Synopses & Reviews
From President Obama's political rhetoric to the housing bubble bust, James Geary proves in this fascinating and entertaining book that every aspect of our experience is molded by metaphor.
"It is the East, and Juliet is the sun!" This is one of Shakespeare's most famous lines and one of the most well-known metaphors in literature. But metaphor is much more than a mere literary device employed by love-struck poets when they refer to their girlfriends as interstellar masses of incandescent gas. It is also intensely yet inconspicuously present in everything from ordinary conversation and commercial messaging to news reports and political speeches. Metaphor is at work in all fields of human endeavor, including economics, business, science, and psychology.
In I Is an Other, James Geary takes readers from Aristotle's investigation of metaphor right up to the latest neuroscientific insights into how metaphor works in the brain. Along the way, he demonstrates how metaphor affects financial decision making, how metaphor lurks behind effective advertisements, how metaphor inspires learning and discovery, and how metaphor can be used as a tool to achieve emotional insight and psychological change. Geary also explores how a life without metaphor, as experienced by some people with autism spectrum disorders, significantly changes the way a person interacts with the world. As Geary demonstrates, metaphor has leaped off the page and landed with a mighty splash right in the middle of our stream of consciousness.
Witty, persuasive, and original, I Is an Other showcases how a simple way with words, which in the past was considered a tool only for poets, is really a driving force in our society. This book will open your eyes to the secret life of metaphor and its role in swinging elections, moving markets, and powerfully influencing daily life.
"'Metaphorical thinking is the way we make sense of the world' and neurological research shows that humans experience pleasure when performing the 'cognitive gymnastics' of deciphering metaphors to connect two dissimilar things, asserts Geary (The World in a Phrase) in a delightful examination that borrows for its title from a poem by Rimbaud, whose writing aimed to 'upset conventional orders of perception.' Tests on people who do not understand metaphors, such as those with Asperger's syndrome, uncover the roles that 'mirror' and 'Gnostic' neurons play in conceptual comprehension and long-term memory. Geary also analyzes how metaphors are used in advertising, scientific discoveries, economics, and politics. 'Metaphors, once forgotten or ignored, are easily mistaken for objective facts,' he warns, showing how metaphor 'surreptitiously infiltrates our purchasing decisions.' Voters, consumers, and investors interested in knowing how their decisions may be influenced by well-planned metaphors will be fascinated by Geary's adept explication of the metaphor's role in defining perceptions. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
About the Author
James Geary is the author of Gearys Guide to the Worlds Great Aphorists and the New York Times bestseller The World in a Phrase.