For the Wall Street Journal, he tagged a five best list of books that explore human nature.
One title on Pinker's list:
YanomamöRead about another title from the list.
By Napoleon A. Chagnon
Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1968
To understand human nature, first understand the conditions that prevailed during most of human evolution, before the appearance of agriculture, cities and government. "Yanomamö," Napoleon A. Chagnon's summation of his 30 years among the "fierce people" of the Amazon rainforest, is vividly (and often humorously) written and packed with implications for human nature. For one, he rebuts the idea that aboriginal people would live in peace and harmony if just left alone by the modern world; violence, Chagnon shows, is endemic to the Yanomamö. His book is a courageous work, both physically (the Yanomamö nearly killed him) and intellectually (fellow anthropologists wanted to kill him).