Why do fools fall in love? Why does a man’s annual salary, on average, increase $600 with each inch of his height? When a crack dealer guns down a rival, how is he just like Alexander Hamilton, whose face is on the ten-dollar bill? How do optical illusions function as windows on the human soul? Cheerful, cheeky, occasionally outrageous MIT psychologist Steven Pinker answers all of the above and more in his marvelously fun, awesomely informative survey of modern brain science. Pinker argues that Darwin plus canny computer programs are the key to understanding ourselves–but he also throws in apt references to Star Trek, Star Wars, The Far Side, history, literature, W. C. Fields, Mozart, Marilyn Monroe, surrealism, experimental psychology, and Moulay Ismail the Bloodthirsty and his 888 children. If How the Mind Works were a rock show, tickets would be scalped for $100. This book deserved its spot as Number One on bestseller lists. It belongs on a short shelf alongside such classics as Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life, by Daniel C. Dennett, and The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology, by Robert Wright. Pinker’s startling ideas pop out as dramatically as those hidden pictures in a Magic Eye 3D stereogram poster, which he also explains in brilliantly lucid prose.
“Presented with extraordinary lucidity, cogency and panache…Powerful and gripping…To have read [the book] is to have consulted a first draft of the structural plan of the human psyche…a glittering tour de force” – Spectator “Why do memories fade? Why do we lose our tempers? Why do fools fall in love? Pinker’s objective in this erudite account is to explore the nature and history of the human mind…He explores computations and evolutions, and then considers how the mind lets us “see, think, feel, interact, and pursue higher callings like art, religion and philosophy” – Sunday Times