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The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century di [Pinker, Steven]
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The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century Formato Kindle

4.7 su 5 stelle 3 recensioni clienti

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Lunghezza: 341 pagine Word Wise: Abilitato Lingua: Inglese

Descrizione prodotto


Praise for The Sense of Style

“[The Sense of Style] is more contemporary and comprehensive than “The Elements of Style,” illustrated with comic strips and cartoons and lots of examples of comically bad writing. [Pinker’s] voice is calm, reasonable, benign, and you can easily see why he’s one of Harvard’s most popular lecturers.”
The New York Times
“Pinker's linguistical learning…is considerable. His knowledge of grammar is extensive and runs deep. He also takes a scarcely hidden delight in exploding tradition. He describes his own temperament as "both logical and rebellious." Few things give him more pleasure than popping the buttons off what he takes to be stuffed shirts.”
The Wall Street Journal
“[W]hile The Sense of Style is very much a practical guide to clear and compelling writing, it’s also far more…. In the end, Pinker’s formula for good writing is pretty basic: write clearly, try to follow the rules most of the time—but only the when they make sense. It’s neither rocket science nor brain surgery. But the wit and insight and clarity he brings to that simple formula is what makes this book such a gem.”
“Erudite and witty… With its wealth of helpful information and its accessible approach, The Sense of Style is a worthy addition to even the most overburdened shelf of style manuals.”
Shelf Awareness
“Forget Strunk and White’s rules—cognitive science is a surer basis for clear and cogent writing, according to this iconoclastic guide from bestselling Harvard psycholinguist Pinker... Every writer can profit from—and every writer can enjoy—Pinker’s analysis of the ways in which skillfully chosen words engage the mind.”
Publishers Weekly (starred)
“Yet another how-to book on writing? Indeed, but this is one of the best to come along in many years, a model of intelligent signposting and syntactical comportment…Pinker's vade mecum is a worthy addition to any writer’s library.”
Kirkus Reviews
“In this witty and practical book on the art of writing, Pinker applies insights from the sciences of language and mind to the crafting of clear, elegant prose: #requiredreading.”
Publishers Weekly, PW pick Fall 2014 Announcements
“Who better than a best-selling linguist and cognitive scientist to craft a style guide showing us how to use language more effectively?”
Library Journal
“[A] dense, fascinating analysis of the many ways communication can be stymied by word choice, placement, stress, and the like. [Pinker’s] explanations run rich and deep, complemented by lists, cartoons, charts on diagramming sentences, and more.”
“This book is a graceful and clear smackdown to the notion that English is going to the proverbial dogs. Pinker has written the Strunk & White for a new century while continuing to discourage baseless notions such as that the old slogan should have been ‘Winston tastes good AS a cigarette should.’”
—John McWhorter, author of Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue and The Power of Babel
“Great stuff! Only Steven Pinker could have written this marvelous book, and thank heaven he has. ‘Good writing can flip the way the world is perceived,’ he writes, and The Sense of Style will flip the way you think about good writing. Pinker’s curiosity and delight illuminate every page, and when he says style can make the world a better place, we believe him.”
 —Patricia T. O’Conner, author of Woe Is I and, with Stewart Kellerman, Origins of the Specious

 Praise for The Better Angels of Our Nature

"A supremely important book...a masterly achievement."
The New York Times Book Review

The Wall Street Journal

"One of the most important books I've read--not just this year, but ever."
—Bill Gates

Praise for The Stuff of Thought

"Packed with information...Clear, witty, attractively written."
The New York Review of Books

"A display of fiercely intricate intelligence."
The Times (London)

"Engaging and provocative . . . It's good to have a mind as lively and limpid as his bringing the ideas of cognitive science to the public."
—Douglas Hofstadter, Los Angeles Times

"Curious, inventive, fearless, naughty."
The New York Times


Praise for The Blank Slate

"Sweeping, erudite, sharply argued, and fun to read . . . also highly persuasive."

"Ought to be read by anybody who . . . thinks they already know where they stand on the science wars. . . . It could change their minds."
The Economist

"Pinker is a star, and the world of science is lucky to have him." —Richard Dawkins



Bad writing can't be blamed on the Internet, or on 'the kids today'. Good writing has always been hard: a performance requiring pretense, empathy, and a drive for coherence. In The Sense of Style, cognitive scientist and linguist Steven Pinker uses the latest scientific insights to bring us a style and usage guide for the 21st century. What do skilful writers know about the link between syntax and ideas? How can we overcome the Curse of Knowledge, the difficulty in imagining what it's like not to know something we do? And can we distinguish the myths and superstitions from rules that enhance clarity and grace? As Pinker shows, everyone can improve their mastery of writing and their appreciation of the art (yes, 'their').

