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Rudi

port orange, FL, USA

14
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 1 reviews
  • 3 ratings
  • 9 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature

    • ABRIDGED (9 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Steven Pinker
    • Narrated By Dean Olsher
    Overall
    (496)
    Performance
    (130)
    Story
    (129)

    In The Stuff of Thought, Steven Pinker marries two of the subjects he knows best: language and human nature. The result is a fascinating look at how our words explain our nature. What does swearing reveal about our emotions? Why does innuendo disclose something about relationships? Pinker reveals how our use of prepositions and tenses taps into peculiarly human concepts of space and time, and how our nouns and verbs speak to our notions of matter.

    Miroslaw says: "Escaping the Cave"
    "Pinker is truly a brilliant and lucid explainer..."
    Overall

    I loved this book! I had enjoyed "The Blank Slate" by Pinker. One of the downsides is that I used to think I was a bit of an intellectual...once you read or hear Pinker, you realize how high the bar of genuine intellect truly goes. The guy is "freakin" brilliant.

    Some reviewers complained that the material was too dense for audiobook format. There were a few sections in which I found it helpful to back the story up and re-listen...but the format was fine.

    Both my parents were academics and language lovers, so Pinkers obvious erudition and use of occasionally obscure verbiage was enjoyable to me, not off-putting.

    The basic premise of the book is that human nature, and brain "hard-wiring" is illuminated by the way we use language.

    The only reason this didn't get five stars is that I liked Bill Bryson's "A Brief History of Nearly Everything" even a bit better, and I consequently wanted to rate it even higher.

    If you liked "Outliers" and appreciate genuine philisophical depth and orginality, you will like this book. Pinker knows and brings to bear on his thesis about a remarkable number of fields. Just as I felt about "The Blank Slate," my private thought was, "If I can ever be half as articulate and intellectually gifted as this guy, I would be ecstatic."

    But be warned...if you are aren't willing to do just a bit of intellectual "heavy lifting" in parts, this book may not be for you. Pinker is not writing for the undergrads and underachievers here...he does not bother to dumb things down.

    In summary, I learned about my own character and nature, as well as others, while thinking about ideas elucidated and spawned by this book.

    It is a winner.

    Rudi Hoffman
    Port Orange, FL

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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