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How the Mind Works | [Steven Pinker]

How the Mind Works

In this delightful, acclaimed 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?
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Publisher's Summary

In this delightful, acclaimed best seller, 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 new edition of Pinker’s bold and buoyant classic is updated with a new foreword by the author.

©2011 Steven Pinker (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“Undeniably brilliant.” (Newsday)

"Big, brash, and a lot of fun.” (Time)

“Hugely entertaining.... always sparkling and provoking.” (Wall Street Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (477 )
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Performance
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  •  
    RT LA, CA 05-18-14
    RT LA, CA 05-18-14 Member Since 2010

    RT

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    "Amazing book"
    Would you consider the audio edition of How the Mind Works to be better than the print version?

    Without a doubt the most amazing book I have ever come across. Brilliant mind who can communicate his thoughts clearly and backs up his ideas with data.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean-Philippe Préverenges, Switzerland 03-04-13
    Jean-Philippe Préverenges, Switzerland 03-04-13 Member Since 2011
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    "not on target"
    What disappointed you about How the Mind Works?

    too many lengthy discussions about research on visual perception for example, or too long on theory of evolution. The author seems happy to display an encyclopedic knowledge about various subjects connected to the question of "how the mind works". But he fails to bring out the essence, unless this is done at the end of the book - but I did not have the patience to listen to 40 hours of this material to get to this point, if it is there.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Another book on the mind, much shorter and I hope, much more to the point.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. Burbach Florida, USA 02-19-13
    L. Burbach Florida, USA 02-19-13 Member Since 2012

    Retired economics professor. Looking for something funnier than Republicans bitching about Obama's handling of the economy they created and have done everything possible to keep from recovery hoping to beat the Democrats in 2012. Hard to beat that scenario.

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    "Outstsnding author reveals human Mind"
    What did you love best about How the Mind Works?

    The author explors the subject in many unique ways. He opens the reader's mind to show how it works.


    What did you like best about this story?

    His quirkey humor


    Which character – as performed by Mel Foster – was your favorite?

    The reader is excellent. Every word is clear.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    A ride through the brain to explore the mind.


    Any additional comments?

    This is our second Pinker book. A gifted researcher, a brilliant mind, and an interesting writer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diana Kanata, Ontario, Canada 02-04-13
    Diana Kanata, Ontario, Canada 02-04-13 Member Since 2008
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    "A wee bit outdated"
    What was most disappointing about Steven Pinker’s story?

    The information needs to be updated to stay relevant. While the ideas were interesting in the early 2000s, they're a bit out of date now.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    A documentary, yes, but again, not a sound one.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim United States 01-24-13
    Tim United States 01-24-13 Member Since 2010

    Not a mainstream reader.

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    "PBS Nova on the Mind"

    Discovery Channel used to have Shark Week. PBS Nova should have a full month on "How the Mind Works" base on Steven Pinker's theories. While it was interesting to read, it was also frustrating to finish because the subject just got draining after a while.

    Some of his examples, like family incest, almost became unbearable to read. I really wanted to skip that part because it seemed like Pinker went on for over an hour on incest. It just seemed like that they author was being infatuated on incest and I still don't understand how the mind works on this disgusting sexual taboo.

    This book is hard to understand because there are so many examples that you will be overwhelm and after a while none of it makes any sense.

    I still don't understand at what I read. There are far better books out there on this subject, like "The Mind and the Brain". That book has a better structure and course of plan to tell you what you need to know.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alexia West Lawn, PA, United States 01-17-13
    Alexia West Lawn, PA, United States 01-17-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Slow Start. Very strong finish"

    I was pretty bored with the first 2 or 3 hours of the book. It sounded like one long introduction. A lot of "People think this... yea but here's proof that it's not like that!" I think the first few hours were boring for me for 2 reasons: 1) it had a funny flow; but 2) I already knew a lot of the introductory stuff. I was getting ready to put it down, but then it got interesting.

    If you're interested in getting insights into virtually every aspect of life and thinking, then this book is for you. It was very worth the slow start in my opinion and I most definitely would recommend it to anyone that's interested in the science, evolution, and meaning behind who and how we are as people.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Braybrook, Australia 12-24-12
    Ryan Braybrook, Australia 12-24-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Very Very Insightful"

    Most chapters are brilliant, however a few are far too technical to understand at first go. But definitely very insightful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Errol Saskatoon, SK, Canada 12-08-12
    Errol Saskatoon, SK, Canada 12-08-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Interesting at times"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    It is far too long. I'm sure it would be great for those more interested in the topic but I was looking for a brief explanation of how the mind works. The start of the book was great but then went into far more detail than I was prepared to listen to. There are many parts of the book that are fascinating and some great humour but a chore to get through the tedious parts.


    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. de Jardine Wellington, New Zealand 11-29-12
    T. de Jardine Wellington, New Zealand 11-29-12 Member Since 2011

    Tim

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    "This was just too dense for me"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Simple, brevity.The whole thing was just too long.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Steven Pinker again?

    I would listen to an abridged version


    Would you be willing to try another one of Mel Foster’s performances?

    Sure


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from How the Mind Works?

    I would make it shorter


    Any additional comments?

    nope

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pat Houston, TX, United States 11-29-12
    Pat Houston, TX, United States 11-29-12 Member Since 2005

    Evening and Weekend Manager Lone Star College-Greenspoint Center Houston, TX 77060

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    "A book that every thinking person should read"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Pinker is articulate, brilliant and interesting as he leads the listener through a huge forest of cognitive research and evolutionary psychology. He explains as he begins that the fascinating features of our brain have evolved for two purposes: First, to help us reproduce as many offspring as possible. Second, to help us survive as long as long as possible. Any abilities that do not further these two goals are superfluous to our existence. It is a book I will probably read several times before I put it down for good.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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