Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker is Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. An experimental cognitive psychologist, he is also a popular writer on language, mind, and human nature and the author of ten books.

Books by Steven Pinker

Interviews with Steven Pinker

The best books on The Decline of Violence, recommended by Steven Pinker

Our TV screens may be full of news about war and crime, but this masks a fall in historical terms in the number of violent deaths that’s nothing short of astonishing, says Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker. He tells us how and why this happened. (This interview was updated 17 December, 2020, to include books that have come out since it was published in 2011)

Interviews where books by Steven Pinker were recommended

The best books on Neuroscience, recommended by David Brooks

It’s hard to understand many things about the world around us without a knowledge of the unconscious workings of the brain, argues the New York Times columnist David Brooks. He chooses five accessible books that’ll get you into neuroscience as well.

The best books on Evolutionary Psychology, recommended by Chris Paley

Human traits are a product of natural selection—and the story of how we have evolved explains many of our psychological quirks today. Chris Paley, author of Unthink and Beyond Bad, recommends five of the best evolutionary psychology books—and explains how experimental data might finally get to the bottom of the question of free will.

The best books on Language and the Mind, recommended by Lane Greene

Does the world look different in other languages? Are there words that cannot be translated? Is it OK to say disinterested when you mean uninterested? Lane Greene, who writes the Economist’s “Johnson” column on language, dispels some of the popular but misguided ideas many of us have about language.

The best books on Swearing, recommended by Melissa Mohr

Linguistically, swear words are unique—they can shock and offend, are processed differently in the brain, and saying them may allow you to withstand pain for longer. But where do they get their distinctive power? And how has this changed over time? Melissa Mohr gives us a badmouthed tour of the best fucking books on swearing . . .

Grammar Books That Prove What They Preach, recommended by Lane Greene

Most grammar books say ‘do this, and that’s that.’ But who says? How do they know? Real rules are grounded in the facts of actual standard usage. Here are five grammar books that show their work, telling you not only what to do but why, and how they know. Accept nothing less.

Rebecca Goldstein on Reason and its Limitations

Baruch Spinoza thought reason could do it all, but experience tells us otherwise. Philosopher Rebecca Goldstein recommends both the books that made the best case for reason—and the most successful critiques.

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