The best 32 Language books

Language is the cornerstone of human communication, shaping our thoughts and interactions. Our carefully selected book list delves into various aspects of language, offering valuable insights into its power and complexity.

Discover the richness and nuances of language with our collection. Ready to explore these illuminating reads and deepen your understanding of this fundamental aspect of human connection?

The best 32 Language books
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1
Language Books: The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker

The Language Instinct

Steven Pinker
How the Mind Creates Language
4.0 (114 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
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What's The Language Instinct about?

The Language Instinct (1994) provides an in-depth look into the origins and intricacies of language, offering both a crash course in linguistics and linguistic anthropology along the way. By examining our knack for language, the book makes the case that the propensity for language learning is actually hardwired into our brains.

Who should read The Language Instinct?

  • Anyone interested in linguistics
  • People who want to know why Noam Chomsky is so famous
  • Anyone who has ever been taken aback by how quickly their children learned to speak

2
Language Books: Fluent Forever by Gabriel Wyner

Fluent Forever

Gabriel Wyner
How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It
4.3 (304 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Fluent Forever about?

Fluent Forever unlocks the secrets of how to get the most out of your memory, so you can learn languages faster than you ever thought possible. It teaches you how your memory works and the precise techniques you can use to remember more words, more accurately, in a way that’s efficient and fun.

Who should read Fluent Forever?

  • Anyone learning a language
  • Anyone who wants to improve their memory

3
Language Books: 10 Days to Faster Reading by The Princeton Language Institute and Abby Marks Beale

10 Days to Faster Reading

The Princeton Language Institute and Abby Marks Beale
Zip Through Books, Magazines, and Newspapers – Understand and Remember Everything You Read
4.4 (555 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's 10 Days to Faster Reading about?

10 Days to Faster Reading (2001) sets out to help you get through your ever-growing pile of must-read books. By breaking down the mindsets and bad habits that inhibit effective reading and replacing them with highly efficient reading techniques, you’ll be reading faster and retaining more than ever before.

Who should read 10 Days to Faster Reading?

  • Anyone who wants to read faster and remember more of what they read
  • Educators looking for new reading strategies for students
  • College students and bibliophiles

4
Language Books: Through the Language Glass by Guy Deutscher

Through the Language Glass

Guy Deutscher
Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages
4.0 (64 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Through the Language Glass about?

Through the Language Glass (2010) explores the many ways in which language both reflects and influences our culture. By exploring the different ways that languages deal with space, gender and color, the book demonstrates just how fundamentally the language you speak alters your perception of the world.

Who should read Through the Language Glass?

  • People interested in language and how it affects us
  • Anyone interested in how the brain works
  • Linguistics students

5
Language Books: The Secret Life of Pronouns by James W. Pennebaker

The Secret Life of Pronouns

James W. Pennebaker
What Our Words Say About Us
4.2 (33 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Secret Life of Pronouns about?

The Secret Life of Pronouns (2011) shines a light on the everyday language that we seldom pay attention to, revealing the ways in which it serves as a window into our personality and our social connections.

Who should read The Secret Life of Pronouns?

  • Linguists, psychologists and grammar nerds from all disciplines
  • Anyone interested in what language can reveal about others and ourselves

6
Language Books: The Sense of Style by Steven Pinker

The Sense of Style

Steven Pinker
The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century
4.2 (100 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Sense of Style about?

The Sense of Style (2014) offers a refreshing and relevant guide to writing potent, readable texts of all kinds. Instead of extolling the same confusing and sometimes counter-intuitive rules found in traditional style guides, The Sense of Style offers simple tricks and heuristics guaranteed to improve your writing.

Who should read The Sense of Style?

  • Lovers of the English language
  • Professional or amateur writers
  • People interested in linguistics

7
Language Books: I Can Hear You Whisper by Lydia Denworth

I Can Hear You Whisper

Lydia Denworth
An Intimate Journey Through the Science of Sound and Language
3.9 (10 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's I Can Hear You Whisper about?

