Fascinating, engaging, thought provoking, and hopeful book. Impressively researched. Intriguing thesis well presented and supported. A masterpiece!!
NA -- this is not a novel.
Morey's narration is excellent. His pacing and phrasing tie in perfectly with the subject matter. It felt like the author was speaking to me directly.
Pinker constructs a careful and thorough analysis of the trajectory of human violence and demonstrates conclusively how and why it has decreased.
Buy it !!
So much info, so interesting.
His depth is great. Though I'm not interested in psychology (chapter 9 or something focuses on this), the amount of novel and non-intuitive info he presents make it worth listening to.
I though the first few chapters were a bit repetitive, but overall I think the book is a great book. Full of insights. Love how Steven Pinker is able to communicate complex ideas in simple and concise language.
I liked how the book makes the case for the decline in human violence.
The story of violence.
It is in my top 10 favorites
This book has instructed me to realize the truth ... that the people of this world have evolved far beyond what we are led to believe by media and that mankind is, overall, today, more kind, wise, and caring than we have been taught to believe. My own personal life has become less fearful and my overall view on everything about life is far more optimistic
Guns, Germs and Steel, Before the Dawn and even Das Kapital (no endorsement implied) for panoramic views of human history.
Big data meets big history with a surprisingly hopeful conclusion.
A good thing about the print edition is the pictures and charts. But the audio edition is excellent nonetheless.
Well, there aren't exactly characters in this book. But I think Yahweh (God) with his genocidal spree, and Lancelot with his killing spree, deserve to be mentioned.
His voice is very clear and sober. He sounds like an experienced scholar. It matches the style of the book very well.
I got some: there is no pattern in the temporal distribution of wars; every single form of human killing has systematically decreased (although we can't guarantee that for the future); economic relationships, democracy and information access were fundamental to decrease violence in the past and still are.
This book is really long, but it is worth every minute! Pinker explores many interesting topics to approach violence. As a scientist, he not only provides the evidence but also criticises his own conclusions. And, to top it all off, he provides great references for further reading.
This book loving depicts every horrible torture and sadistic punishment in the history of humanity. The author does mention how nice it is that we do not approve of these things today. However he then goes on to depict these horrors in great detail -- hour after hour. He is clearly fixated on all the ways we can torture people to death and takes great pains to describe every detail. He wastes little time in explaining how these tortures fell out of fashion. I finally just turned it off and deleted it. Only a sadist would like this book
The narrator was amazing. He happened to be the only thing that was fully credible and delivered on promises in this book though. The main issue with the book was that it wasn't what it said it was. It wasn't an exploration on why the world has gotten less violent, per se. Sure there were great pieces of information strewn about. But mostly, it was PEDESTRIAN and served as the author's soapbox for pushing political viewpoints.
No. If the author had stuck to writing the first section and the last section (promises; conclusions) the reader would have saved 28 hours of their lives and gotten the gist of the book. Unfortunately, just as you thought Pinker was going to change your mind and have you thinking with his vision, he smacks you in the face with some one sentence "definitive proof" statement that was a lightly veiled progressive talking point.
This book had real potential. Mr. Pinker researched it well, but it could have been done in a third of the pages/time and it was difficult to share his "logical" conclusions, because they were ANYTHING BUT LOGICAL.
One of the best narrators, well researched, but if you don't already subscribe to blanket progressive views of the world, it's more of the same cliche one liners and lecturing on how we need to be like the author (tolerant?). As a final note: this book, regardless of political content, IS an excellent resource guide to many interesting psychology based experiments.
Game developer and VFX industry vet.
Yes, this book is so in depth and well researched that reading it once simply wouldn't do it justice. To understand the author's thesis you must understand the evolutionary and modern influences on violence, and that is exactly what Pinker explains in this book.
The chapter on the uptick in violence caused by the cultural revolution of the 1960's was told in a way that painted a vivid and nuanced vision of the author's thesis on the subject and was my favorite single moment of the book.
If I had to pick another "scene" it would be the chapter on the neuroscience of violence and the picture it painted of the brains wiring for violence.
Your Brain in 36 Hours....
This is simply put my new favorite book on evolutionary psychology and human anthropology. If you are on chapter three or four and disagree with something or feel something is not explained, just keep reading because nothing is left out of this book. I'm going to listen to all of Pinker's other books just to see what else could possibly be left to learn and am fully expecting to be pleasantly surprised.
An educator and senior who listens to his books from his phone through his hearing aids.
Reading this book was like taking a graduate course in the historical psychological and sociological causes of violence.