Customer Reviews for

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined

Average Rating 4.5
( 20 )
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  • Posted February 14, 2012

    A Must Read

    This book is fantastic, if you can tolerate a sober look at perhaps the most emotional of subject matter. Be prepared for some of your prejudices to be overturned. You will go on a journey through anecdotes of cruelty and tragedy, through social and psychological studies, and even through mapping the structure of the brain. Hundreds of pages long, this book will keep you reading and reading until you arrive at a cautiously optimistic endpoint. And far from heaps of speculation, nearly every page of the book cites at least one reference to the greater literature. This book has changed my thinking.

    That said, the eBook version has some serious shortcomings. The diagrams are nearly unreadable. The index at the back is useless without page numbers. What the heck? Get yourself a paper copy of this one, if you don't need to carry it around with you.

    -jw

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2013

    e EXCELLENT

    Exhaustive. Well researched. Fascinating. Not for the faint of heart, though, as some of the descriptions of violent acts can be pretty graphic. Wothwhile read for sure.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 20, 2012

    Solid, clear, worth it.

    THE NOTION that in 2012 we live in the least violent times our species has ever known seems odd at first. The idea even makes one bridle in disbelief. Yet, that is the central idea in The Angels of Our Better Nature. Steven Pinker makes a good case—good enough that I frequently found myself examining ideas I previously held as settled fact to see if they might not be just settled prejudices. That's good writing. Any reader grows or learns only after reaching that point. Why take the trouble to look beyond what you 'know' unless something gives you reason to sense there might be more to be found. This is where Pinker shines. He is always there, the consummate guiding teacher, suggesting things to consider. This is encounter with the big picture though faithful attention to detail. He does not push, does not attempt to drag you his way with rhetoric. He neither blusters nor condescends. Instead, he guides and offers for your consideration. Then he always brings you back to your own life. You just understand it better. It is not recitation of fact and argument. It is conversation. There is a person in there. For sure, there is careful argument, with equally careful examination of counter-evidence and plausible synthesis of threads from many, many sources in science, history, math, logic and psychology—even art. He brings a reader not so much to acceptance of his point as to greater comprehension of it in the context of human life. “Draw your own conclusions.” he seems to say. His prose sparkles with clarity. This book has some passages that rely on analytical mathematics, things most of us don't deal with very often. I am interested in math but I am by no means a mathematician. I had to read some passages repeatedly, but I was rewarded. I didn't learn mathematics (well, maybe a little bit) but his presentation succeeded in giving me a clear sense of the mechanics of the phenomena described by the math. Without inflicting pain. That's a worthy achievement.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2012

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2012

    Thought provoking and fascinating read

    Dr. Pinker knows how to make history, psychology, anthropology and economics into a blended, cohesive and utterly fascinating text. This bok wil provoke countless discussions and i certainly plan to use it in my teaching as well. Truly brilliant and thoroughly researched. I give it a very strong recommendation for anyone who likes to think and learn.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2012

    Pinkfur

    She waited.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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