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I Is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How It Shapes the Way We See the World (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 24. Januar 2012

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“In his fine new book, James Geary [shows that] metaphors are not rhetorical frills at the edge of how we think. They are at the very heart of it.” (David Brooks, New York Times)

“Smart fun for anyone fascinated by the play of language. . . . Geary traces the history of [metaphor] from Aristotle to Elvis.” (Washington Post)

“The author further manages to weave together a fascinating amount of information. . . . I Is an Other really shines when it focuses on the simple yet profound . . . you’ll never look at a metaphor the same way again—metaphorically speaking.” (New York Journal of Books)

“Geary . . . succeeds in making the case that metaphor is the meat of language and not a sauce.” (Wall Street Journal)

“This book is a prism, refracting the white light of language into a kaleidoscopic celebration of its images and etymologies.” (Ben Schott, author of Schott’s Original Miscellany and Schott’s Almanacs)

“This book is for everyone interested in the subtle operations of language and thought....I is an Other is one of those ‘must-read’ books for this year, for any year. It deserves a wide audience, and it will find one.” (Jay Parini, Professor of English and Creative Writing, Middlebury College and author of Promised Land: Thirteen Books that Changed America)

“Sherlock Holmes could glance at a bowler hat and tell that its owner’s wife had ceased to love him. In this brilliant book about metaphor James Geary is no less astonishing....You’ll scarf down every page of I Is an Other and then ask for more.” (Michael Dirda, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic and author of Book by Book and Classics for Pleasure)

“Enchanting...It is [its] playful celebration of meanings that makes this book optimistic. And though the subtitle has a whiff of conspiracy about it, the sheer ubiquity of metaphor in everyday life makes the book feel urgent....addictive...Geary writes with clarity and power.” (The Independent)

“An illuminating study of metaphor in all its guises…Required reading for anyone with even a passing interest in language.” (Time Out London)


From President Obama’s political rhetoric to the bursting of the housing bubble, from conversations to commercials, James Geary shows that every aspect of our day-to-day experience is molded by metaphor. Geary takes readers from Aristotle’s investigation of metaphor right up to the latest neuroscientific insights into how metaphor works in the brain. Witty, persuasive, and original, I Is an Other explores metaphor’s effects on financial decision making, effective advertising, leadership, learning, and more. Romeo’s exclamation “It is the East, and Juliet is the sun!” may be one of the most well-known metaphors in literature, but metaphor is more than a device of love-struck poets. As Geary demonstrates, metaphor has leaped off the page and landed with a mighty splash right in the middle of the stream of consciousness.

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97 von 98 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
This is a wonderful book. 21. Februar 2011
Von David M. Giltinan - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
As someone with an amateur interest in linguistics, I've always felt that Lakoff and Johnson's Metaphors We Live by [METAPHORS WE LIVE BY -OS] is a book that I should have read. I bought it about two years ago, but despite repeated efforts every 3 months or so, I just cannot make it through more than 30 pages before giving up. I don't question its importance, but it's written in a style that I find impenetrable - an odd mixture of material that veers from blindingly obvious to highly technical, with little apparent regard for the reader

So I was happy to stumble across this book by James Geary, even happier as I was reading it. I no longer feel obliged to punish myself by re-trying Lakoff and Johnson every three months. Geary covers much of the same ground, with a little less emphasis on linguistics and a sharper focus on the role of metaphor in cognition and human behavior. Geary's coverage of relevant brain research is also more up to date, reflecting his book's more recent publication date. But its real advantages are the accessible style and superior organization. Key concepts are introduced and identified as such. The exposition proceeds in a logical, orderly fashion. The examples are interesting, persuasive, insightful, and actually help the reader better understand the concepts being discussed. Geary is organized and engaging; he writes with fluidity, humor, and grace. Occasionally his enthusiasm gets the better of him, but for the most part he is careful not to overstate his case. He never condescends to the reader, and his enthusiasm is infectious. As a result, he achieves an authoritative tone, something that eluded Lakoff, a far less disciplined writer, despite his being the originator of many of the ideas discussed.

But this should review should focus on the virtues of "I is an Other", not the deficiencies of competing books. A list of the main chapter headings gives a fair idea of its scope (I realize that including it here is lazy, but I hope it's informative)-

Foreword : Why I is an Other
Metaphor and Thought : All Shook Up
Metaphor and Etymology : Language is Fossil Poetry
Metaphor and Money : How High Can a Dead Cat Bounce?
Metaphor and the Mind : Imagining an Apple in Someone's Eye
Metaphor and Advertising : Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads
Metaphor and the Brain : Bright Sneezes and Loud Sunlight
Metaphor and the Body : Anger is a Heated Fluid in a Container
Metaphor and Politics : Freedom Fries and Liberty Cabbage
Metaphor and Pleasure : Experience is a Comb that Nature Gives to Bald Men
Metaphor and Children : How Should One Refer to the Sky?
Metaphor and Science : The Earth is Like a Rice Pudding
Metaphor and Parables and Proverbs : Mighty Darn good Lies
Metaphor and Innovation : Make it Strange
Metaphor and Psychology : A Little Splash of Color from my Mother
Backword : The Logic of Metaphor

The gist of Geary's message is that metaphor is ubiquitous and fundamental, not just as an intrinsic component of language, it also plays a basic role in cognition and human behavior. How we perceive our world, how we think, and how we act are all hugely influenced by metaphors. Sometimes this influence is obvious, but it can also happen well below the radar of our consciousness. Humans are highly suggestible, capable of being "primed" to react in certain ways, whether it's through framing by subtle nuances of language, or by the less subtle manipulation of metaphor engaged in by politicians, marketers, or anyone else trying to elicit a particular emotional response. Geary traces the role of metaphor across all of the domains indicated in the chapter headings given above, invoking a wealth of well-chosen examples that are interesting and thought-provoking. Their cumulative force is entirely persuasive.

