New York Times Bestseller
Amazon.com Editors' Picks: Best Science Books of 2007
Choice: Outstanding Academic Titles of 2008
"A display of fiercely intricate intelligence and nobody with the least interest in language should miss reading it."-The Times (London)
"Curious, inventive, fearless, naughty." -New York Times
"Packed with information, clear, witty, attractively written, and generally persuasive." -Colin McGinn, New York Review of Books
The Stuff of Thought is a revelation. In this exhilarating new book, Steven Pinker analyzes how our words relate to thoughts and to the world around us and reveals what this tells us about ourselves.
How does a mind that evolved to think about rocks and plants and enemies think about love and physics and democracy? Why do we threaten and bribe and seduce in such elaborate, often comical ways? How can a choice of metaphors start a war, impeach a president, or win an election? Why do people impose taboos on topics like sex, excretion, and the divine? What does the peculiar syntax of swearing (just what does the "fuck" in "fuck you" actually mean?) tell us about ourselves? Why do some names thrive while others fall out of circulation? How do we control the amount of information that we absorb? And what good does this actually do us? Pinker answers all these questions and many, many more. He shows us that language really can tell us unexpected and fascinating things about ourselves.
The Stuff of Thought is a book for everyone. Steven Pinker has devoted his life to studying the way we think and communicate. And language, in his hands, becomes a profound, and highly entertaining, way to shed light on every aspect of human nature.