Who should read it: Anyone who wishes to understand human nature at a deeper level, and how an informed understanding of it provides clarity around “hot-button” topics such as violence, gender and raising children.
What I took from it: The Blank Slate is a scientific look at human nature. How we came to be, why are that way and what it means for modern society. It tackles serious contemporary issues, both philosophical and political, through the lens of evolutionary psychology. This brilliant book doesn’t suggest we are eternally chained to the immoral acts of human nature, unless of course, we keep pretending that it doesn’t even exist in the first place.
Notable quote: Many tragedies come from our physical and cognitive makeup. Our bodies are extraordinarily improbable arrangements of matter, with many ways for things to go wrong and only a few ways for things to go right. We are certain to die, and smart enough to know it. Our minds are adapted to a world that no longer exists, prone to misunderstandings correctable only by arduous education, and condemned to perplexity about the deepest questions we can ascertain.