If you think metaphor is something just for poets, think again. In normal conversation, we utter one metaphor for every 10-25 words, which corresponds to about six metaphors a minute. Still not convinced? Here's one final example. Have you ever wondered about the language used to describe the behavior of the stock market? When things are trending upward, the kind of metaphor used will generally attribute agency to the market - "The NASDAQ climbed 20 points" - as if of its own volition. This description is more likely to elicit optimism in investors, because climbing is an activity resulting from an internal drive that is presumably likely to continue in the future. Being told, however, that Dow "plummeted" suggests that prices are non-living, non-volitional entities, whose movements are controlled by external forces (an example of what is called an 'object metaphor'). Research shows that the use of agent metaphors to describe stock movements causes people to be more optimistic about future market behavior and invest accordingly; the same information presented using object metaphors leads to more pessimistic investment responses.

METAPHORS MATTER! This is an exceptionally well written, fascinating book on an important topic - I give it my highest recommendation.
43 von 45 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Flowery and distracted, hard to get to the cogent arguments 20. Mai 2011
Von Eric - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
The premise of the book is that metaphor is everywhere, is unavoidably built into our communication structures, and is both the natural output of our brains and the natural input. Metaphor has numerous side-effects on how we understand things, both good and bad.

This premise is well defended and believable. But if you already believed that, this book is frustrating. I wanted to know more about the side-effects of understanding things via metaphor. This is covered, but slowly. The book is more full of examples than ideas, and it feels constantly distracted as it flits from example to example. I kept reading for the occasional morsels of additional information, but felt like they were being parceled out. Way too often I thought, "I get it! Move on!"

Although the book is good as far as it goes, I was left wanting more meat.
40 von 43 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A fantastic, informative, and fun book. 15. Februar 2011
Von Amazon Customer - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Having enjoyed James Geary's previous book, The World in a Phrase: A History of Aphorisms, I was very eager to get my hands in this one. Thankfully, I was not let down. In fact, this book is quite remarkable. To some readers it might seem just another work in a long inventory of pop-psychology books; however, I found it definitely contained quite a bit more. As Geary explains it, "Metaphor is most familiar as the literary device through which we describe one thing in terms of another, as when the author of the Old Testament Song of Songs describes a lover's navel as "a round goblet never lacking mixed wine" or when the medieval Muslim rhetorician Abdalqahir Al-Jurjani pines, "The gazelle has stolen its eyes from my beloved." Yet metaphor is much, much more than this. Metaphor is not just confined to art and literature but is at work in all fields of human endeavor, from economics and advertising, to politics and business, to science and psychology."

The book is chock-full of great and varied research. For instance, just some of the people that Geary cites are: Gerald Edelman (Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge), V.S. Ramachandran (The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human), Daniel Tammet (Born On A Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant), and Gerald Zaltman (Marketing Metaphoria: What Deep Metaphors Reveal About the Minds of Consumers). The writing is excellent and the amount of material covered is striking. In sum, this is a great introduction to the crucial role that metaphors play in our everyday lives. I would presume to say that it's a great induction to further linguistic studies, such as: Metaphors We Live By, Surfaces and Essences, or The Extended Mind: The Emergence of Language, the Human Mind, and Culture (Toronto Studies in Semiotics and Communication). "The logic of metaphor is the logic of our lives. Metaphor impinges on everything, allowing us - poets and non-poets alike - to experience and think about the world in fluid, unusual ways. Metaphor is the bridge we fling between the utterly strange and the utterly familiar, between dice and drowned men's bones, between I and an other." This is a super book; I highly recommend it.
20 von 23 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Now my friends will know why metaphor matters 13. Februar 2011
Von Penny Tompkins - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This book is the best introduction to recent developments in the field of metaphor I've read. Although it's written for the intelligent lay person, I know of several University lecturers who are going to recommend it to their students as a primer. Geary's whistle stop tour of the role metaphor plays in the most important areas of our lives is well-researched with plenty of examples and anecdotes of scientific, commercial and personal interest. With Geary's background as a former editor of Time Europe you know it is well-written. As a psychotherapist who focusses on client-generated metaphors I shall be buying this book for many of my family and friends so they finally have some idea of why metaphor matters.
Penny Tompkins, co-author Metaphors in Mind: Transformation through Symbolic Modelling
11 von 12 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Great book, a little frustrating 20. September 2011
Von Eclectic Reader - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
I have to begin by saying I enjoyed the book very much. Its description of how metaphors permeate almost all communication is very illuminating. As the author shows, the use of metaphors can occur at both a conscious and a subconscious level, at an astonishing rate.

What I found a little frustrating was that the book is so purely descriptive; it could benefit greatly from some exploration of the implications of what he is writing. While there is an abundance of breadth, there is a lack of depth. The essential standpoint of the book is to create a dichotomy between metaphor and literal statements. He shows how much of what we say is metaphor that I was left wondering whether there is even such a thing as a literal statement, but he never tries to dig any deeper than description. Similarly, rather than setting up the dichotomy between metaphor and literal statements, the relationship could be understood as a sliding scale between the two, but there is no exploration of that topic either. So the lack of depth was a bit frustrating. However, I still do recommend the book, as the breadth of description really is fascinating.
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