Review of The Better Angels of Our Nature
From BETTER ANGELS OF OUR NATURE by Steven Pinker. Summarized by arrangement with Viking, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC
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Steven Pinker – Harvard psychology professor, best-selling author of The Sense of Style and one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World Today” – presents a dizzying, immense, revelatory re-evaluation of violence globally, now and throughout history. His central thesis, which he defends with research, charts, graphs, surveys of history and psychological theory, is that worldwide violence has declined to – and currently holds at – historically low levels. Thus, this is a time of unprecedented peace thanks to several factors that Pinker explains in knowing detail, plus those better angels of human nature: “empathy, self-control, moral sense” and “reason.”
To help you understand today’s reduced level of violence Pinker offers an overview of worldwide levels of violence in every era. The last part of his analysis covers the social and psychological motivations that fuel violence and the individual moral – and broad historical – influences that resist it.
About the Author
Steven Pinker is a Harvard College professor and the Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. His books include The Sense of Style, The Blank Slate, Words and Rules, How the Mind Works and The Language Instinct.
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