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The Blank Slate Audiobook
The Blank Slate
Written by: 
Steven Pinker
Narrated by: 
Victor Bevine
The Blank Slate Audiobook

The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

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Publisher's Summary

In The Blank Slate, Steven Pinker, one of the world's leading experts on language and the mind, explores the idea of human nature and its moral, emotional, and political colorings. With characteristic wit, lucidity, and insight, Pinker argues that the dogma that the mind has no innate traits - a doctrine held by many intellectuals during the past century - denies our common humanity and our individual preferences, replaces objective analyses of social problems with feel-good slogans, and distorts our understanding of politics, violence, parenting, and the arts.

Injecting calm and rationality into debates that are notorious for ax-grinding and mud-slinging, Pinker shows the importance of an honest acknowledgment of human nature based on science and common sense.

NOTE: Some changes to the original text have been made with the author's approval.

©2003 Steven Pinker; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"[P]ersuasive and illuminating." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (1082 )
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4.4 (695 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Truc To 07-12-11
    Truc To 07-12-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Primer of Human understanding"

    This is one of the most important book that had read.... I read many....

    With a broad spectrum of topic, the author systematically deconstructed the force behind human and social behavior that shape our society today. Truly is a classic...

    The Emily Dickinson verse, at the end, is an exquisite touch.

    If there ever be a missing point in the book, it would be a discussion of modern society self-destructive/unsustainable path.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mustafa STANFORD, CA, United States 11-30-13
    Mustafa STANFORD, CA, United States 11-30-13 Member Since 2014
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    "An outstanding unbiased view into the human nature"
    Where does The Blank Slate rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The best audiobook I've heard and probably the best book I've heard or read in a long time.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Detailed, insightful, quirky, fun, informative. It tackles a very science-heavy subject in such a nice manner that you're never bored. The writer and the narrator engage you throughout the content.


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

    His narration was engaging, fun. He emphasized the right points correctly. His tone of narration set the tone for the book.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The last chapter of the book was excellent - an apt summary to all the significant ideas conveyed in the book.


    Any additional comments?

    Every once in a while you read a book that causes a paradigm shift inside you. It gives you a new clearer view about the world. This is one such book, and it does the job in such a convincing manner, that even though it presents views which might be contrary to your long-held beliefs, at the end it will leave you with a smile on your face and a sense of satisfaction rather than in a moral dilemma.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 04-08-12
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 04-08-12 Member Since 2008

    College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.

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    "Five stars again for Pinker..."

    A monumental work debunking the still (unbelievably) widely held idea that the human mind is a blank slate shaped by culture. (The most simple thought shows that the blank slate theory begs the question: how can the mind come from culture, when, by simple reasoning, one can easily deduce that culture, in fact, MUST come from the mind--there was no free floating original "culture" waiting for the first mind to come into existence.) Pinker uses all the latest technology and scientific knowledge to make his points, and though this book does not have the usual Pinker pop culture winks and playful wit, it will still be easy enough for most laymen to understand and profit from.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ray 12-18-10
    Ray 12-18-10 Member Since 2008
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    "Decent Read"

    The book is about the nurture versus nature debate, and Pinker is very straight forward with his presentation of facts. The bottom line is that the broad scientific consensus is that - as Pinker illustrates - we are not born as tabula rasa. The nurture side of the nature versus nurture debate is still widely supported by the popular media however, so those not inclined to critical thought will be put off by Pinker's approach. I only gave it three stars because Pinker leaves off the scientific discourse about half way through, and segues into a more personal narrative which seems designed to redeem himself to those he just offended. I wasn't bothered by this part of it, but found myself bored with its subjective nature.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Union, Ontario, Canada 11-24-10
    James Union, Ontario, Canada 11-24-10 Member Since 2016
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    "One of the best books I've ever read (heard)"

    This book is fascinating. I can't imagine a person not being more enriched by taking the time to read and think about the arguments in this book.

    As definitely and clearly as i can state it: Get this book.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
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    Johannes Lindgren 06-01-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Pinker is truly a Master"

    This book explains...

    ... beautiful insights into the mind.
    ... indispensable tools for ethics.
    ... scientifically backed arguments for both politics and economics.
    ... the most common and serious misconceptions of human nature.

    There are some tedious chapters. They can easily be skipped without disturbance occurring later.

    Mr Pinker, Yo da man

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John West 05-03-16
    John West 05-03-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Didn't resonate"

    Felt like he had to try so hard to stretch research facts and twist interpretations to support his arguments. Made the strong points feel lost in amongst a sea of struggle to fit the facts to his purpose

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Suzan 04-18-16
    Suzan 04-18-16 Member Since 2016
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    "fantastic"

    Another solid performance by Victor Bevine. well researched, well thought out, and intriguing. Although I disagreed with a few of the author's analyses of other literature, it did not detract from his credibility not from his overall theme.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Gabriel 04-13-16
    Gabriel 04-13-16 Member Since 2015
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    "a great introduction to the debate"

    I want to learn more. much more about the subject. thoroughly recommended. I can't wait to listening to Pinker and his detractors again: to join the debate

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 03-27-16
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 03-27-16 Member Since 2015

    Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.

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    "HUMAN NATURE"

    Kill the killer!

    That is not what Steven Pinker writes but capital punishment is one of several provocative subjects in his book. Pinker is a Professor of Psychology at MIT.

    People who have an opinion about human nature may change their mind. Victor Bevine professionally narrates this interesting exploration.

    Pinker says that 50 percent of “who we are” is inherited. He argues that clinical studies show that inherited genes interacting with today’s environment are the primary determinants of human nature. Our environment changes in small ways; i.e., we hear the tone of a piano key, see a bird fly, or taste and feel the texture of a raspberry. External stimulus triggers chemical interaction between genetic inheritance and the environment in unfathomably complicated and varied ways. That is why even twins, raised in the same environment and family, are different. Pinker asserts that scientific studies show that less than ten percent; maybe zero percent, of who we become is based on how we were raised.

    This observation is saying that parenting has little to do with who our children become. Pinker’s argument is that human nature is mankind’s genetic inheritance with individuation shaped by moments of environmental interaction. A corollary of that belief is that a person can be inadvertently programmed for violence; justifying a “kill the killer” mentality. Genetic interaction with environmental incidents may develop an immutable part of a person's human nature. This is oversimplifying Pinker's genetic argument but it does make a listener think about rational justification for capital punishment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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