This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window…

The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature (original 2007; edition 2008)

by Steven Pinker

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,676303,329 (3.8)34
Title:The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature
Authors:Steven Pinker
Info:Penguin (Non-Classics) (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 512 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature by Steven Pinker (2007)


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 34 mentions

English (29)  Spanish (1)  All languages (30)
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
I had borrowed this and needed to return it, so I only read about 5 chapters. Fun to read, though a bit pedantic and repetitious. More useful for entertainment or for discovering funny anecdotes- the social relevance seems obvious. I think I may watch more of Pinckers Youtube videos as they are just as insightful but in smaller and less time-consuming more easily digestible chunks. ( )
  keithostertag | Sep 11, 2018 |
Too tedious but informative ( )
  ShadowBarbara | Jan 27, 2017 |
Not nearly as good as the Blank Slate or How the Mind Works. If you are very interested in linguistics and what it reveals about how we think, then have a try at this one. I'm about half way through and some chapters are slow, but the content is very deep and original. ( )
  fliesbath | Oct 26, 2015 |
This book really made me think about thought and about human language. I especially enjoyed the chapter on profanity. Admittedly, some parts of the book were dry for my tastes but in a lot of places, the author made some very good analyses and seemed to show some real insight. ( )
  jimocracy | Apr 18, 2015 |
This is an interesting book. I always benefit from Pinker's insights on science and the general world. But I think this book lacks a cohesive element to it that his other books have achieved. ( )
  TJWilson | May 19, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
Linguistic determinism is just one of the foes Pinker takes on. He engages with a number of rival theories of language. Sometimes he cuts a few argumentative corners in the interests of mounting a persuasive case. Still, it is not hard to forgive him. He may be partisan, but he is never boring. And he does know a lot about words.
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
For Rebecca
First words
There is a theory of space and time embedded in the way we use words.
On September 11, 2001, at 8:46 A.M., a hijacked airliner crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670063274, Hardcover)

"New York Times" bestselling author Steven Pinker possesses that rare combination of scientific aptitude and verbal eloquence that enables him to provide lucid explanations of deep and powerful ideas. His previous books?including the Pulitzer Prize finalist "The Blank Slate"?have catapulted him into the limelight as one of today's most important and popular science writers.
Now, in "The Stuff of Thought," Pinker marries two of the subjects he knows best: language and human nature. The result is a fascinating look at how our words explain our nature. What does swearing reveal about our emotions? Why does innuendo disclose something about relationships? Pinker reveals how our use of prepositions and tenses taps into peculiarly human concepts of space and time, and how our nouns and verbs speak to our notions of matter. Even the names we give our babies have important things to say about our relations to our children and to society.
With his signature wit and style, Pinker takes on scientific questions like whether language affects thought, as well as forays into everyday life?why is bulk e-mail called spam and how do romantic comedies get such mileage out of the ambiguities of dating? "The Stuff of Thought" is a brilliantly crafted and highly readable work that will appeal to fans of readers of everything from "The Selfish Gene" and "Blink" to "Eats, Shoots & Leaves."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:07 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Psychologist Pinker explains how the mind works in a completely new way--by examining how we use words. Every time we swear, we reveal something about human emotions. When we use an innuendo to convey a bribe, threat, or sexual come-on (rather than just blurting it out), we disclose something about human relationships. Our use of prepositions and tenses tap into peculiarly human concepts of space and time, and our nouns and verbs tap into mental models of matter and causation. Even the names we give our babies, as they change from decade to decade, have important things to day about our relations to our children and to society. Pinker takes on both scientific questions--such as whether language affects thought, and which of our concepts are innate--and questions from the headlines and everyday life.--From publisher description.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.8)
0.5 2
1 5
1.5 1
2 14
2.5 3
3 63
3.5 34
4 133
4.5 20
5 59

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 134,924,299 books! | Top bar: Always visible