How the Mind Works

  • by Steven Pinker
  • Narrated by Mel Foster
  • 26 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.


Audible Editor Reviews

What the Critics Say

“Undeniably brilliant.” ( Newsday)
"Big, brash, and a lot of fun.” ( Time)
“Hugely entertaining.... always sparkling and provoking.” ( Wall Street Journal)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.
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- Christopher Wilton

How the World Works

I read this when it came out - 1997 - and was stunned then. Re-listening now, I find some of the references (e.g. to computers) have dated a bit, but my main reaction is how the contents of this book have been more or less assimilated as the basis of our modern understanding of the world. Evolutionary biology is such a satisfying logical basis for exploring human strategies and capacities - of cooperation, competition, status-seeking, mating, making war, art, physically seeing - that once you have it carefully explained by someone like Steven Pinker, you don't forget it (like I forget history books) and nothing else (e.g. cultural feminism) competes as a coherent explanation. I did get more out of a second reading, but the most surprising thing was how much had stuck, and become the wallpaper of 'my' mind.

Warning - rather slow start with extensive technical details on visual perception. Some readers might get put off by that and not persevere to the more 'social' issues, which get more interesting as the book progresses.

Narration. Mel Foster is clearly a professional actor/reader, and delivers a perfect performance, in a voice completely appropriate to SP as a Harvard professor.
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- Judy Corstjens

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-11-2011
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio