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Only this weekend Mr Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, announced in his new book club ‘A Year of Books’ that he’d be taking on Steven Pinker’s ‘The Better Angel’s of Our Nature’. Within hours, the book catapulted on Amazon’s chart from 6,521st to 501st. A timely coincidence for our scheduled REDUX of LondonReal’s 2013 interview with the linguistic and cognitive scientist – there is a real exciting sense that what we in the LondonReal community have known about Pinker for some time will now be known widely.
With the rise to prominence of the Islamic State, Boko Haram and events in Paris, Pinker’s message has never been as relevant. We could be mistaken for believing the world is getting darker again but contrary to what seems to be the trend Pinker argues that violence is actually on the decrease. A revolutionary idea in our media driven world where it seems impossible to escape atrocity. He discusses how archaic structures of morality and thinking have been perpetuating conflict, rather than preventing it.
Pinker’s work is promoted by philanthropist Bill Gates, who has his own reading blog called Gate’s Notes. On it Gates calls Pinker’s work “important” and heralds him as a great thinker showing us ways that “we can make those positive trajectories a little more likely… a contribution, not just to historical scholarship, but to the world.”
The most engaging thing about Pinker as a guest is that as a communicator he is a simple pleasure to listen to, sharing his ideas with both passion and command. This episode is a must. So, before your jump on Amazon to snap up your copy of ‘Better Angels’ and join the Zuckerberg book club, get your fix of London Real.