Besides challenging conventional wisdom about how we think, cognitive scientist Steven Pinker has a talent for conveying his findings about the brain, language and perception with a clarity and cleverness that has brought him a following outside his field.
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Date of Birth:
September 18, 1954
Place of Birth:
B.A., McGill University, 1976; Ph.D., Harvard University, 1979
Humanist Laureate, International Academy of Humanism, 2001; William James Book Prize for How the Mind Works, 1999, and for The Language Instinct, 1995
|The Best Book to Read First|
|How the Mind Works|
Pinker explains the basics of brain evolution and why certain things are, from human aesthetics to male aggression. He does this in a clear, informal and witty style. Wrote Mark Ridley in the New York Times Book Review: "No other science writer makes me laugh so much."
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|Barnes & Noble.com asked Pinker about particular writers who had an impact on him when he was growing up in Montreal. On the scientific side, he cites Noam Chomsky and B. F. Skinner, "via colleagues of theirs who also taught at [my college]." On the literary side, he appreciates "vigorous, clear, witty nonfiction writers [such as E. B. White and George Orwell]," all adjectives that could be applied to Pinker himself. |