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.
“Undeniably brilliant.” (Newsday)
"Big, brash, and a lot of fun.” (Time)
“Hugely entertaining.... always sparkling and provoking.” (Wall Street Journal)
Pinker answers a lot of questions about how and why people think the way they do. As always, he doesn't just make assertions, he backs everything up by explaining the state of the research and the ideas of the researchers in the field (even when those ideas are different from his). It's a much easier read than actual research papers, and has wit and good story telling to leven the large doses of information, but it's not easy to follow when listening. It requires a lot of concentration or you can do what I did and just listen to everything twice, sometimes three times, until you get it.
If you consider yourself an intellectual, you'll want to be familiar with Stephen Pinker's work. The Better Angels of our Nature, and The Blank Slate are easier to pick up just listening once so I would recommend one of those as a place to start.
This book was written more than 10 years ago. It's holding up very well though and an afterword written only a couple of years ago is included which explains how recent research relates to the book.
Yes, I'd definitively recommend it to friends. The book is very interesting, but Pinker got the title wrong. The book explains very well WHAT the mind works, and WHY does it make sense that the mind does what it does. But the book NEVER explains HOW the mind does it.
The most interesting is the variety of topics covered in the book. Full with interesting specific cases and references to studies.
The least interesting is the lack of substance in the theory of How the mind works. Pinker basically pushes 3 ideas through: 1) natural selection, 2) the mind is made up of organs like the rest of the body, 3) the analogy of the mind as a computational device
As much as those ideas are interesting, they are old and well accepted. So, the book is just a nice way to put them together, but without bringing any new argument to the discussion.
The performance of Mel Foster was outstanding.
Yes, there's. Lot in here, some 25 hours worth of listening, and I want to come ack and listen to some things again!
The development of the sexual brain the differences in the sexual mind was very interesting indeed. It's easy to forget out behaviour and preferences were actually established during our extended hunter gatherer lifestyle, and how this fashioned our behaviour from an evolutionary perspective
Easy to listen to. Always run at 1.5x
Certainly made me think.
Love Steven Pinker, and would like to just read more. It's so refreshing to hear all the concepts related back to actual studies! I enjoyed this as much as the Blank Slate, possibly more.
This is one of my favorite books, and the audio format does not disappoint. If you're interested about human nature, why we are the way we are, why we're so smart, why we're conscious, and even why fools fall in love, this book is for you. (But be warned, this book is for people who like to think; don't expect to breeze through it like a malcom gladwell book.) Also, one recommendation: unless you're really interested in visual perception, I would recommend skipping the chapter called "The Mind's Eye," as it is hard to follow in audio format without the pictures, and it is the most technical chapter.
I got this audiobook on sale for $4.95 and probably wouldn't have gotten it otherwise. I really liked Eagleman's Incognito, Lehrer's How We Decide, Nørretranders' User Illusion and even Kahneman's plodding Thinking Fast and Slow, so How the MInd Works seemed like a good fit. The author is not particularly interested in how the mind actually works (and when he does talk about the mechanisms of thinking, he gets terribly bogged down in computer programming minutiae). The book is actually about evolutionary biology, and Pinker spends a huge amount of the book bashing feminists and sociologists. The book was written in the 90's, so the author had probably been on the receiving end of a lot of fuzzy thinking about everything being socially constructed, but his harping makes the book seem incredibly dated (especially compared to the User Illusion, which still seems very fresh). I would also say that as the mother of a truck-loving toddler girl who has been told by other mothers that "girls don't like trucks," I see gender roles being socially constructed every day.
College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.
In this wonderfully informative and entertaining book on the human thought process, the source of emotions, sexual desire and everything else this marvelous three pound lump of spam in our head does for us, Pinker writes in the intelligent but amazingly amusing and witty style that makes him one of the greatest translators of complex science into lay terms, in the main because he does so without compromising or dumbing-down in the process. It is no wonder that this man is considered one of the greatest minds of our time. Buy the book and find out how his, and everyone else's works--and why.
Based on scientifically determined information with a clear examples of the scientific method.
Performance is difficult in a work of this sort which presents a lot of scientific information. Difficult territory, meticulous, and matter of fact.
Summarizes a lot of material and information without tying all together, but that may be a function of the information which doesn't fit into a neat easily summarized comprehensive thesis.
Insightfull, Profound, Unstable
The concept about the diferent modes that the brain processes information is interesting, still I think needs a little polishing.
The narratives of personal experiences are very interesting when heard with the tone of voice of the person that experienced them.
It is a profound book with many concepts which I prefered digesting in various sesions. I listen to it while jogging and it was perfect.
Very detailed and most concepts are supported by examples, still there are some times that ideas were presented without too much support.
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.
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.
If you want a good book on Natural Selection this is a great listen. If you want a book on the mind look elsewhere.
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