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The Talks at Google podcast - where great minds meet.

Talks at Google brings the world’s most influential thinkers, creators, makers, and doers all to one place. Every episode is taken from a video that can be seen at

Dec 21, 2021

Can reading a book make you more rational? Can it help you understand why there is so much irrationality in the world? These are the goals of Rationality, Steven Pinker’s follow-up to to his book Enlightenment Now.

In the 21st century, humanity is reaching new heights of scientific understanding—and at the same time, appears to be losing its mind. How can a species that developed vaccines for Covid-19 in less than a year also produce so much fake news, medical quackery, and conspiracy theorizing? Pinker rejects the cynical cliché that humans are an irrational species — cavemen out of time saddled with biases, fallacies, and illusions. After all, we discovered the laws of nature, lengthened and enriched our lives, and discovered the benchmarks for rationality itself.

Instead, he explains that we think in ways that are sensible in the low-tech contexts in which we spend most of our lives, but fail to take advantage of the powerful tools of reasoning our best thinkers have discovered over the millennia. Brimming with insight and humor, Rationality will enlighten, inspire, and empower.

Moderated by Googler Brian Welle.

Visit to watch the video.