I Can Hear You Whisper (2014) is about human communication, and the phenomenon and culture of deafness. Hearing is a complex process that doesn’t function the same way for everyone, and those who are deaf or hard of hearing have developed alternative methods of communication, around which a special culture has grown. These blinks give an overview of that culture and show that it’s just as rich as any other.

Who should read I Can Hear You Whisper?

  • Anyone interested in the science or culture of deafness
  • Sociology or medical students

8
Language Books: Words That Work by Frank Luntz

Words That Work

Frank Luntz
It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear
4.0 (145 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Words That Work about?

Words That Work (2007) is a guide to getting your point across more efficiently and effectively. These blinks explain the power of language and how it can help you in any number of situations, from business to political discussions to getting out of a traffic ticket.

Who should read Words That Work?

  • Anyone who wants to communicate more effectively
  • Academics interested in the hidden power of language

9
Language Books: What Makes Us Human? by Charles Pasternak, editor

What Makes Us Human?

Charles Pasternak, editor
4.1 (24 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's What Makes Us Human? about?

In What Makes Us Human (2007), a group of experts shares ideas on this centuries-long question. These blinks plumb the depths of the mystery of our species, to discover why humans alone cook food to eat, think creatively and understand cause and effect.

Who should read What Makes Us Human??

  • Scientists, philosophers and theologists
  • People who want to explore questions about human life

10
Language Books: Words Like Loaded Pistols by Sam Leith

Words Like Loaded Pistols

Sam Leith
Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama
4.2 (134 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Words Like Loaded Pistols about?

Words Like Loaded Pistols (2012) is a guide to identifying rhetoric and using it to your advantage. These blinks use historical, contemporary and everyday examples to show how rhetoric is a part of everything we do, which is why it’s such an essential topic to examine.

Who should read Words Like Loaded Pistols?

  • Anyone who wants to better understand the science behind political jargon
  • Students and professionals striving to become better public speakers and writers

11
Language Books: Thirty Million Words by Dana Suskind

Thirty Million Words

Dana Suskind
Building a Child’s Brain
4.6 (29 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Thirty Million Words about?

Thirty Million Words (2015) explains the importance of language in a child’s early development and long-term success. These blinks outline the optimal early language environment for a child and highlight the ways parents can help their children during these critical years.

Who should read Thirty Million Words?

  • New parents
  • Psychologists and educators
  • People who want to learn a new language.

12
Language Books: Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes by Daniel Everett

Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes

Daniel Everett
Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle
4.6 (36 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes about?

Don’t Sleep There Are Snakes (2008) tell us about the unique culture and language of the Pirahã, an indigenous people of the Amazonian jungle who don’t use numbers, have names for colors or bother with small talk. They also laugh and smile more than most other cultures. These blinks explain what languages can tell us about the human experience and, moreover, why we shouldn’t forget how many other cultures and languages besides our own exist around the world.

Who should read Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes?

  • Language enthusiasts looking to learn more
  • Anyone who thinks all languages are more or less the same
  • Citizens of the world looking to gain fresh perspectives on other cultures

13
Language Books: The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson

The Mother Tongue

Bill Bryson
English And How It Got That Way
4.5 (118 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Mother Tongue about?

The Mother Tongue (1990) provides a unique and personal look at the history of the English language. You’ll learn how, thanks to its flexibility and adaptability, English has endured and flourished, despite centuries of invasions, uprisings and censorship.

Who should read The Mother Tongue?

  • Historians
  • Linguists
  • Word lovers

14
Language Books: Holy Sh*t by Melissa Mohr

Holy Sh*t

Melissa Mohr
A Brief History of Swearing
4.1 (51 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Holy Sh*t about?

Holy Sh*t (2013) is a journey through the history of swearing. Starting in ancient Rome and coming up to the present day, these blinks delve into the cultures of different periods to highlight the rich evolution of swear words and obscenities throughout history.

Who should read Holy Sh*t?

  • Language lovers
  • Historians, anthropologists and students of cultural studies
  • People who want to broaden their swearing vocabulary

15
Language Books: Do I Make Myself Clear? by Harold Evans

Do I Make Myself Clear?

