Dueling Writing Advice Books: Pinker v. Murray

Charles Murray is currently out promoting his advice book, much of which is devoted to how to write better. And in early fall, Steven Pinker will publish his own advice book for writers:

The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st CenturyThe Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century

When I think of people I know who are manifestly superb thinkers, Pinker and Murray are always near the top of the list for clarity, elegance, power, and precision of mind.

Here`s a bit from an interview I did with Pinker to promote his book The Blank Slate that shows his command:

Q: Aren`t we all better off if people believe that we are not constrained by our biology and so can achieve any future we choose? 

A: People are surely better off with the truth. Oddly enough, everyone agrees with this when it comes to the arts. Sophisticated people sneer at feel-good comedies and saccharine romances in which everyone lives happily ever after. But when it comes to science, these same people say, “Give us schmaltz!” They expect the science of human beings to be a source of emotional uplift and inspirational sermonizing.