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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

3.9 (665 )
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3.9 (536 )
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Performance
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  •  
    D. Defoe Saginaw, MI United States 11-12-12
    D. Defoe Saginaw, MI United States 11-12-12 Member Since 2012

    david25937

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Misleading Title"
    What would have made How the Mind Works better?

    The book started out good and seemed to be on topic. Not long into the book it was no longer about the mind. This should have been titled "An Argument for Evolution and Natural Selection". Never seemed to get back to how the mind works. After hours and hours of why birds have wings and how we grew eyes I just shut if off.


    Any additional comments?

    If you want a good book on Natural Selection this is a great listen. If you want a book on the mind look elsewhere.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Hill 05-14-15
    Ryan Hill 05-14-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Great brain food but wanted more "How", less "Why""
    Where does How the Mind Works rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I don't have a massive audiobook library yet, but this was one of the best. The performance was well-paced and enjoyable, and the book was stimulating, although a bit mislabeled in my opinion. Still, the title in part motivated me to buy the book, so I suppose from the author's perspective the book's title was perfect!


    What did you like best about this story?

    My favorite parts, and the reason I purchased the book, were about neuroscience and psychology, and the supporting examples of the computational theory of the mind. I'm not in any particular neuroscience theory camp, but I have learned a bit about it from my studies in cognition and learning as well as human-computer interaction. The neurobiology and psychology perspectives were what I was reading this book for.


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

    N/A


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I did not have an extremely emotional reaction to this book. It really isn't that kind of book, unless maybe one is somewhat insecure in their own beliefs or can't bear exposure to different perspectives.


    Any additional comments?

    While enjoyable and intellectually stimulating, I don't like the title of the book. As far as the book's content, it seemed like much less material was devoted to *how* the mind worked than to the author's explanation as to *why* he thought it worked that way. If the book had been more about *how* the mind worked, it would have made a much more useful read, at least to me.

    For those who are reading this review prior to purchasing the audiobook, you probably won't regret purchasing the book as long as you are a curious person; however, be aware that a huge portion of the book involves the author explaining why he thinks the mind works the way it does from a natural selection perspective, in comparison to the bits on how the brain does what it does.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bliiir 05-11-15
    bliiir 05-11-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Brilliant!"

    Best non-fiction book I've digested this year. Linker is insightful, sharp and sympathetic in equal measures.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Oraxis 04-02-15
    Oraxis 04-02-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Excellent treatment of a broad topic"
    Where does How the Mind Works rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I have consumed countless books, lectures, seminars, and podcasts about science, skepticism, critical thinking, behavioral economics, evolution, meta-cognition, and everything else that this book touches on. Pinker goes above and beyond by linking it all together in an engaging way. The concepts are deep but he breaks them down in such a way that they become simple.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Not applicable - this is non-fiction.


    What does Mel Foster bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Excellent pace and tone. Auditory cheesecake!


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I laughed several times, and it made me think very deeply and in new ways about many very basic concepts about life, relationships, and thinking.


    Any additional comments?

    Though we may be sacks of meat through-and-through we still manage to find each other beautiful, and that itself is beautiful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Littleton, MA, United States 02-23-15
    Mark Littleton, MA, United States 02-23-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Important Historical Reference"

    As an introduction to evolutionary psychology, this is a critical work. If the material comes off as dated (and it's less than twenty years old!), that cannot be the writer's fault. Much of the grounding theories are still valid, even as they've been enriched (and misused) between the time Pinker wrote it and now.

    Narrator Mel Foster keeps us engaged, even through passages which were originally illustrated in the book. I did not suffer any lack of pictures.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    hili r. 02-08-15
    hili r. 02-08-15 Member Since 2014
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    "A comprehensive, excellent read"
    Where does How the Mind Works rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    How the Mind Works is one of the best popular science books I have ever read. I enjoyed it even more than The Blank Slate (which was written later, but I happened to read it before).


    What did you like best about this story?

    The book is very well written and the audio is very well read.


    What about Mel Foster’s performance did you like?

    Superb reading.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    gustavo 01-27-15
    gustavo 01-27-15 Member Since 2014
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    "very interesting and intriguing"

    enjoyed it and provoked me to research topics on my own, fascinating and will recommend it

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anton Vikoch 01-17-15 Member Since 2012
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    "A Better Title Would Be "My Favorite Fun Facts""
    What did you love best about How the Mind Works?

    I loved all the little fun facts. Really the most interesting thing about the book. The reason why I've listened to it twice in a row.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    The story is fine. I would say that some parts seems useless and lengthy for no reason. Not really Steven Pinker's usual writing self.


    What about Mel Foster’s performance did you like?

    The narrator was find. Nothing particularly amazing to point out.


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

    The most interesting facts about thoughts about the human mind.


    Any additional comments?

    This book says more about what the mind is not rather than what it is. Which is fine considering the topic the book tried to tackle.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Toke F. 01-14-15
    Toke F. 01-14-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Great book"

    Nice balance og science, stories and prose. Pinker covers a lot of ground and gives practical as well as theoretical information

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frederico 01-04-15
    Frederico 01-04-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Very dated contents with a monotonous reading"
    Would you try another book from Steven Pinker and/or Mel Foster?

    From Steven Piker, definitively if more recent.
    I'm not sure about Mel Foster. He sounds interested in the contents he's reading but doesn't communicate that interest to us listeners. Also, he misses tempo and pauses in several places; an example of this is that he read quotes from authors and its author's name in a way that I couldn't understand it as a quote until it dawned on me that what I've just heard didn't make any sense in the flow of what I was reading and went back to listen again.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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