What books have inspired Steven Pinker?

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Bill Gates recently called Steven Pinker’s "The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined" the most inspiring book he’s ever read. We asked Dr. Pinker what books have most inspired him. Here’s what he shared...


The Beginning of Infinity, David Deutsch

The Two Cultures, C. P. Snow

Whole Earth Discipline, Stewart Brand

The Rational Optimist, Matt Ridley

The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins

The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins

Adaptation & Natural Selection, George C. Williams

Origin of Species, Charles Darwin

Principles of Psychology, William James

The Strategy of Conflict, Thomas Schelling

Words and Things, Roger Brown

The Yanomamo, Napoleon Chagnon

The Nurture Assumption, Judith Rich Harris

Problems in Philosophy, Colin McGinn

Retreat from Doomsday, John Mueller

One Two Three … Infinity, George Gamow

Homicide, Martin Daly & Margo Wilson

The Evolution of Human Sexuality, Donald Symons

The Last Word, Thomas Nagel

Brainstorms, Daniel C. Dennett

Style, Joseph Williams

Clear and Simple as the Truth, Francis-Noël Thomas and Mark Turner



Pale Fire, Vladimir Nabokov

Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

The Mind-Body Problem, Rebecca Goldstein

36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of FictionRebecca Goldstein

Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain

Moby Dick, Herman Melville

Enemies: A Love Story, Isaac Bashevis Singer

1984, George Orwell

The Iliad, Homer

Pygmalion, George Bernard Shaw