The Better Angels of Our Nature - Steven Pinker

The Better Angels of Our Nature

By Steven Pinker

  • Release Date: 2011-10-04
  • Genre: Psychology
Score: 4
4
From 61 Ratings

Description

Selected by The New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of the Year

The author of The New York Times bestseller The Stuff of Thought offers a controversial history of violence.

Faced with the ceaseless stream of news about war, crime, and terrorism, one could easily think we live in the most violent age ever seen. Yet as New York Times bestselling author Steven Pinker shows in this startling and engaging new work, just the opposite is true: violence has been diminishing for millenia and we may be living in the most peaceful time in our species's existence. For most of history, war, slavery, infanticide, child abuse, assassinations, programs, gruesom punishments, deadly quarrels, and genocide were ordinary features of life. But today, Pinker shows (with the help of more than a hundred graphs and maps) all these forms of violence have dwindled and are widely condemned. How has this happened?

This groundbreaking book continues Pinker's exploration of the esesnce of human nature, mixing psychology and history to provide a remarkable picture of an increasingly nonviolent world. The key, he explains, is to understand our intrinsic motives--the inner demons that incline us toward violence and the better angels that steer us away--and how changing circumstances have allowed our better angels to prevail. Exploding fatalist myths about humankind's inherent violence and the curse of modernity, this ambitious and provocative book is sure to be hotly debated in living rooms and the Pentagon alike, and will challenge and change the way we think about our society.  

Reviews

  • This book suffers in iBooks

    2
    By Asb21keb
    This is a fantastic book, but I can't recommend buying it in iBooks. This book has dozens of figures, but there is no easy way to find them in the text. The list of figures has no links to take you directly to them. It gives page numbers, but only the hardback numbers, which are not displayed in iBooks. So you have just keep turning pages until you find them--fine for a linear reading, but not for referring back later.
  • Good book. Unfortunately, He

    1
    By Ameri_CanaWA
    In his rush to prove that science has made the world a better place, he leaves out 50+ years of abuse by the medical community directed towards LGBT people. This is unsurprising do to the fact that he is a psychologist and therefore would never dirty the reputation of his fellow colleague, or their predesecors. What is unfortunate is that this book is featured here and other places that have integrity.
  • Almost as great as The Blank Slate

    5
    By Lars VanGogh
    Here he makes some terribly controversial claims, which is not new for him, but with The Better Angels Of Our Nature, Pinker provides more thorough evidence than ever. Get ready for an onslaught of graphs, charts, and mind-numbing calculations and statistical data. But I recommend reading it creatively, by jumping around the book so that you can keep the pace going and save the math for bedtime. Pinker might be difficult to read and his books thick and heavy, but his rhetoric is so polished and his arguments so refreshingly effective that any extra effort is amply rewarded. I haven't even finished reading it and already can recommend to those who haven't started to stock up on pencils and bookmarking material, because he provides even more crucial nuggets of solid evidence and quotable material here than I believe can be found in his last three books. I hate to use terms like tour de force, but in this case it fits. Steven Pinker is a revolutionary thinker with the power to turn one's world upside down.