Harold Evans
Why Writing Well Matters
4.0 (74 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Do I Make Myself Clear? about?

Do I Make Myself Clear? (2017) offers a much-needed look at why clear and concise messages are, now more than ever, so important. There is an overwhelming abundance of content these days, and yet finding the truth has never been more difficult. Politicians and marketing executives use deliberately misleading words that obscure the truth and leave us confused and distrustful. Other times, bad writing simply leaves us scratching our heads. If we hope to better understand the facts, we need more people who can deliver clear and meaningful writing.

Who should read Do I Make Myself Clear??

  • Aspiring writers
  • Students hoping to craft better papers
  • Readers tired of bad writing

16
Language Books: Making a Point by David Crystal

Making a Point

David Crystal
The Persnickety Story of English Punctuation
3.7 (16 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Making a Point about?

Making a Point (2015) is all about punctuation, the little marks that tie written language together. These blinks explain what function punctuation serves, why it can become a heated topic of discussion and how writers have used it creatively for years.

Who should read Making a Point?

  • Anyone who writes
  • Students of language or literature
  • Grammar nerds

17
Language Books: Language Intelligence by Joseph J Romm

Language Intelligence

Joseph J Romm
Lessons on Persuasion from Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln, and Lady Gaga
4.2 (121 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Language Intelligence about?

Language Intelligence (2012) focuses on an aspect of language that is often overlooked or dismissed: the art of rhetoric. From the King James Bible to Shakespeare, from modern-day political campaigns to the lyrics of pop songs, rhetoric is a widely used tool – one that we all should learn to use and understand. After all, in words there is power and strength.

This is a Blinkist staff pick

“These blinks take you through history and around the world in search of answers to the age-old question of how the languages we speak affect the way we think and act. Really fascinating stuff!”

– Erik, Editorial Production Manager at Blinkist

Who should read Language Intelligence?

  • Linguists and grammarians
  • Politicians and marketing experts
  • Poets and singers

18
Language Books: The Stuff of Thought by Steven Pinker

The Stuff of Thought

Steven Pinker
Language as a Window into Human Nature
4.1 (75 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's The Stuff of Thought about?

The Stuff Of Thought (2007) offers an in-depth look at language and, more specifically, what it can tell us about human nature and the complexities of the human mind. These blinks touch on everything from our ability to unconsciously detect subtle grammatical patterns to the linguistic rules surrounding politeness.

Who should read The Stuff of Thought?

  • Readers interested in the complexity of language
  • Psychologists and language therapists
  • Students of linguistics and literature

19
Language Books: Find Out Anything From Anyone, Anytime by James O. Pyle and Maryann Karinch

Find Out Anything From Anyone, Anytime

James O. Pyle and Maryann Karinch
Secrets of Calculated Questioning From a Veteran Interrogator
4.1 (118 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Find Out Anything From Anyone, Anytime about?

Find Out Anything From Anyone, Anytime (2014) is a guide to asking questions that will elicit the responses you seek. The authors draw on decades of experience to show that everyone – from teachers to journalists to doctors – can benefit from asking the right questions in the right way.

Who should read Find Out Anything From Anyone, Anytime?

  • Journalists, lawyers or anyone whose job involves asking a lot of questions
  • People interested in the sociology of language
  • Those wishing to improve their conversational techniques

20
Language Books: Word by Word by Kory Stamper

Word by Word

Kory Stamper
The Secret Life of Dictionaries
4.3 (12 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Word by Word about?

Word by Word (2017) is about an object, and its associated profession, for which people rarely spare a thought: dictionaries and the honorable occupation of lexicography. Kory Stamper introduces the fascinating world of word classification through her own experience at Merriam-Webster, showing what dictionaries can do and, just as importantly, what they don’t.

Who should read Word by Word?

  • Language enthusiasts and linguistics nerds
  • Lovers of English literature
  • Anyone hoping to get a new perspective on underappreciated professions

21
Language Books: The Third Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond

The Third Chimpanzee

Jared Diamond
The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal
4.4 (188 ratings)
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What's The Third Chimpanzee about?

