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This engaging book presents social development in children through the language of preference management. Conversational excerpts garnered from around the world trace how parents talk about preferences, how infants' and children's emergent language conveys their preferences, how children themselves are impacted by others' preferences, and how they in turn influence the preferences of adults and peers. The language of preferences is used to crack into altruism, aggression, and morality, which are ways of coming to terms with other people's preferences. Behind the scenes is a cognitive engine that uses transformational thought - conducting temporal, imaginal, and mental transformations - to figure out other people's preferences and to find more sophisticated means of outmaneuvering others by persuading them and playing with one's own mind and other people's minds when preferences are blocked. This book is a unique and sometimes amusing must-read for anyone interested in child development, language acquisition, socialization, and communication.