Reading lists

Where to start with Steven Pinker

The author of books including Rationality has had a polymathic scientific career. Here’s how to delve into it.

Saloni Dattani
A flatlay of Steven Pinker's books
How many have you read? Image: Mica Murphy/Penguin

Steven Pinker is a cognitive scientist, writer and public intellectual. But such a description understates the breadth and depth of his interests. His research and popular writing span a number of areas that include perception, language acquisition, genetics, evolutionary psychology and political science.

His books dive into the intricacies of research in each area – the patterns in irregular verbs, the declines in casualties from war – and connect the threads in the process: how our use of verbs reflects our understanding of the world, how democracies affect our common knowledge. The result is a bibliography filled with insight and reflection, and conveyed in his characteristic tone: congenial, precise and inspiring. Here's how to get started with it:

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