Dettagli prodotto

  • Formato: Formato Kindle
  • Dimensioni file: 3396 KB
  • Lunghezza stampa: 341
  • Numeri di pagina fonte ISBN: 0143127799
  • Editore: Penguin (4 settembre 2014)
  • Venduto da: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Lingua: Inglese
  • ASIN: B00JW50680
  • Da testo a voce: Abilitato
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Abilitato
  • Miglioramenti tipografici: Non abilitato
  • Media recensioni: 4.7 su 5 stelle 3 recensioni clienti
  • Posizione nella classifica Bestseller di Amazon: #82.368 a pagamento nel Kindle Store (Visualizza i Top 100 a pagamento nella categoria Kindle Store)
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Formato: Copertina flessibile Acquisto verificato
Un libro immancabile per chi ama leggere e scrivere. Chiaro, preciso, assolutamente alla portata di tutti. Sono sicura che diventerà un testo consigliato dalle università!
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An amazing panorama of 21st century English. Beautifully written. My only objection is the ultra complicated explanation of the Conditional clauses.
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I had already read something by Steven Pinker about language (Words and Rules), and this new book really lives up to my expectations.
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Le recensioni clienti più utili su (beta) (Potrebbero essere presenti recensioni del programma "Early Reviewer Rewards") 4.3 su 5 stelle 309 recensioni
152 di 160 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
4.0 su 5 stelle English Majors and Writers Will Enjoy 6 ottobre 2014
Di Book Shark - Pubblicato su
Formato: Formato Kindle Acquisto verificato
The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century by Steven Pinker

The Sense of Style is a scholarly and witty book on the art of writing well. Bestselling author, linguist and cognitive scientist Steven Pinker provides readers with a new writing-guide for the twenty-first century. He breaks down grammar rules and challenges purists on the best use of language. This challenging 368-page book includes the following six chapters: 1. Good Writing, 2. A Window onto the World, 3. The Curse of Knowledge, 4. The Web, the Tree, and the String, 5. Arcs of Coherence, and 6. Telling Right from Wrong.

1. Dr. Pinker consistently produces quality work.
2. A "very" unique topic, the art of writing well from a scientific perspective. You don't have to read the book to get my joke.
3. Good use of wit that adds panache to a book about writing style.
4. Good advice throughout the book. "By replacing dogma about usage with reason and evidence, I hope not just to avoid giving ham-fisted advice but to make the advice that I do give easier to remember than a list of dos and don'ts."
5. Explains the three main reasons why style matters.
6. Provides insights on how to become a good writer. "Writers acquire their technique by spotting, savoring, and reverse-engineering examples of good prose."
7. Supports good style over writing dogma. "The key to good style, far more than obeying any list of commandments, is to have a clear conception of the make-believe world in which you're pretending to communicate." "The purpose of writing is presentation, and its motive is disinterested truth. It succeeds when it aligns language with the truth, the proof of success being clarity and simplicity."
8. The characteristics of classic style. "A writer of classic prose must simulate two experiences: showing the reader something in the world, and engaging her in conversation."
9. Provides many examples of what constitutes poor prose: "Metadiscourse, signposting, hedging, apologizing, professional narcissism, clichés, mixed metaphors, metaconcepts, zombie nouns, and unnecessary passives."
10. Hanlon's Razor, "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." Excellent explanation on how the curse of knowledge may lead to poor prose. "The curse of knowledge is the single best explanation I know of why good people write bad prose."
11. Ways on how to improve your prose. "Good prose is never written by a committee." Think about that.
12. The importance of understanding syntax. "Finally, an awareness of syntax can help you avoid ambiguous, confusing, and convoluted sentences. All of this awareness depends on a basic grasp of what grammatical categories are, how they differ from functions and meanings, and how they fit into trees."
13. Interesting insights on how our minds work and how that knowledge benefits good writing. "English syntax demands subject before object. Human memory demands light before heavy. Human comprehension demands topic before comment and given before new."
14. How to construct coherent passages longer than a sentence. "In fact, it's the hunger for coherence that drives the entire process of understanding language."
15. Discusses principles of composition. "An important principle in composition is that the amount of verbiage one devotes to a point should not be too far out of line with how central it is to the argument. "
16. Discusses good use of grammar, word choice, and punctuation. Starts off by debunking the myth that all traditional rules must be followed for dogma's sake. "That's right: when it comes to correct English, there's no one in charge; the lunatics are running the asylum. The editors of a dictionary read a lot, keeping their eyes open for new words and senses that are used by many writers in many contexts, and the editors add or change the definitions accordingly. Purists are often offended when they learn that this is how dictionaries are written."
17. Presents a list of common usage issues. "These are the ones that repeatedly turn up in style guides, pet-peeve lists, newspaper language columns, irate letters to the editor, and inventories of common errors in student papers." Great stuff.
18. Includes notes, glossary and a formal bibliography.

