My first encounter with Pinker was his excellent book THE BLANK SLATE, which seriously should be required reading for every human being. It’s like an owner’s manual for your brain and your behavior, so you don’t go through life so frustrated and confused.
After that, I looked for anything he’d ever written, which also led me to Judith Rich Harris, whose two books THE NURTURE ASSUMPTION and NO TWO ALIKE must be read.
Steven really blew up with this TED talk:
Which led to him writing THE BETTER ANGELS OF OUR NATURE, an amazing tome detailing all the ways in which the world has grown less violent over time, no matter how you slice that time into bits.
His recent article on Slate.com touches on some of these points (which is what I wrote all of this to share. Talk about burying the lead). If you are a news junkie like me, it’s good to get a dose of Pinker now and then to get some perspective. This is also the primary theme behind the original WOOL. I can’t help but think that the bombardment of negativity is doing something strange and awful to us as a society.
5 replies to “Reminded of Why I Love Steven Pinker”
I particularly loved his destruction of behaviorism.
I Love Steven Pinker too. He is the best speech.
I will agree that civilized societies have grown less violent over time, a hundred years ago you could be hung for stealing a horse, people used to bring the kids to town square to watch hangings, etc.
I will now go buy his book.
I gonna order the book of Steven Pinker. thank for your Post :)
Steven Pinker, along with Thomas Sowell, have always continued to open my eyes to new ways of seeing the world.
And might I say, the RIGHT ways, often times.
I intend to read “The Better Angels of Our Nature” a second time very soon.
Glad to see a fellow Pinker fan out there! :)