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  • The Blank Slate

  • The Modern Denial of Human Nature
  • By: Steven Pinker
  • Narrated by: Victor Bevine
  • Length: 22 hrs and 40 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (285 ratings)

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The Blank Slate cover art

The Blank Slate

By: Steven Pinker
Narrated by: Victor Bevine
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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin

Recently many people have assumed that we are blank slates shaped by our environment. But this denies the heart of our being: human nature. 

Violence is not just a product of society; male and female minds are different; the genes we give our children shape them more than our parenting practices. To acknowledge our innate abilities, Pinker shows, is not to condone inequality but to understand the very foundations of humanity.

©2003 Steven Pinker (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"A passionate defence of the enduring power of human nature...both life-affirming and deeply satisfying." (Daily Telegraph)

"Brilliant...enjoyable, informative, clear, humane." (New Scientist)

"Startling.... This is a breath of air for a topic that has been politicized for too long." (Economist)      

What listeners say about The Blank Slate

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The beautiful death of free will

God where to start? This book addresses everything you can imagine. Art, human nature politics, sexes and children.

It is beautifully written and marvelously narrated. Anyone who is interested in human nature (in a scientific and non-scientific way) and how it shapes us must read this. No scrap that!!

EVERYONE MUST READ THIS OR A BOOK LIKE THIS!

This book address the arguments of free will, noble savage and blank state from a political and scientific view. Honestly, genetics is not my field so I could easily be fooled by anything stated here, but the authors states certain studies (abstractly) which i honestly believe can be searched and verified by anyone who has the time.

If anything, most of his arguments are argued with common sense so even a fool like me could try to find a flaw in them. This book offers a "new" (hardly new, but we live in a society...) way of looking at human nature, which hopefully could help us shape a better future by understanding ourselves.

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20 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars

old dressed as new

"New on audible" is misleading because the subject matter of this book is out of date. it would be more accurate to say "This 2002 book available for the first time on audible". I also bought The Stuff of Thought, circa 2007, under a similar misapprehension. Not new at all.

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16 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • R
  • 10-12-19

Pinker’s best work

A total joy to read or listen to. Mr Pinker has great style and a wonderful mind. Admire them while you can. All his books should leave you in awe of his wit, wisdom and, again, great style (see another of his books - The Sense of Style).
I know he puts huge time and energy into his writings but the result is a lovely flow of difficult concepts made easier. My favour author. The narration is good too. The Blank Slate convinces us that we are born with different possibilities and that this should be understood and accepted. Some with aggressive, political ideologies might wish it were otherwise. A very important book

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9 people found this helpful

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Important, fascinating, argumentative, kind.

I'm on a reading roll!! I love how this book flows. Every chapter worth reading. Definitely will come back to it very soon. Also it shows just how much Pinker loves language when he draws attention to its properties any chance he gets. And then he also quotes Shakespeare and Orwell a couple of times. I can't even. Oh and he drags his fellow academics just enough in this one, it makes it entertaining but kind.

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8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

A masterpiece of pop science writing

The best pop science book I have read so far. Pinker’s data driven approach embedded in rational and human-centred focus of the nature-nurture debate is refreshing. The writing style is skill full but yet not overly self-celebrating. The narrator did a good job. 20 hours of listening without losing interest, actually the opposite! I went back to chapters because I did not wanted to miss any detail. 5/5 ⭐️

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6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent book

It took me to the limits of my understanding, but it is certainly accessable to the general hoi poloi. Lots to think on and thoughts to readjust my prior thinking.
I really enjoyed this book. I found the reading too slow, but the beauty of Audible is that you can speed it up, I listened to this on X 1.5 speed.

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3 people found this helpful

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Highly recommended

This book deftly introduces and defends the sciences of human nature, allays concerns about their supposed moral and political implications, and teases out their real implications for "hot buttons" such as parenting, gender, and the arts. As a bonus, it delivers all this in clear, informal prose and with a great sense of humour.

I'd recommend this highly to anyone who is seeking an introduction to evolutionary psychology and related fields, or curious about what science now has to say on the "nature vs nurture" debate, or even simply looking for an enjoyable nonfiction audiobook.

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3 people found this helpful

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  • LC
  • 15-10-22

Not what I was looking for

I was disappointed by this book as I was hoping for something educational from which I could learn new things about the area described in the book overview.
However, I found this book to be mainly opinions about what other people have written or said, rather than explaining the facts, and much of that is focused on the disagreements and “battles” between various people writing on the subject, rather than on how things work. I didn’t find this of much value or interest. I would much rather listen to explanations of factual information about the latest findings and evidence, maybe with some useful commentary. There didn’t seem to be anything new here either.
I have read and enjoyed many other books by author, so wasn’t expecting this book to be as it is.

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1 person found this helpful

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Highly recommend - maybe better as a book.

Overall the book is great, have recommended and gifted it several times.
Thought provoking and interesting - but maybe better as a book read as it’s easier to pause.
Narration was a bit mixed, some times too monotonous on an already hard/long listen and sometimes a bit over dramatic.
All in all still a favourite of mine.

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A Brilliant book that is still relevant

Pinker takes on the sacred cows of modern liberalism and shows them up for the frauds they are

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1 person found this helpful