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The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic Paperback – June 26, 2012


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The Little Blue Book: The Essential Guide to Thinking and Talking Democratic + Don't Think of an Elephant!: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate--The Essential Guide for Progressives + The Political Mind: A Cognitive Scientist's Guide to Your Brain and Its Politics
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 1St Edition edition (June 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 147670001X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476700014
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This book is a game-changer, one that will enable Democrats to regain their language and to stop mimicking Republican ideas and rhetoric." —Diane Ravitch, author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System


“Republicans offer values. Democrats offer policies. Guess what? Values often win, even when the policies are more popular. It’s about time Democrats learned how talk (and think) in terms of the underlying values that make them Democrats -- values that are more widely shared by Americans than the values Republicans espouse. Here’s the essential handbook for thinking and talking Democratic – must reading not only for every Democrat but for every responsible citizen.” —Robert B. Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, and author of Beyond Outrage

“George Lakoff is the progressive movement's Jedi master of language. The Little Blue Book tells us how to say what we need to say to bring about the policy changes Americans need.”  —Van Jones, author of Rebuild the Dream

“I’ve always learned a lot from Lakoff and you will too.” —George Soros

“If you only preach to the choir, you’ve no need for The Little Blue Book. But if you want to reach people you don’t agree with, read this book!” —Joan Blades, founder of Moveon.org

“George Lakoff’s willingness to share his unmatched understanding of the way language impacts politics is a precious gift to his fellow progressives. In this election year, The Little Blue Book is a must-read.” —Bob Edgar, President of Common Cause

"Blending insight and rigor, Lakoff and Wehling have produced a Rosetta Stone that translates progressive ideas into fundamental human values that will resonate with Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs." —Michael Brune, executive director, Sierra Club

“With their "Little Blue Book", Lakoff and Wehling are giving  Democrats and  Progressives  a gift -- the  tools  to inspire Americans by using the moral language of our democratic values of caring for each other and building and protecting our community. Our leaders , Obama included, must stop falling in to right wing traps and repeating their language and frames.  Our vision is far better than the right wing.  Use this book, and earn from Lakoff and Wehling how we can best communicate for a future we all deserve and need.” —Don Hazen, Executive Editor, AlterNet.org

The Little Blue Book gives progressives not just invaluable tools but, more importantly, an infusion of the hope desperately needed to fix our broken politics. By mapping the political brain, Lakoff and Wehling have shown Democrats the surest way to find their spines.” —Ken Cook, President, Environmental Working Group

About the Author

George Lakoff is Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Don't Think of an Elephant!, among other works, and is America’s leading expert on the framing of political ideas. 

Elisabeth Wehling is a political strategist and author working in the U.S. and Europe. She is doing research in Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, on how politics is understood both in America and Europe.

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Customer Reviews

It must be read by anyone willing to be an informed citizen.
Juan Botero Cadavid
In this book, Lakoff gives us moral reasons to support political positions which you can use in your day-to-day conversations.
Minnesotan Engineer
This book is a must read for all Democrat Party and progressive activists.
Paul Roden

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Tracy Valleau on August 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
(Did you ever notice how -angry- conservatives always are?) Also interesting to note that not one conservative review said "thanks for explaining the progressive mind."

There is a difference between the "me first" and the "we first" approach to life. "Me first" goes a long way back... all the way to caveman days. "We first" takes a bit of understanding... and with the founding of the USA (and the French Revolution) came fairly recently. The thing that separates the USA from the petty dictators and oligarchies of the rest of the world -IS- "we first-ness" : putting everyone as a whole on the same, equal footing as the needs of the individual.

Ask a conservative about what makes the US great, and you'll get a lot of chest-beating and harumphing about "our freedoms." But seldom can they actually answer -what- it is about the US that separates us from the crowd. Lots of countries have "freedom."

It's that the first word of the Constitution of the Unites States is "We" - and there's a reason it's not "The King" - we take care of each other. We place the basic rights to life, liberty and happiness together for ALL citizens, not just the strongest, or the most wealthy.

We often hear that it's hard to be a good citizen of the US... and the reason is the "we" in the Constitution - each one of us must balance our own personal desires and beliefs with those of complete strangers, with whom we may vigorously disagree... but who have as much right to their opinion as we do to ours.

THAT is what makes the US great. And the extreme conservatives seem to either forget, or no longer believe in, our founding principles. The USA is about -balance- not power.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Paul Roden on September 12, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a must read for all Democrat Party and progressive activists. If Democrats develop a backbone, pick the right meme, have a personal narrative or story and repeat it ad nauseum, we have a chance to win. Always be on the offensive, never use the messaging of the right, use your values, stick to them, be authentic and repeat often. That is how the truth and the real American Way will win. It's better than "The Little Red Book": the quotations of Chairman Mao" but I digress. If you want to disprove the null hypothesis of Will Rogers: "I don't belong to any political party, I am a Democrat." then buy this book and use it, spread it around, loan it, give it away and practice what they say. If you doubt it's efficacy, then watch Michelle Obama's or Bill Clinton's speeches at the Democratic National Convention. They used the wisdom in this Little Blue Book. Facts, reason and logic don't sell or sway voters, character, emotion and values are what win in elections. Position papers are not read nor convince most voters. Appeals that are based on shared values, that spark positive or fearful emotions are what motivate voters. Use this book to do that. The Republicans already do. It is about time the Democrats get smart, "get a backbone", and "stay on message." Read this book and win.
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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Louisiana Mitch on August 6, 2012
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The friend who gave me Dr. Lakoff's brilliant "Don't Think of an Elephant" as a Xmas gift forget to mention I'd never be the same person after reading it. Since then I've read everything the good professor's written. This little volume is a summary of the best of five or so of his works & is worth reading for just the time savings! In these pages lie the key to shaking poor & middle class Americans who steadfastly vote Republican out of their collective comas. Read it & act on it! So76 (dot) org
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By tom fico on October 14, 2012
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As one who watched President Eisenhower on black and white TV, I have never read a book that so clearly, definitively and accurately engenders the difference between Liberals/Progressives and Conservatives.

Simply put it's Politics 101 for the 99%.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Minnesotan Engineer on September 18, 2012
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Lakoff's thesis is as true as ever. Voters do not decide based upon facts, but how they FEEL about a candidate and that candidate's values. Even facts are subservient to whether the source is believable based upon their values. If we intend to fight and win support, we must explain our arguments in a moral frame-- a way of expressing our beliefs that meshes well with the beliefs of voters. Moral arguments often trump factual, intellectual arguments in the voting booth.

The political Right has done a remarkable job of boiling their ideas down to memorable phrases which engage our conservative side. We don't need to repeat theirs, but to promote our own values, like when Bill Clinton recently said "We're all in this together" is a better philosophy than "you're on your own." The advantage of giving our arguments a moral frame is that we don't sound rushed or defensive by making a half-hour argument on each issue that requires complex details and nuance. Too often, a political Left bumper sticker would be an essay because we want all the facts.

In this book, Lakoff gives us moral reasons to support political positions which you can use in your day-to-day conversations. Some may call it manipulative, but it's honest and straightforward. The intent is to appeal to voters who aren't policy wonks, but ordinary humans who cannot be bothered to learn every detail about every issue. They will rarely fact check the candidates. They will vote for their values, so we must expertly express ours.
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