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Steven Pinker

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psychologist
scientist

Recommended Books

Steven Pinker is a Canadian-American cognitive psychologist, linguist, and popular science author. He is Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University, and is known for his advocacy of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind.
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The Plague Cycle
The Unending War Between Humanity and Infectious Disease
Charles Kenny - Jan 19, 2021
Goodreads Rating
A vivid, sweeping history of mankind’s battles with infectious disease, for readers of the #1 New York Times bestsellers Yuval Harari’s Sapiens and John Barry’s The Great Influenza.For four thousand years, the size and vitality of cities, economies, and empires were heavily determined by infection. Striking humanity in waves, the cycle of plagues s...
Steven Pinker
Apr 12, 2021
Kenny's earlier book "Getting Better" was a major inspiration for my Enlightenment Now. Also recommended: His new history of pandemics, and his cheeky "Close the Pentagon" (related to Mueller's The Stupidity of War).      source
Also recommended by
Michael ClemensDiane Coyle
Close the Pentagon
Rethinking National Security for a Positive-Sum World
Charles Kenny - Jan 23, 2020
Goodreads Rating
The Pentagon, famed as the world’s largest office building, recently underwent a renovation process that took seventeen years and $4.5 billion -- ten times as long and four times the cost of constructing it in the first place. That makes it a potent symbol of a US foreign policy infrastructure built for another era, dominated by a massive, bureaucr...
Steven Pinker
Apr 12, 2021
Kenny's earlier book "Getting Better" was a major inspiration for my Enlightenment Now. Also recommended: His new history of pandemics, and his cheeky "Close the Pentagon" (related to Mueller's The Stupidity of War).      source
Getting Better
Why Global Development Is Succeeding--And How We Can Improve the World Even More
Charles Kenny - Dec 04, 2012 (first published in 2011)
Goodreads Rating
As the income gap between developed and developing nations grows, so grows the cacophony of voices claiming that the quest to find a simple recipe for economic growth has failed. Getting Better, in sharp contrast, reports the good news about global progress. Economist Charles Kenny argues against development naysayers by pointing to the evidence of...
Steven Pinker
Apr 12, 2021
Kenny's earlier book "Getting Better" was a major inspiration for my Enlightenment Now. Also recommended: His new history of pandemics, and his cheeky "Close the Pentagon" (related to Mueller's The Stupidity of War).      source
Also recommended by
Bill Gates
How You Say It
Why You Talk the Way You Do―And What It Says About You
Katherine D. Kinzler - Jul 21, 2020
Goodreads Rating
From “one of the most brilliant young psychologists of her generation” (Paul Bloom), a groundbreaking examination of how speech causes some of our deepest social divides—and how it can help us overcome them....
Steven Pinker
Jul 14, 2020
A fascinating new book on language and social relations by Katherine Kinzler | How You Say It: Why You Talk the Way You Do―And What It Says About You via @amazon      source
You Say You Want a Revolution
Daniel Chirot - Mar 03, 2020
Goodreads Rating
Why most modern revolutions have ended in bloodshed and failure--and what lessons they hold for today's world of growing extremismWhy have so many of the iconic revolutions of modern times ended in bloody tragedies? And what lessons can be drawn from these failures today, in a world where political extremism is on the rise and rational reform based...
Steven Pinker
Mar 09, 2020
I've learned a lot from Daniel Chirot's books on autocrats, genocide, & the Enlightenment. His new book on radical revolution is especially timely. He discusses it here w @michaelshermer      source
The Mental Life of Modernism
Why Poetry, Painting, and Music Changed at the Turn of the Twentieth Century (The MIT Press)
Samuel Jay Keyser - Mar 03, 2020
Goodreads Rating
An argument that Modernism is a cognitive phenomenon rather than a cultural one.At the beginning of the twentieth century, poetry, music, and painting all underwent a sea change. Poetry abandoned rhyme and meter; music ceased to be tonally centered; and painting no longer aimed at faithful representation. These artistic developments have been attri...
