Regular price: $23.12

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

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.

Critic Reviews

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    976
  • 4 Stars
    365
  • 3 Stars
    154
  • 2 Stars
    51
  • 1 Stars
    25

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    690
  • 4 Stars
    321
  • 3 Stars
    97
  • 2 Stars
    15
  • 1 Stars
    12

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    736
  • 4 Stars
    241
  • 3 Stars
    94
  • 2 Stars
    27
  • 1 Stars
    19
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

highly insightful

wonderful read, Pinker is almost prescient in his ability to predict the rise of the anti liberal far left in this 2004 book

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

human nature from every angle

enlightening look at why we've foolishly believed so many nonsensical things about life and purpose for so long and many reasons why the basis for modern arguments are based on an outdated understanding of human nature.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A very good orientation to human behavior

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Steven Pinker distills some important information about psychology and the state of the sciences - to the extent it is a science - today. We have a nature that is biological and genetically determined. We are generally not blank slates even though the productive capacities, generosity, and the ability of the average human to negotiate relationships and negotiate with the future for the sake of being of service to self and others is great. Pinker explores some of the poisonous motivations and results that obtain from asserting and assuming that humans are infinitely malleable. Our natures are very knowable and they follow and incentive directed, altruistic capable, empathy capable, and gratification delaying capable suite of abilities. We ignore our nature at our peril. This should be a standard text in introductory psychology and anthropology classes. Maybe that would tamp down some of the violent cultural Marxist crimes perpetrated on the American college campus. Why? Because when we combine a young college students.. person's desire to be a messiah with a cultural Marxist professor's promise that humans are infinitely malleable and utopias are just a matter of killing off a few reactionaries we get this leftist insane anti-First Amendment violence that we've seen since the election. However, that pathology has been there since the 1990s. I don't think that Pinker is a conservative or a libertarian, but he sure explains well the pathological and malignant causes of the left that attacks conservatives and libertarians recently.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Interesting personal opinion

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I enjoyed listening to an educated personal opinion, as I always do. The author is well informed and writes well. The difficulty is that he is dogmatic to an extreme, as much as any Bible thumper that I have ever heard. He ignores or rejects any explanations that don't fit his world view (confirmation bias, as it is called). He degrades, ignores and uses insulting labels on those who have differing conclusions, the unmistakable sign of someone with arguments that won't stand on their own. The other problem is that the book is really just a platform for an unending string of political and social commentary, only loosely related to the topic of the book. It was a good read, but nothing close to a definitive statement on this or any subject.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Fascinating insight into the politics of science

Literally laughed out loud several times, was horrified and fascinated by the insight into the "politically correct" intellectual currents in psychology, anthropology, sociology and other fields during the last century (which I remember from university), plus was an interesting and convincing theory on human nature and development. Probably not the last word but very definitely food for thought, and highly entertaining.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Fascinating, brilliant must-read!

Would you listen to The Blank Slate again? Why?

Yes, yes, yes! Such a wealth of information. Made me think much more deeply about human nature. Pinker's erudition: psychology, literature, social mores, contemporary arts, feminism, racism.......What depth and breadth! Engaging writing, with surprising humor - at times I had to laugh out loud!

Who was your favorite character and why?

The author! My fantasy would be to have a dinner conversation with him!

Have you listened to any of Victor Bevine’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No. I thought he was just perfect! I enjoyed his acting characters in "Huckleberry Finn."

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

It kept getting better and better....Hard to choose which ones...I thought the chapters on Gender and Art were particularly fun!

Any additional comments?

Too busy - rushing to listen again!!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A must read

This book covers a lot and it really does so in an intelligent way. Steven Pinker is an amazing writer and takes a clear look at all the data before drawing conclusions.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

for me a painful slog

unaware of the apparently continuing battle over the belief in a 'blank slate,' this book was lost on me. I side with the author's point of view - so listening to him argue it over and over was tiresome. I couldn't go finish it.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Ethan
  • Beaverton, OR, United States
  • 04-12-17

A Vital Book

This is the work of a truly brilliant mind. Pinker has achieved something very special with this treatise. He provides a much-needed critique of the movements and institutions that have led to a distorted understanding of human nature. This book is vital reading. Truly exceptional work.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Please don't miss this work.

It should provide a refreshing perspective for those interested in the biology of behavior, the relationship between your mind and brain, and help to diffuse many myths about what human nature really is and why we shouldn't avoid studying it scientifically. Listen and let the dogma of the blank slate be exercised from your psyche.