 1) the comparably smaller non-fiction selection and 2) the few here that are not misinformation. Got mind? Use it.
At this point, this is my favorite non-fiction read; absolute gem.
Like any great science books, certain details and arguments presented are open for debate, but the ideas covered are relevant, fascinating, and well-argued.
With Mr. Pinker's classic "How the Mind Works", I was hoping he would then take the next step and apply his expertise of cognitive science to history/social issues, and this book was the answer!
NOTE: detailed book (23 hours after all), but not difficult to absorb like some science non-fictions.
Read (well, listen), absorb, question, and explore further. This is non-fiction at it's best: powerful theories with clear and gripping narration.
23 enlightening and entertaining hours, that's impressive by any standards.
Strong narration. My favorite is when I can escape into the story without thinking about the narrator, and this is a fine example.
Do you read the book before you dislike my reviews?
There is something about Steven Pinker that I like. For the nonbelievers, his explanation of having a blank slate and the theory of human nature makes sense. I've been reading a lot of Dr. Pinker's books and lectures and most of his material relates to the human mind, violence, and our natural instincts and desires.
As I read more of his work, I'm starting to believe that I am somewhat an atheist because a lot of his ideas are easy to absorb, like a wet paper towel. Even when I was in Sunday school, I didn't really drink the Kool Aid. I'm not saying that is neither bad or good, but for me, I always questioned.
As for "The Blank Slate", so far this is my favorite book. It gives an overall view of the blank slate theory. Just enough to get your feet wet, but not overbearing with one topic and leave you with boredom.
Another great read by Pinker that takes on the nature versus nurture debate head on. He argues against the blank slate and gives good evidence why the people your kids hang out with have significant input as well.
Yes. It was very lengthy. One get's a sense that the theories and their support can be represented in less words and time. Sometimes the narrative drifts to evaluating individual scientists with some degree of spite.
The four fallacies; The Blank Slate, The Moral Savage, Deterministic Environment and The Ghost in The Machine
No Change, good title
Good book, I feel it could be shorter with no loss of substance.
No B.S. reviews. I'll never soft-pedal bad writing or inept narration.
The Blank Slate is an intellectual tour-de-force into heretofore unacknowledged aspects of the human mind. Pinker pieces together information from many scholarly sources to substantiate his claims, and the book is thoughtful and well-researched from first to last. Very occasionally, the thoroughness of Pinker's logic can be a bit overwhelming, but the end does, indeed, justify the means. The book is packed with insight into human nature, and intensely interesting. Easily one of the most intellectually satisfying books I have ever listened to. Victor Bevine's reading is more than adequate, with none of the kind of trivializing affectations that can ruin a challenging listen. Highly recommended.
We live in an age of affirmation, not to be confused with information. Its easy for us to spend time only consuming news or data that affirms what we already believe. Good science does not suffer that. Good science uncovers truth and it does not care if it steps on the toes of any dogma, religion, or philosophy. This book is about such science.
An educator and senior who listens to his books from his phone through his hearing aids.
He who could explain all variance in nature would know what God knows. He who could manipulate all nature's variance would be God.
Pinker makes a convincing, witty, engaging, and creditable argument that at 50% of what we are is heritable.
How the Mind Work and The Language Instinct.. They were both excellent productions
No, it took about two weeks of one-hour commutes during which I listened at 1.5 times normal speed.
Granted I'm only a little over two hours into this book, but I'm giving up. This is, to say it bluntly, trash -- one of the most unsatisfying pieces of sophistry I've read in a long while. The author knocks down scores of straw men to make his case, quoting, often out-of-context, mostly 17th, 18th and 19th century philosophers. His conclusions and summaries of psychology and psychologists are sometimes just simple-minded, but far too often just simply wrong. I honestly don't get how this was accepted for publication, let alone made it as an Audible audio book. Granted, I might have found gold inside if I had stuck with it longer -- but if there's really gold there, the author or his editors ought to have introduced it with something a little more compelling than this garbage. Just my opinion but: Don't bother.