In The Third Chimpanzee (1991), Jared Diamond explores the evolution of Homo sapiens, which started out like any other animal and gradually became a unique creature capable of producing speech, making art and inventing technology. The book reveals some extraordinary insights about the nature of human beings.

Who should read The Third Chimpanzee?

  • Students of history and anthropology
  • People interested in human evolution
  • Readers querying the essence of humankind

22
Language Books: Writing That Works by Kenneth Roman and Joel Raphaelson

Writing That Works

Kenneth Roman and Joel Raphaelson
How To Communicate Effectively In Business
4.1 (71 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Writing That Works about?

Writing That Works (1981) is the definitive guide to business writing. These blinks are full of advice on how to write clear, compelling and succinct business communications, covering everything from quarterly reports to presentations, emails and even resumes.

Who should read Writing That Works?

  • Marketers and advertisers at all levels
  • Students of business, marketing and advertising
  • Entrepreneurs looking for tips on effective business writing

23
Language Books: Words on the Move by John McWhorter

Words on the Move

John McWhorter
Why English Won’t – and Can’t – Sit Still (Like, Literally)
4.6 (48 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Words on the Move about?

Words on the Move (2016) is a whistle-stop tour through the history of the English language, from its Anglo-Saxon roots to global lingua franca. Packed with illuminating insights into the evolution of words and meaning, John McWhorter’s entertaining look at language dispels plenty of myths along the way. He argues that emoticons and the new use of “like” aren’t a threat to our language, but quite the opposite – they’re the latest chapters in a story of endless evolution.

Who should read Words on the Move?

  • Language learners and enthusiasts
  • Anyone who’s wondered where words come from
  • History buffs

24
Language Books: China In Ten Words by Yu Hua

China In Ten Words

Yu Hua
4.1 (104 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's China In Ten Words about?

China in Ten Words (2012) explores the way modern China talks about itself and probes what that tells us about its past, present and likely future. Honing in on ten common concepts, author Yu Huan tells the story of a nation that has seemingly changed beyond recognition, yet in many ways remains closer to its revolutionary origins than one might believe.

Who should read China In Ten Words?

  • Students of the history of Communist China
  • Linguists curious about how language shapes cultural concepts
  • Those who are fascinated by the modern “Chinese Miracle”

25
Language Books: How Language Works by David Crystal

How Language Works

David Crystal
How Babies Babble, Words Change Meaning, and Languages Live or Die
4.3 (106 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's How Language Works about?

How Language Works (2005) unlocks the secrets of how and why we communicate. Language is one of the defining characteristics that makes humans human. But because it’s such a fundamental concept, we rarely take the time to think about where it comes from or how it evolves. These blinks examine the historical and personal origins of language and the many different ways it affects our daily lives.

Who should read How Language Works?

  • Language lovers curious to learn how language works
  • Those who appreciate the vast diversity of languages in the world
  • People concerned about endangered or extinct languages

26
Language Books: Because Internet by Gretchen McCulloch

Because Internet

Gretchen McCulloch
Understanding the New Rules of Language
4.1 (138 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Because Internet about?

It’s common knowledge that the internet has profoundly changed society, and Because Internet (2019) looks at one specific and significant change: how online culture has transformed the English language. These blinks show how the web has created new linguistic rules, remixed old ones and democratized writing itself. Along with these shifts, prepare to explore the memes, emoji and demographic makeup of the internet.  

Who should read Because Internet?

  • Language nerds fascinated by recent changes in English
  • Inflexible grammarians clinging on to past practices
  • Parents consistently baffled by their children’s text messages

27
Language Books: Persuasive Copywriting by Andy Maslen

Persuasive Copywriting

Andy Maslen
Cut Through the Noise and Communicate With Impact
4.3 (203 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Persuasive Copywriting about?

Persuasive Copywriting (2019) is a valuable guide to the world of copywriting, with tips on how to get the attention and keep the interest of customers, as well as generate those all-important sales for your client. Author Andy Maslen takes time-tested techniques that have proven reliable for generations and shows how these are being successfully applied in an online world that’s increasingly focused on content marketing.