1. This book is intended for writers, not for laypersons. You must possess good command of the English language and grammar in order for this book to make sense. The grammar jargon will overwhelm the average reader.
2. The book's formatting leads to confusion. For a book predicated on clarity, many times I was lost.
3. The writing may come across as pretentious.
4. I wanted more neuroscience.

In summary, there is a direct correlation between the number of stars this book deserves and your expertise on the subject. English majors and writers will give this book either four or five stars. On the other hand, laypersons will struggle with it to say the least. I'm giving this book four stars because even though my engineering brethren balks at reading such a book the avid reader in me recognizes its value. Writers will enjoy this book while the rest will struggle with it.

Further recommendations: "The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition" by William Strunk Junior, "On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction" by William Zinsser, "A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, Seventh Edition: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing)" by Kate L. Turabian, "The Only Grammar Book You'll Ever Need: A One-Stop Source for Every Writing Assignment" by Susan Thurman and Larry Shea, "Book Writing Mistakes (How To Avoid The Top 12 Mistakes New Business Book Authors Make)" by Jim Edwards, "How to Write Great Blog Posts that Engage Readers (Better Blog Booklets Book 1)" by Steve Scott, "English Grammar For Dummies" by Geraldine Woods, and "Grammar Girl's Punctuation 911: Your Guide to Writing it Right (Quick & Dirty Tips)" by Mignon Fogarty.
5 di 5 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
4.0 su 5 stelle Great even though it assumes knowledge of some jargon 4 novembre 2015
Di Neuron - Pubblicato su
Acquisto verificato
As a scientist I spend much of my time writing scholarly articles. When Pinker, who I admire for his scientific contribution and perhaps even more for his writing skills, wrote this book about writing I was naturally interested. The book’s focus is on the classical writing style which is probably best characterized as a sort of writing philosophy. According to this philosophy your job as an author is to convey something you know to the reader. To do so you must put yourself in the boots of your reader. If you try to explain something in a language (or technical jargon) that your reader does not understand then you will fail. Indeed a good chunk of the book is devoted to the curse of knowledge; you erroneously assume that your reader knows what you know. Pinker gives concrete advice on how to avoid this.

Pinker, I think, is a relatively liberal writer. The focus is, and should be, on what makes your reader understand; not on obsessively following every rule in the rule books. In other words, if you are a language purist who thinks that starting a sentence with “And” is a capital crime, then this book will cause you much suffering.

Having said that, Pinker do devote the last chapter to rules that ought not to be violated unless you really know what you are doing. For instance I learned that I was wrong to use commas when there is just a pause in the spoken sentence. I also learned that: serial commas are a good thing; how to use semicolons; as well as the proper use of many improperly used.

It is a bit ironic that my one problem with the book was that there was too much jargon in it which sometimes made it difficult for me to understand. To me, as a native Swede, it seemed as if Pinker sometimes feel into the knowledge trap that he instructs us to avoid. Maybe it is just me who did not listen carefully on my English lessons, but I would occasionally have liked more information about basic grammar concepts.

Still, all in all this was a worthwhile read which I am sure will help me develop my writing
180 di 194 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
4.0 su 5 stelle A style manual for the 21st century 30 settembre 2014
Di Genevieve D. - Pubblicato su
Formato: Formato Kindle
Heads-up, editors. In The Sense of Style, author Steven Pinker challenges every authoritarian grammarian and language purist who has held sway over the rules of the English language with their dogmatic style books.

A psycholinguist by profession, Pinker is a scholar of the science of language. So it's no surprise that The Sense of Style feels like a modern alternative to the classic but tired guides of Strunk and White and others. In my days as an English undergrad, Strunk and White's The Elements of Style was the biblical tome of writing. But Pinker arrives with this iconoclastic book to show us that sometimes rules can be tone-deaf to what really makes for transparent and compelling prose.

Purists often forget that the English language is rife with idiosyncrasies that can't be fit so neatly into rule boxes. You'll see the best kind of rule-breaking among poets and novelists, who often have the better "ear" and feel for language than your clumsy grammarian. Language is chiefly a medium for expression, not just an embodiment of rules. Literature's most gifted writers have often 'broken' the rules using constructions that might have been edited into sterility by heavy-handed editors. The expressive possibilities of language often rely on the rules being bent.

As you can see, this book isn't your typical manual on grammar and usage. You won't find a list of dos and don'ts in an effort to indoctrinate. Pinker shows us instead that unthinking adherence to manuals actually makes for bad, clunky writing. For example, one of the signature rules in writing is to avoid using the passive voice at all costs. But Pinker argues that if you change every passive sentence into an active one, you're not necessarily improving the prose. The main problem is that the passive construction exists for a purpose--but most people don't know when to use it effectively. Sure, both active and passive constructions convey the same information but they have cognitive differences because of the order of information given. Pinker's rule of thumb: Passive is the preferred construction when the affected entity (the item that receives the action) is the topic of the preceding discussion or when the agent of action is irrelevant to the discussion. In other words, good writing is about having a "sense," about letting your communication goals dictate the writing.

