The Stuff of Thought by Steven Pinker
Language as a Window into Human Nature

78%

11 Critic Reviews

Call it continuing education for brain owners, an instruction manual on how thought works—and how to think better.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

This New York Times bestseller is an exciting and fearless investigation of language

Bestselling 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 popular science writers. In The Stuff of Thought, Pinker presents a fascinating look at how our words explain our nature. Considering scientific questions with examples from everyday life, 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.
 

About Steven Pinker

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Steven Pinker is the Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. He is the author of seven books, including The Blank Slate.
 
Published September 11, 2007 by Penguin Books. 524 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Education & Reference, Science & Math, Children's Books, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Stuff of Thought
All: 11 | Positive: 8 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Good
on May 20 2010

Call it continuing education for brain owners, an instruction manual on how thought works—and how to think better.

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NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by William Saletan on Sep 23 2008

The majesty of Pinker’s theories is only one side of the story. The other side is the modesty of how he built them. It all makes sense, when you look at it the right way.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Andrew Anthony on Nov 03 2008

You can't help but admire the breadth of Pinker's inquiry, but at the same time wonder at the point. Sometimes you long for a narrative thread that would tie all the stuff together.

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Deborah Cameron on Oct 05 2008

...The Stuff of Thought does have what are arguably the two most important qualities of a good popular science book: it makes its subject accessible, and it makes its readers think.

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Suite 101

Excellent
Reviewed by Erin Britton on May 29 2008

The Stuff of Thought is an accessible yet wonderfully illuminating study of language and is yet another intellectual treat from Steven Pinker.

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The Bookbag

Excellent
Reviewed by Magda Healey on Jun 01 2008

The writing is, as usual, brilliant. Energetic, passionate, intelligent and lively, Pinker is erudite but accessible, lucid and precise but never stifled, conversational and occasionally colloquial but never crude.

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Bookmarks Magazine

Good
Reviewed by Jon on Dec 03 2008

...Pinker illuminates complex concepts with examples from popular culture-which, hopefully, all our minds can all grasp.

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Monsters and Critics

Good
Reviewed by Dan Schneider on Jul 05 2008

Steven Pinker is the premier purveyor of the parsed poesy of plain prose….fire from strange gods, indeed!

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Socialist Review

Below average
Reviewed by John Parrington on Feb 01 2008

... I found this book ultimately disappointing because it fails to deliver on its central claim of explaining the nature of human thought.

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Dissident Voice

Below average
Reviewed by Thomas Riggins on May 12 2008

I fear we cannot draw Pinker’s conclusions based on the different idiomatic expressions of different languages and cultures.

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Gather Books

Good
Reviewed by aniko on Dec 29 2008

...Pinker is always entertaining. Even the more technical parts of the book are full of the usual cartoons, jokes, song lyrics, and anecdotes he uses to illustrate his points.

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Brian Lee Kloosterman Jr. 17 Feb 2013

Rated the book as 4.5 out of 5

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