- Paperback: 672 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Later prt. edition (January 17, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393318486
- ISBN-13: 978-0393318487
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (266 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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How the Mind Works Later prt. Edition
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Why do fools fall in love? Why does a man's annual salary, on average, increase $600 with each inch of his height? When a crack dealer guns down a rival, how is he just like Alexander Hamilton, whose face is on the ten-dollar bill? How do optical illusions function as windows on the human soul? Cheerful, cheeky, occasionally outrageous MIT psychologist Steven Pinker answers all of the above and more in his marvelously fun, awesomely informative survey of modern brain science. Pinker argues that Darwin plus canny computer programs are the key to understanding ourselves--but he also throws in apt references to Star Trek, Star Wars, The Far Side, history, literature, W. C. Fields, Mozart, Marilyn Monroe, surrealism, experimental psychology, and Moulay Ismail the Bloodthirsty and his 888 children. If How the Mind Works were a rock show, tickets would be scalped for $100. This book deserved its spot as Number One on bestseller lists. It belongs on a short shelf alongside such classics as Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life, by Daniel C. Dennett, and The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology, by Robert Wright. Pinker's startling ideas pop out as dramatically as those hidden pictures in a Magic Eye 3D stereogram poster, which he also explains in brilliantly lucid prose. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
From Library Journal
MIT's Pinker, who received considerable acclaim for The Language Instinct (LJ 2/1/94), turns his attention to how the mind functions and how and why it evolved as it did. The author relies primarily on the computational theory of mind and the theory of the natural selection of replicators to explain how the mind perceives, reasons, interacts socially, experiences varied emotions, creates, and philosophizes. Drawing upon theory and research from a variety of disciplines (most notably cognitive science and evolutionary biology) and using the principle of "reverse-engineering," Pinker speculates on what the mind was designed to do and how it has evolved into a system of "psychological faculties or mental modules." His latest book is extraordinarily ambitious, often complex, occasionally tedious, frequently entertaining, and consistently challenging. Appropriate for academic and large public libraries.?Laurie Bartolini, MacMurray Coll. Lib., Jacksonville, Ill.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
It is not in my opinion as good a book as The Language Instinct, nor as good as The Blank Slate, which it resembles in some ways (I am reading them simultaneously, though I read TBS years ago for the first time, and you can't help but notice the cross-over). So, I considered giving it four stars. But, then I decided, it is such a powerful performance, and so well written, that it shouldn't get less than five stars just because he didn't surpass himself. I have another book of his on tap and I'm going to get right to it.
I will offer this minor criticism. Have you ever sat through a fireworks display that just never ended? It might have benefitted from a little tighter editing, but it seems like he just doesn't want to leave anything out. If he knows it, he want us to know it too.
First off, this damn book is dense! I do mean that literally. I can't hold it up with one hand comfortably-it's friggan deceptively heavy. I am more than 100 pages in and I am struggling a bit with it. Not with the physical weight...but with the subject matter. It's the concepts, particular of the second chapter, "Thinking Machines", which has me considering putting it down.
I'm not stupid or dimwitted, but I find myself lost in my own ignorance. I believe it might help if I had any background in computer programming. Perhaps this problem will resolve itself in the next chapter. But, I worry that it will go on in this vein till the end.
I really enjoyed "The Better Angels of our Nature", and so I began collecting some of Pinker's other works-and they ARE works. I have others awaiting me. I truly enjoy his sense of humor, and his beautiful writing style. Having seen him speak (in videos) I find his gentle tone and impression of patience soothing. As I read him, it's his voice I hear reading the words. But, this one is losing me.
Still, it is beautifully written as are his other books, even if my poorly evolved mammalian brain can't fashion a summary of what I've so far read.
And it costs $9.99! That's nearly as much as the paperback version ($11.79) - and that's an actual physical book! Completely ridiculous.
So basically I threw away $10 for a barely readable ebook. Don't make my mistake. DO NOT BUY THE KINDLE VERSION.