Stuff of Thought
Steven Pinker

Book cover image

Narrated By: John Chancer

Duration: 21 hours and 27 minutes

What to expect

Brought to you by Penguin.

In The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature, Steven Pinker looks at how the relationship between words and thoughts can help us understand who we are.

Why do so many swear words involve topics like sex, bodily functions or the divine? Why do some children's names thrive while others fall out of favour? Why do we threaten and bribe and seduce in such elaborate, often comical ways? How can a choice of metaphor damn a politician or start a war? And why do we rarely say what we actually mean?

Language, as Steven Pinker shows, is at the heart of our lives, and through the way we use it - whether to inform, persuade, entertain or manipulate - we can glimpse the very essence of what makes us human.

©2008 Steven Pinker (P)2019 Penguin Audio


Psycholinguistics and cognitive linguistics, Sociolinguistics

Listen to a sample

Astonishingly readable

Daily Telegraph

Perceptive, amusing and intelligent


No one writes about language as clearly as Steven Pinker, and this is his best book yet

Financial Times

Immensely readable and stimulating. Pinker is a master at making complex ideas palatable


Awesome ... Pinker writes lucidly and elegantly, and leavens the text with scores of perfectly judged anecdotes, jokes, cartoons and illustrations