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

The Stuff of Thought Language as a Window into Human Nature


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

In The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature, Steven Pinker looks at how the relationship between words and thoughts can help us understand who we are. Why do so many swear words involve topics like sex, bodily functions or the divine? Why do some children's names thrive while others fall out of favour? Why do we threaten and bribe and seduce in such elaborate, often comical ways? How can a choice of metaphor damn a politician or start a war? And why do we rarely say what we actually mean? Language, as Steven Pinker shows, is at the heart of our lives, and through the way we use it - whether to inform, persuade, entertain or manipulate - we can glimpse the very essence of what makes us human. 'Awesome' Daily Mail 'Highly entertaining ... funny and thought-provoking' The Times 'Anyone interested in language should read The Stuff of Thought ... moments of genuine revelation and some very good jokes' Mark Haddon, Sunday Telegraph Books of the Year 'No one writes about language as clearly as Steven Pinker, and this is his best book yet' David Crystal, Financial Times Steven Pinker is the Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. Until 2003, he taught in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. He conducts research on language and cognition, writes for publications such as The New York Times, Time and Slate, and is the author of six books, including The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works and The Blank Slate.


Astonishingly readable * Daily Telegraph * Perceptive, amusing and intelligent * Times * No one writes about language as clearly as Steven Pinker, and this is his best book yet * Financial Times * Immensely readable and stimulating. Pinker is a master at making complex ideas palatable * Independent * Awesome ... Pinker writes lucidly and elegantly, and leavens the text with scores of perfectly judged anecdotes, jokes, cartoons and illustrations * Daily Mail * Perceptive, amusing and intelligent * Times *

About the Author

Steven Pinker has made a glittering career for himself since he left Montreal as a young man; studying and then teaching at Harvard, Stanford and finally the Michigan Institute of Technology. He has won a number of prizes and awards, including being made a Doctor of Science honoris causa, McGill University, 1999 and the Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement in the same year. He is acknowledged as the natural successor to Noam Chomsky in linguistics and a leading authority on the science of the mind.

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Book Info

Publication date

29th October 2005


Steven Pinker

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Penguin Books Ltd


512 pages





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