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Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters by [Steven Pinker]
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Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 48 ratings

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Review

Steven Pinker is the high priest of rationalism ... [This book] is an impassioned and zippy introduction to the tools of rational thought ... Pinker wants probability theory and psychological biases to be taught in schools and universities. Punchy, funny and invigorating, this could be the textbook. -- James McConnachie ― Sunday Times

Steven Pinker is among the best science writers in history, and with Rationality he applies his talents to one of the most important and misunderstood human abilities - tracking reality with a brain that was designed to do so under some circumstances but not others. If you've ever considered taking drugs to make yourself smarter, read Rationality instead. It's cheaper, more entertaining, and more effective. -- Jonathan Haidt, NYU-Stern School of Business and author of The Righteous Mind

The Enlightenment torchbearer is eloquent in his defence of clear thinking ... [reason] is a tool that human beings have to learn to use with care, something this book will help any reader to do. -- Julian Baggini ― Financial Times

Rationality ­- like all of Pinker's work - [is] a paen to human potential... what Pinker really trades in are profoundly refreshing, energising sets of explanations for why we do and think the way we do ... harnessing reason is not just useful in all kinds of ways both personal and universal, but a wondrous property of being human. -- Zoe Strimpel ― Daily Telegraph

Almost every sentence in Rationality is crisp and intelligible, which is quite a feat, given that explaining logic to humans is like teaching them Sanskrit. Pinker suggests various ways to run our collective affairs more rationally. -- Simon Kuper ― New Statesman

A reader-friendly primer in better thinking through the cultivation of that rarest of rarities: a sound argument.

Kirkus

Rationality is a terrific book, much-needed for our time. In addition to drawing together the tools for overcoming obstacles to rational thinking, Pinker breaks new ground with the evidence he provides linking rationality and moral progress. -- Peter Singer --This text refers to the paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

Can reading a book make you more rational? Can it help us understand why there is so much irrationality in the world? Steven Pinker, author of Enlightenment Now (Bill Gates's "new favorite book of all time") answers all the questions here Today humanity is reaching new heights of scientific understanding-and also appears to be losing its mind. How can a species that developed vaccines for Covid-19 in less than a year produce so much fake news, medical quackery, and conspiracy theorizing? Pinker rejects the cynical cliché that humans are simply irrational-cavemen out of time saddled with biases, fallacies, and illusions. After all, we discovered the laws of nature, lengthened and enriched our lives, and set out the benchmarks for rationality itself. We actually think in ways that are sensible in the low-tech contexts in which we spend most of our lives, but fail to take advantage of the powerful tools of reasoning we've discovered over the millennia: logic, critical thinking, probability, correlation and causation, and optimal ways to update beliefs and commit to choices individually and with others. These tools are not a standard part of our education, and have never been presented clearly and entertainingly in a single book-until now. Rationality also explores its opposite: how the rational pursuit of self-interest, sectarian solidarity, and uplifting mythology can add up to crippling irrationality in a society. Collective rationality depends on norms that are explicitly designed to promote objectivity and truth. Rationality matters. It leads to better choices in our lives and in the public sphere, and is the ultimate driver of social justice and moral progress. Brimming with Pinker's customary insight and humor, Rationality will enlighten, inspire, and empower. --This text refers to the paperback edition.

From the Publisher

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08PY44J1P
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Penguin (28 September 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 9908 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 414 pages
  • Customer Reviews:
    3.9 out of 5 stars 48 ratings

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Steven Pinker is one of the world's leading authorities on language and the mind. His popular and highly praised books include The Stuff of Thought, The Blank Slate, Words and Rules, How the Mind Works, and The Language Instinct. The recipient of several major awards for his teaching, books, and scientific research, Pinker is Harvard College Professor and Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. He also writes frequently for The New York Times, Time, The New Republic, and other magazines.

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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5
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Top reviews from Australia

Reviewed in Australia on 11 November 2021
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Reviewed in Australia on 1 October 2021

Top reviews from other countries

John D
4.0 out of 5 stars Certainly makes you stop and think
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 November 2021
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Tested by Woody
2.0 out of 5 stars Second hand?
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 November 2021
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V.B.
2.0 out of 5 stars Kompliziert über einfache Sachen.
Reviewed in Germany on 29 November 2021
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Karl Hanson
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid argument for disciplined thinking
Reviewed in Canada on 23 November 2021
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One person found this helpful
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Darren Hennig
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read to give one a lot to consider!
Reviewed in Canada on 24 October 2021
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