This book isn't for beginners. Pinker is clear in the Introduction about this and writes that this book is for experienced writers. You will benefit the most from this book if you are a relatively experienced writer and reader, and are familiar with the basic rules of language and grammar. You have to know the rules in order to bend them with style and with compelling reason, to know when to take advantage of loopholes and irregularities.

The "sense" in The Sense of Style is knowing how a masterful writer moves fluidly between logical rules and combinations, and knows those idiomatic usages and irregularities. The book is packed with examples and is wonderfully readable, which surprised me. Pinker is great at reverse engineering passages and illuminating what writers have done well (or not done well) to convey their ideas. Take lots of notes!

For those who still crave the utility of a reference manual, the later chapters in the book include lists of words and rules that can be bent and those that can't (in Pinker's opinion). Or, for a bite-size taste of the grammar rules Pinker explores in this book, check out this article ( by Pinker in The Guardian.

Overall, a great, informative read. I'll be keeping this on my reference shelf.

[Disclaimer: I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher through the Goodreads First Reads Program in exchange for an honest review.]
2 di 2 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle Combines deep linguistic authority with practical necessities 20 aprile 2017
Di Spatially Mapped - Pubblicato su
Formato: Copertina flessibile Acquisto verificato
Brilliant. From the author of books on popular Linguistics on the one hand and vast sweeps of intellectual argument on the other, this combines deep linguistic authority with practical necessities. There are five major sections, which get progressively longer. (i) Windows on the World argues for a basic descriptive style as the foundation for all writing, at least non-fiction. If this seems obvious, contrast with so much academic and technical writing. (ii) The Curse of Knowledge is timely in the sense that I’ve seen this described from multiple sources recently. Why do people give such bad directions? Because they assume that the listener has the same worldview infrastructure. (iii) The Web, The Tree, and The String is the most technical. It has the greatest insight (to me) of the whole book. Ideas in our heads take the form of webs of connected ideas (semantic nets or webs). To communicate them we need to convert to a linear sequence of words (the string). The transformations are through trees (parsing). We can see whether our strings are coherent and properly match the webs by reverse engineering the transformation. No one but a linguist would actually go through this process, but it still is both insightful and helpful. (iv) Arcs of Coherence has perhaps the most useful info: While writing starts with outlines and ends with paragraphs, real writing requires a more complex structure. Themes appear and reappear. Conflicts as well. How should they best be structured? (v) Telling Right From Wrong has 120 pages of practical advice.
2 di 2 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
5.0 su 5 stelle Lovely 12 dicembre 2015
Di Mr. Richard K. Weems - Pubblicato su
Formato: Copertina flessibile Acquisto verificato
How refreshing to read a style book that operates on actual style rather than a preconceived list of must-haves. Pinker uses the logic of expression, an historical view of changes in language, and an ACTUAL definition of style to offer up a thoughtful book that presents and exemplifies clear, simple and accurate expression. Also marvelous for its humor, using cartoons as well as references to The Princess Bride, Spinal Tap and Monty Python as suitable examples. While not quite a sit-down-and-read primer, going back over passages I'd underlined was just as worthwhile.

Just check out this explanation of classic style, the idea he orients his presentation around:

"The guiding metaphor of classic style is seeing the world. The writer can see something that the reader has not yet noticed, and he orients the reader's gaze so that she can see it for herself. The purpose of writing is presentation, and its motive is disinterested truth. It succeeds when it aligns language with the truth, the proof of success being clarity and simplicity. The truth can be known, and is not the same as the language that reveals it: prose is a window onto the world. The writer knows the truth before putting it into words; he is not using the occasion of writing to sort out what he thinks. Nor does the writer of classic prose have to argue for the truth; he just needs to present it. That is because the reader is competent and can recognize the truth when she sees it, as long as she is given an unobstructed view. The writer and the reader are equals, and the process of directing the reader's gaze takes the form of a conversation."

He later defines disinterested properly as unbiased and without a vested interest. He also nicely qualifies that such presentation does require drafting and revision, likening this to a celebrity chef pulling a soufflé from the oven--we are presented with the final product and not the whole process of him learning how to make it.

I have always been troubled at the idea of expecting students to write 'with style,' for I'd always the phrase ambiguous and thus unquantifiable and unattainable. But Pinker, as he does throughout the book, takes ambiguities and presents them in clear, attainable terms.

And so reassuring. For example, hearing him describe paragraph breaks as eye rests for the reader, grammar and punctuation as guides to reading rather than persnickety rules, and even his own moments of persnicketiness for accuracy, that makes this a book to keep on-hand in defense against the lazy and hyper-arrogant.
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