Sample
  • The Stuff of Thought

  • Language as a Window into Human Nature
  • By: Steven Pinker
  • Narrated by: Dean Olsher
  • Length: 9 hrs and 36 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (878 ratings)

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The Stuff of Thought

By: Steven Pinker
Narrated by: Dean Olsher
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Publisher's summary

New York Times best-selling author Steven Pinker possesses that rare combination of scientific aptitude and verbal eloquence that enables him to provide lucid explanations of deep and powerful ideas. His previous books, including the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Blank Slate, have catapulted him into the limelight as one of today's most important and popular science writers.

Now, in The Stuff of Thought, Pinker marries two of the subjects he knows best: language and human nature. The result is a fascinating look at how our words explain our nature. What does swearing reveal about our emotions? Why does innuendo disclose something about relationships? Pinker reveals how our use of prepositions and tenses taps into peculiarly human concepts of space and time, and how our nouns and verbs speak to our notions of matter. Even the names we give our babies have important things to say about our relations to our children and to society.

With his signature wit and style, Pinker takes on scientific questions like whether language affects thought, as well as forays into everyday life: why is bulk e-mail called spam, and how do romantic comedies get such mileage out of the ambiguities of dating?

The Stuff of Thought is a brilliantly crafted and highly readable work that will appeal to fans of everything from The Selfish Gene and Blink to Eats, Shoots & Leaves.

©2007 Steven Pinker (P)2007 Penguin Audio, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc. and Books on Tape. All rights reserved.

Critic reviews

"Engaging and provocative...filled with humor and fun." (Douglas Hofstadter, Los Angeles Times)

"Pinker is a star, and the world of science is lucky to have him." (Richard Dawkins)

"Curious, inventive, fearless, naughty." (New York Times Book Review)