In this delightful, acclaimed best seller, 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 new edition of Pinker's bold and buoyant classic is updated with a new foreword by the author.
©2011 Steven Pinker (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
"Undeniably brilliant." (Newsday)
"Big, brash, and a lot of fun." (Time)
"Hugely entertaining.... always sparkling and provoking." (Wall Street Journal)
"Excellent But Long Winded"
Having listened to "The Better Angels of Our Nature" with great pleasure, I was perhaps primed to expect too much from this earlier and equally lengthy audiobook. But where as the aforementioned kept my interest throughout, there are some parts of this book that are deeply, deeply dull to anyone but the specialist.
The second six-hour block of the book is given over entirely to optics and perception, a subject difficult enough to grasp in written words, let alone being read out aloud. - As this section drags on it becomes more and more of chore to listen to, which is a shame because there is so much in this book worth listening to on both sides of that abyss.
An editor with a bit more nerve might have insisted that Pinker truncate that section of the book which was clearly the author's person hobby horse, alas listeners will have to suffer for the sake of it.
"Excellent! Reverse engineering for the mind."
With Stephen Pinker, you always get a lot of book for your bucks! This one is no exception.
I expected a book about CBT and neuroanatomy. However, I found the first sections of this book unusual - a detailed reverse engineering of our misperceptions to uncover the tricks the brain uses in giving us meaningful information about the world in the form of 3D colour vision, stereo hearing, tactile sensations, heat, cold, pain etc. It is almost a book of AI about how you might go about building a brain from scratch.
Yes, I liked his advocacy of the "computational theory of mind" - combined with the "selfish" gene centred model of evolution. This has rich explanatory power, and he is at pains to show how it differs from the prevalent "academic" view of the SSSM (Standard Social Sciences Model), based on the mind as a blank slate.
My only gripe with him here is that many of his evolutionary examples were a bit cliched - I wish he had tackled some of the more problematic areas of the theory such as the adaptive value of homosexuality, suicide, empathy etc. To be fair, he did do a whole section on altruism.
Perhaps the best bits for me were his detailed analyses of humour and music, not as adaptations, but as biproducts of other adaptive modules like language and status - ways we found to tweak our brain physiology in pleasurable directions, and which we thus developed. He also looks at free will, religion, "the hard problem" of consciousness, and every aspect of what it is to be human.
If you like Pinker's down to earth scientific approach, as I do, this book gives a very interesting perspective on the sometimes odd way our minds work, to envisage the world. Some parts are very detailed, and your interest may sag at times, but the pace and interest soon pick up.
"How The Mind Works"
Very thought provking, full of facts and interesting new ideas, bur a little boring if read all in one go. A good book to take in small bites.
"Fascinating explanations of human behaviour"
This is a long book, but a thoroughly good listen, giving some fascinating insights into human behavior and make-up. If you are struggling with the first few chapters stick with it because the last 4 are worth the wait
"Far too detailed"
...for me at least.
I wasnt expecting this book to be so detailed. I found alot of it just went over my head. If you are studying this subject then I am sure this is the book for you. If you are just looking for some thing to listen to while driving just to entertain then look else where. I had to stop after the first section.
Well narrated and I am sure for the right person this is a 5 star book.
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