Read The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined Online Free - 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 millennia 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, pogroms, gruesome 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 essence 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.
|Title||:||The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined|
|Number of Pages||:||802 pages|
May 24, 2017
Breathtakingly mindless for 2/5 of the book, blowhard the whole way through.
Sometimes a good joke is more revealing than 800 pages of blowhardness. Pinker gives himself away with this quote by George Carlin on page 622: I think motivation is overrated. You show me some lazy prick who's lying arou...
April 26, 2013
VIOLENCE HAS DECLINED, AND I WILL KICK THE LIVING SHIT OUT OF ANYONE WHO SAYS IT HASN'T
Disappointingly, Pinker strikes a slightly less confrontational tone than that, but the basic idea is the same. His thesis is that violence of every kind, from international warfare down to murder and corporal...
December 08, 2014
The Skeptic’s Peace
Pinker warns the reader upfront that the book is huge, and with more than 800 dense pages there is no question about it. It is so wide-ranging that it is fortunate it has such a memorable title - the reader might have easily lost track of where it is all supposed to be heading....
February 14, 2012
This seems like a stunning misstep by the normally brilliant Steven Pinker. His ability to write with extraordinary force and clarity has been demonstrated repeatedly in two separate areas of expertise -- linguistics and cognitive science. Unfortunately, the brilliance of his earlier books in tho...
March 18, 2012
When an academic steps outside his or her field of expertise, it's best to brace yourself for a torrent of nonsense. Steven Pinker, whose work in linguistics and psychology I greatly enjoy, has made a habit of using that work as a springboard to foist his pet political theories on the public. Whe...
January 08, 2014
In this book, Steven Pinker explores a very controversial thesis, that is, violence is declining. Different types of violence are declining on multiple time scales. It would seem like the twentieth century had some major wars and plenty of genocide to make his thesis sound rather foolish. But in...
September 24, 2012
I have a peripheral awareness that Pinker awakens red penitus in a goodly proportion of his stalwart readers: but I don’t know why. I shan’t delve into this before I write up ‘better angels’: don’t want to be distracted by ‘noise’.
800 pages of socio-economic postulating: always an inexact scienc...
September 29, 2016
Steven Pinker has written a monster of a book. He has used his intelligence to crunch a huge volume of material. He has made a number of great points to which I'm sure to be referring often.
Yet despite all the insights and accompanying drum rolls, I am suspicious of the dramatic hypothesis, the g...
February 10, 2017
Steven Pinker certain ranges widely in intellectual circles. Although he is nominally a professor of psychology at Harvard, but even with specialties (per Wikipedia) in experimental psychology, cognitive science, linguistics, he somehow dove into history to present one of the best TED Talks, back...
April 28, 2017
I love optimistic books, and there is a lot of optimism in the almost 800 pages of "The better angels of our nature". At the same time, I find it impossible to give a single opinion about this behemoth of a book, because I found some of its elements truly excellent, some ok, and some scream-out-l...