Pub. Date:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
How the Mind Works

How the Mind Works

by Steven Pinker
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"A model of scientific writing: erudite, witty, and clear." —New York Review of Books

In this Pulitzer Prize finalist and national bestseller, one of the world's leading cognitive scientists tackles the workings of the human mind. What makes us rational—and why are we so often irrational? How do we see in three dimensions? What makes us happy, afraid, angry, disgusted, or sexually aroused? Why do we fall in love? And how do we grapple with the imponderables of morality, religion, and consciousness? How the Mind Works synthesizes the most satisfying explanations of our mental life from cognitive science, evolutionary biology, and other fields to explain what the mind is, how it evolved, and how it allows us to see, think, feel, laugh, interact, enjoy the arts, and contemplate the mysteries of life.

This edition of Pinker's bold and buoyant classic is updated with a new foreword by the author.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393334777
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 06/22/2009
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 672
Sales rank: 114,725
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Steven Pinker is a Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. He conducts research on language and cognition; writes for publications such as the New York Times, Time, and The Atlantic; and is the author of ten books, including The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, The Stuff of Thought, The Better Angels of Our Nature, and The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century.


Boston, Massachusetts

Date of Birth:

September 18, 1954

Place of Birth:

Montreal, Canada


B.A., McGill University, 1976; Ph.D., Harvard University, 1979

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How the Mind Works 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
ShaiShap on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not quite what it says on the tin - I expected more "how the mind works" - the inner workings of the brain, neurons and such, but the book has more on "why the mind works" - evolutionary psychology and such. It was still quite interesting, and had some thought-provoking ideas, but in general, it was more on the "popular" side of "popular science". I don't know if it's specific to this book or if it's a general issue with evolutionary science, but too much of it felt more like guessing than actual science. Many ideas he presented seemed convincing, but didn't seem to come from any sort of proof, just reasonable guessing. In general, if you're interested in human behaviour and evolution, I think this book is worth your time. But don't expect too much of it.
annbury on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found this disappointing in comparison to "The Language instinct", which for me was a truly mind-changing book. ""How the Mind Works" has lots of interesting ideas and plausible explanations, but I did not find it nearly so convincing or nearly as wide-reaching as the earlier work. Given the value I give to "The Language Instinct", I should probably try reading this again.
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Plus: there is a LOT of information in this book. It goes quite a bit beyond just describing what we know about brain functions. It is very wordy and can be difficult to read in places. This is probably due to the authors effort to be comprehensive. Minus: Its a bit too speculative in some respects. I personally can only hold a few speculative theoretical contexts in my head at a time. I know that is not a problem for some. I also think the author perhaps overemphasizes the natural selection process, or perhaps better said seems to try to make it fit into nearly every aspect of everything. Otherwise the book is very informative. Not sorry I bought it