Pinker's appearance on the list, Prospect writes, “demonstrates the public appetite for serious, in-depth thinking in the age of the TED talk.” They also say that his book (which they describe as “a panoramic sweep through history”) was one of the most “successful recent 'ideas books'” published in the past year. “Whether writing about evolutionary psychology, linguistics or history,” writes Prospect, “what unites Pinker’s work is a fascination with human nature and an enthusiasm for sharing new discoveries in accessible, elegant prose.”
As for Diamond, his inclusion signifies an admission that people are keen on understanding how society has evolved into what it is today. In his new book, The World Until Yesterday, Diamond shows us how traditional societies compare to our own—and how that can help us make better decisions about the direction we take going forward. Acemoglu and Robinson, in their breakaway hit Why Nations Fail, explain why some countries are economically successful while others fail. Whether it's in their writing or their sweeping talks, all four of these speakers are clearly influencing the way we think about our world.