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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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Amazon.com: 4.2 von 5 Sternen 42 Rezensionen
123 von 124 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen 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.
57 von 59 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen 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.
5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen How and why the metaphor "lives a secret life all around us" 4. Juni 2012
Von Robert Morris - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Sometimes especially helpful information about a book's purposes and structure is provided near its conclusion and that is certainly true of this one as James Geary cites, in the final chapter, what Hart Crane characterizes as "the logic of metaphor" which Geary believes is the logic of human 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." (Page 226). The book's title refers to Arthur Rimbaud's summary explanation of his working method, "I is an other." Geary views it as "Metaphor's defining maxim, its secret formula, and its principal equation" and wrote this book in which he explains how and why metaphors are explicit comparisons of perceived realities.

Here in Dallas, there is a Farmer's Market near the downtown area at which several merchants offer slices of fresh fruit as sample. In that spirit, I now offer a representative selection of brief excerpts from the narrative that suggest the thrust and flavor of Geary's thinking.

o Metaphor "is at work in all fields of human endeavor, from economic and advertising, to politics and business, to science and psychology...Metaphorical thinking -- our instinct not just for describing but for [begin italics] comprehending [end italics] one thing in terms of another, for equating I with an other -- shapes our view of the world, and is essential to how we communicate, learn, discover, and invent. Metaphor is a way of thought long before it is a way with words." (Page 3)

o "The ability to mind-read enables us to understand that what people do is not always what they think; how people act is not always how they feel; and what people mean is nit always what they say, a process akin to pretend play; another activity in which people with ASD [Asperger's Syndrome] have difficulty engaging." (50)

o "Priming experiments are case studies in the vitality of metaphorical language. A metaphor occurs when someone apprehends previously unapprehended relations between things. The metaphor perpetuates this fresh apprehension until, through time, core associations form. These associations cling fast to words themselves, eventually becoming so routine that they continue to appear long after the original relation has ceased to be consciously apprehended." (115)

o "Parables and proverbs feature so prominently in folk wisdom and religious scripture because there is no way to convey spiritual truths other than to set them side by side with natural truths. The numinous is the nitty gritty. I is an other." (196)

o "Synectics consultants use metaphor to spur business innovation; psychotherapists James Lawley and Penny Tompkins use it to inspire psychological insight. Through a process called symbolic modeling, they help clients create and explore metaphors around crucial emotions or personal dilemmas." (208)

Until reading this book, I was unaware of the fact that, as Geary describes it, metaphor "lives a secret life all around us." For example, we utter about one metaphor for every 10-15 words or about six metaphors a minute. I agree with Geary that gaining an understanding of the nature and extent of metaphor's presence in our lives (invoking a simile) is "like reading a book about that process." How important is it to gain that understanding? According to Aristotle, the mastery of metaphorical thinking is "a sign of genius, since a good metaphor implies an intuitive perception of the similarity in dissimilars." The reader, for example, and another reader....
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen I thought this author did a wonderful job of demonstrating how we may not recognize how ... 22. Dezember 2014
Von Madone - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
This Author takes a humble approach to the subject as though he's writing in the APA format not to steal any original ideas or get charged with plagiarism. The beauty of this info manual, is the very nature of the subject of metaphors is impossible to write, in an original document. Once you understand that it takes many repetitive utterance's before a metaphor sticks in the mind, you understand why a original metaphor must be conceived in a void of any language. Semiotics are visual metaphors (if you will). I thought this author did a wonderful job of demonstrating how we may not recognize how much we depend on metaphors to support the abstract as well as describing the indescribable. What would you name a new color that has never been seen? I bet you'd find a metaphor for assistance.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Good overview of the subject 4. Februar 2013
Von zkcom1 - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
The book itself wasn't very exciting in itself when I was reading it, but I came away from it becoming more aware of metaphors and their usage in everyday conversation. The way we use metaphors really gives us insight into our thought process as well. I look at it like this: for everything that our brains know and understand, such as the concept of what a car is, or what a restaurant is, there is a "node". Because of the limited size of our brain and the amount of information it's able to process at one time, we can't create brand new nodes every time we come across something new. So our brains attach new things and concepts to pre-existing nodes, as a shortcut. So if we come across a new food that's similar to a hamburger, instead of creating a new node for it, we simply link it to the "hamburger" node - that's where it's located in our brain. Over time, if we acquaint ourselves with this new food more often and it becomes commonplace, it becomes a known entity itself and our brain then creates a note for it, no longer needing to be linked to "hamburger" anymore - although that link will still be there due to the similarity. But we'll know of it straight out, instead of what we can compare it to.
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