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Download The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature, by Steven Pinker Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,504 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Steven Pinker Narrator: Dean Olsher Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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New York Times bestselling author Steven Pinker possesses that rare combination of scientific aptitude and verbal eloquence that enables him to provide lucid explanations of deep and powerful ideas. His previous books—including the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Blank Slate—have catapulted him into the limelight as one of today’s most important and popular science writers.

Now, in The Stuff of Thought, Pinker marries two of the subjects he knows best: language and human nature. The result is a fascinating look at how our words explain our nature. What does swearing reveal about our emotions? Why does innuendo disclose something about relationships? Pinker reveals how our use of prepositions and tenses taps into peculiarly human concepts of space and time, and how our nouns and verbs speak to our notions of matter. Even the names we give our babies have important things to say about our relations to our children and to society.

With his signature wit and style, Pinker takes on scientific questions like whether language affects thought, as well as forays into everyday life—why is bulk e-mail called spam and how do romantic comedies get such mileage out of the ambiguities of dating—The Stuff of Thought is a brilliantly crafted and highly readable work that will appeal to fans of readers of everything from The Selfish Gene and Blink to Eats, Shoots & Leaves.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The majesty of Pinker’s theories is only one side of the story. The other side is the modesty of how he built them. It all makes sense, when you look at it the right way.”

    New York Times

  • “Pinker is not only wonderfully clear; he is also blessedly witty.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Engaging and provocative…filled with humor and fun.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “The Harvard professor’s theories of language and mind have far-reaching implications for scientist and philosophers, but his discussions here about semantic wars and metaphor battles can fascinate all of us. A major book by one of the world’s most influential public intellectuals.”

    Barnes & Noble, editorial review

  • “A person with some knowledge of linguistic theory will enjoy this audio enormously; a person without it will be enriched and delighted by the book.”

    Publishers Weekly (audio review)

  • “Dean Olsher does a great job narrating… He is confident and moderately paced when introducing new concepts and seems as tickled as Pinker when recounting linguistic silliness.”


  • “Pinker’s fluency in the nuances of words and syntax serves as proof of his faith in language as ‘a window into human nature.’”


  • “Pinker writes clearly and has an eye for meaningful real-world examples…Call it continuing education for brain owners, an instruction manual on how thought works—and how to think better.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Артём Багинский | 2/16/2014

    " this one was really special. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Nilagia | 2/2/2014

    " Interesting look at language from a cognitive-psychology view-point; after reading it, you can never say "it's just semantics" again, because there are major implications behind our every day words. I do have to warn though, that this book is quite dense, and I think being somewhat versed in semantics helped me through it; for example there are entire chapters devoted to subjects like verbs, which I think, if you weren't interested in that kind of thing, might seem excruciatingly nit-picky at times. But, it's totally worth it, especially since it sets the background for some really intriguing analysis of stuff like profanity and even the inherent sexism found in the structures of verbs describing sex acts. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Marcus Lira | 1/26/2014

    " Although I'm not fond of Pinker's mentalese approach, it's a very interesting book (and often quite funny as well) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Dawn | 1/12/2014

    " Although Pinker's linguistic theories are slightly outdated (in my humble opinion), this book is a very interesting look into semantics, or how meaning is transmitted through language, and perhaps more importantly, how meaning is contained and carried in thought. Pinker's affinity for verbs is perhaps a little overstated, he dwells on the subject for quite some time, but nonetheless it is a very neat window into the cognitive processes behind Meaning. "

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