Top 3 ever.
This book has launched me into an existential crisis. I read it 6 months ago, and I'm beginning to come out at the other end. Pinker A few parts are tedious on audio (e.g. computational theory), but Pinker makes up for it with a great sense of humor throughout the rest of the book.
Just some dude.
This book is more than just how the mind works but also how mankind works. I found it OUTSTANDING!! This explains in plain English why we are who we are and why we act the way we do. This is a MUST read!! Great!!!!!!
Something from my suggested reading list
No clue, but someone who doesn't sound like they're just reading the words on the page. This guy didn't seem to know what he was saying was about.
The title of this book is somewhat misleading - if you're expecting a straightforward overview of the brain's functions and features, look elsewhere. More than anything else, How the Mind Works is an argument for a particular way of looking at the mind - namely through the lens of evolutionary psychology. Pinker describes in detail the concept of natural selection and how it helps explain the nature of the human mind. All of this is explained eloquently, and with enough pop culture references to keep you from getting bored. While there's really nothing wrong with the book per se, evolutionary psychology is an idea that I was already sold on, so I didn't personally take much from Pinker's treatment of it. If you're on the fence about whether to buy this book, just know what you're getting into. I suspect the people that will take the most from it are those who are less certain about natural selection and/or evolutionary psychology, but open to hearing the arguments in favor of it. This could very well be the book that changes your mind.
The performance is fine, but throughout, the text makes references to pictures, illustrations and other visual aids which the listener cannot see.
It's frustrating and detracts from the book. I could not finish it.
Audible obsessed lifelong learner.
Another interesting read by Pinker. Layman's look at neuroscience and evolutionary biology to understand why people think and act the way they do.
I enjoy reading fantasy, science fiction, and horror the most. To improve, I read about language, psychology, spirituality, and art. I read about computer science and business for professional reasons.
Another of Pinker's awesome books. This book synthesizes and describes studies of the human mind. Academic disciplines such as biology, psychology, cognitize science, and the arts are categorized with examples of how knowledge of human capabilities has been built. Topics such as language and speech, visual phenomena, logic and reasoning, quantative measurement making, likes and dislikes, social science, art appreciation, and philosophy are covered. The vast range of topics, and Pinker's unique way of describing things, make this an awesome book for both educational and personal knowledge development
A great, easy to digest, and thorough walk through of cognitive processes. Humorous when it needs to be. Well put together.
As far as non-fiction works, it ranks highly due to the amount of information kept inside. The neurology which lead to the enduring concepts of social biology, ideology, and, of course, natural selection takes up the majority of the book, starting out with how the brain functions on the most basic levels, then building to what the brain's natural functions can accomplish through investigation and imagination.
I found the chapter called Family Values to be a most entertaining section because of the various relationship scenarios Pinker discusses and evaluates. No matter what section you're in - Kith and Kin, Parents and Children, Brothers and Sisters, Men and Women, Husbands and Wives, Rivals, Friends and Acquaintances, Allies and Enemies, Humanity - Pinker breaks down the need for these relationships and how they helped shape the history of our (and other creatures') evolution and how they will guide our future.
I enjoyed the discussion of which problems 'continue to baffle the modern mind'. Whether it's the consciousness of sentience or subjective experience, what constitutes the self, free will, meaning, knowledge, and morality. This philosophical section discusses the past approaches to defining the previous words as well as the solution that he's partial to: "We are organisms ... and our minds are organs, not pipelines to the truth. Our minds evolved by natural selection to solve problems that were life-and-death matters to our ancestors, not to commune with correctness of to answer any question we are capable of asking. We cannot hold ten thousand words in short-term memory. We cannot see in ultraviolet light. We cannot mentally rotate an object in the fourth dimension. And perhaps we cannot solve conundrums like free will and sentience." He then goes on to wonder if there are greater creatures in the universe who have evolved to greater intellectual powers than we maintain.
I was amazed at how the simplest concepts of biological evolution can provide solutions to the greatest questions that history has thrown our way. Pinker describes how the brain and/or imagination works very well and, though I didn't laugh out loud, there were several smiles on my face due to Pinker's ability to explain the concepts thoroughly.
The narrator, Mel Foster, takes his time with the text and is sure to pronounce things well, even in places where it would be common to get tongue-tied. Though the simple subject matter of the brain and its evolution covers a wide range of results, the vast information is covered clearly, illustrating how the brain computes the simplest and most complicated concepts.