Who should read Persuasive Copywriting?

  • New and experienced copywriters
  • Marketing and sales professionals
  • Writers eager to engage readers

28
Language Books: How You Say It by Katherine D. Kinzler

How You Say It

Katherine D. Kinzler
Why You Talk the Way You Do – and What It Says About You
4.2 (149 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's How You Say It about?

How You Say It (2020) examines the role that speech plays in structuring society. Through research and intelligent analysis, it shows how our accents, word choices, and other linguistic quirks become part of our identity and change how we see others.

Who should read How You Say It?

  • Social scientists wanting to learn more about language
  • Big talkers curious about the hidden meaning of their accents
  • Anyone interested in unpacking their unconscious biases

29
Language Books: Transcendence by Gaia Vince

Transcendence

Gaia Vince
How Humans Evolved Through Fire, Language, Beauty, and Time
4.2 (272 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Transcendence about?

Transcendence (2020) is a wide-ranging overview of humanity’s history, from its beginnings on the savannas of Africa to the globe-spanning civilization of today. This multifaceted exploration shows how fire, language, beauty, and time came to define our species.

Who should read Transcendence?

  • History buffs seeking a deep look at the past
  • Armchair anthropologists curious about the origins of human society
  • Anyone interested in what makes humans human

30
Language Books: Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus by Ludwig Wittgenstein

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

Ludwig Wittgenstein
4.0 (303 ratings)
Listen to the Intro
00:00

What's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus about?

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921) is a singular and ground-breaking work of modern philosophy that attempts to illuminate the relationship between logic, language, and reality.

Who should read Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus?

  • Big thinkers curious about contemporary philosophy
  • Language lovers interested in the relationship between language and reality
  • Anyone interested in the major thinkers of modernity

31
Language Books: The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr.

The Elements of Style

William Strunk Jr.

What's The Elements of Style about?

"The Elements of Style" is a classic guide to writing well. Written by William Strunk Jr. and later revised by E.B. White, it offers timeless advice on grammar, style, and composition. A must-read for anyone looking to improve their writing skills and communicate more effectively.

Who should read The Elements of Style?

  • Individuals looking to improve their writing skills
  • Students seeking guidance on grammar and composition
  • Professionals who want to communicate clearly and effectively

32
Language Books: Train Go Sorry by Leah Hager Cohen

Train Go Sorry

Leah Hager Cohen
Inside a Deaf World

What's Train Go Sorry about?

"Train Go Sorry" is a memoir by Leah Hager Cohen that delves into the world of the Lexington School for the Deaf in New York City. Through personal anecdotes and interviews, Cohen explores the challenges and triumphs of the deaf community, shedding light on the complexities of communication and the importance of understanding and acceptance. It offers a unique perspective on deaf culture and the power of language.

Who should read Train Go Sorry?

  • People interested in the experiences of the deaf community
  • Individuals curious about the challenges faced by deaf students in mainstream education
  • Readers who appreciate personal narratives that shed light on the power of communication and understanding

Related Topics

Language Books
 FAQs 

What's the best Language book to read?

While choosing just one book about a topic is always tough, many people regard The Language Instinct as the ultimate read on Language.

What are the Top 10 Language books?

Blinkist curators have picked the following:
  • The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker
  • Fluent Forever by Gabriel Wyner
  • 10 Days to Faster Reading by The Princeton Language Institute and Abby Marks Beale
  • Through the Language Glass by Guy Deutscher
  • The Secret Life of Pronouns by James W. Pennebaker
  • The Sense of Style by Steven Pinker
  • I Can Hear You Whisper by Lydia Denworth
  • Words That Work by Frank Luntz
  • What Makes Us Human? by Charles Pasternak, editor
  • Words Like Loaded Pistols by Sam Leith

Who are the top Language book authors?

When it comes to Language, these are the authors who stand out as some of the most influential:
  • Steven Pinker
  • Gabriel Wyner
  • The Princeton Language Institute and Abby Marks Beale
  • Guy Deutscher
  • James W. Pennebaker