Steven Pinker
Feb 27, 2020
Fascinating, important new book by friend & former colleague.      source
36 Arguments for the Existence of God
A Work of Fiction (Vintage Contemporaries)
Rebecca Newberger Goldstein - Feb 01, 2011 (first published in 2009)
Goodreads Rating
From the author of The Mind-Body Problem: a witty and intoxicating novel of ideas that plunges into the great debate between faith and reason. At the center is Cass Seltzer, a professor of psychology whose book, The Varieties of Religious Illusion, has become a surprise best seller. Dubbed the atheist with a soul, he wins over the stunning Lucinda ...
Steven Pinker
Jan 11, 2020
When it came out 10 years ago I said it was the best book either of us had ever written. Authors are always proudest of their latest, but this remains a masterpiece: Thirty-Six Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction by Rebecca Goldstein      source
It's Better Than It Looks
Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear
Gregg Easterbrook - Mar 05, 2019 (first published in 2018)
Goodreads Rating
Is civilization teetering on the edge of a cliff? Or are we just climbing higher than ever?Most people who read the news would tell you that 2017 is one of the worst years in recent memory. We're facing a series of deeply troubling, even existential problems: fascism, terrorism, environmental collapse, racial and economic inequality, and more.Yet t...
Steven Pinker
Feb 26, 2018
Gregg Easterbrook's new book "It's Better Than it Looks: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear" is a different and complementary take on progress. I'm learning a lot from it and recommend it highly.      source
Heavens on Earth
The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality, and Utopia
Michael Shermer - Jan 09, 2018
Goodreads Rating
A scientific exploration into humanity’s obsession with the afterlife and quest for immortality from the bestselling author and skeptic Michael ShermerIn his most ambitious work yet, Shermer sets out to discover what drives humans’ belief in life after death, focusing on recent scientific attempts to achieve immortality along with utopian attempts ...
Steven Pinker
Feb 16, 2018
My (other) favorite book of the year: @MichaelShermer 's Heavens on Earth - a deep, poignant, & often hilarious look at the secular quest for immortality. Michael Shermer      source
The Theocons
Secular America Under Siege
Damon Linker - Sep 04, 2007 (first published in 2006)
Goodreads Rating
An essential history of the influential men who have spearheaded the movement to erode the wall separating church and state.Beginning as far-left radicals during the 1960s, the theocons in Damon Linkers book (including Richard John Neuhaus, Michael Novak, and George Weigel) gradually transitioned to conservatism when they grew frustrated with the f...
Steven Pinker
Feb 08, 2017
Excellent book on an intellectual foundation of Bannonism- The Theocons: Secular America Under Siege by Damon Linker      source
The Myth of Martyrdom
What Really Drives Suicide Bombers, Rampage Shooters, and Other Self-Destructive Killers
Adam Lankford - Jan 22, 2013
Goodreads Rating
A startling look at the deepest, darkest secrets that terrorists pray you'll never know For decades, experts from the most powerful governments and prestigious universities around the world have told us that suicide bombers are psychologically normal men and women driven by a single-minded purpose: self-sacrifice. As it turns out, this claim origin...
Steven Pinker
Oct 08, 2015
Excellent book by Adam Lankford: The Myth of Martyrdom: What Really Drives Suicide Bombers, Rampage Shooters, ...      source
Speaking Our Minds by Thom Scott-Phillips
The Language Hoax by John H. McWhorter
Eye, Brain, and Vision by David H. Hubel
Chasing Thoreau An Adventure in Paddling and Philosophy by Jim Payne
The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins
Atrocities by Matthew White
The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch
Clear and Simple as the Truth by Francis-Noël Thomas
Whole Earth Discipline by Stewart Brand
Retreat from Doomsday by John Mueller
The Nurture Assumption by Judith Rich Harris
Knowledge And Decisions by Thomas Sowell
The Science of Words by George A. Miller
One Two Three . . . Infinity by George Gamow
Enemies, A Love Story by Isaac Singer
The Strategy of Conflict by Thomas C. Schelling
The Evolution of Human Sexuality by Donald Symons