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Thinking Points: Communicating Our American Values and Vision Paperback – October 3, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st edition (October 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374530904
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374530907
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #255,182 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"George Lakoff serves progressives well by explaining how language and moral framing equals power in politics. Thinking Points helps leaders and activists alike to turn this knowledge into a compelling vision for society."   --John Podesta, CEO and President, Center for American Progress  
 
"Thinking Points is a must read for anyone who doesn't want speaking out to become a dying art."   --Arianna Huffington
 
"In Thinking Points, George Lakoff and the Rockridge Institute show how Progressives can stop appealing to some hypothetical "middle" and instead appeal to the deep morality that the vast majority of Americans share.  When we speak from our hearts, the integrity of this will speak broadly."   --Joan Blades, MoveOn
 
"Lakoff has done it again. In Thinking Points, the good professor and the Rockridge Institute team have connected a broad progressive policy vision to fundamental American values.  It's time for progressives to get off defense and go on offense. By laying the foundations of progressive policy in the traditional American values of freedom, responsibility, and care for others, George Lakoff and Rockridge have shown us how. This is the must-read progressive message handbook."   --Wes Boyd, MoveOn
 
"In an environment too often dominated by sound-bite arguments and political polarization, Thinking Points is more than a communications tool; it is a must-read for progressives as well as non-partisan activist organizations like the ACLU that want to trumpet their values not only loudly, but effectively.  Professor Lakoff's expertise has been invaluable in articulating the ACLU's core values-fundamentally American values-to a broad and politically-diverse audience."     --Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union

"This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to speak out effectively about progressive, American values."   --Eli Pariser, Executive Director, MoveOn.org Political Action

About the Author

George Lakoff is a professor of linguistics and cognitive science at the University of California, Berkeley, and a founder of the Rockridge Institute. He is the author of Whose Freedom?, Don't Think of an Elephant!, and Moral Politics, as well as seminal books in linguistics, including Metaphors We Live By (with Mark Johnson).
 
The Rockridge Institute is a team of scholars and researchers committed to American progressive ideals. It provides intellectual support to the progressive community, partnering with advocates, activists, and policy professionals to articulate the system of American values and ideas and reframe public debate.

More About the Author

George Lakoff is Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley, where he has taught since 1972. He previously taught at Harvard and the University of Michigan. He graduated from MIT in 1962 (in Mathematics and Literature) and received his PhD in Linguistics from Indiana University in 1966. 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.

George Lakoff updates may be followed on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+. Find these links, a complete bibliography, and more at http://georgelakoff.com

Customer Reviews

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As such, I heartily recommend that you go buy this book.
J. Van Meter
By doing so the book sets a great example of how important it is to communicate one's values to others with a perfect use of language or choice of vocabulary.
Wisdom3
If you are Progressive, or want to understand progressives, then this is a must read.
Donald E. Moffett III

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By BP Show on October 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
As are all their books, Thinking Points; Communicating Our American Values and Vision by George Lakoff isn't disappointing. Well written and easy for anyone to read and understand, Dr Lakoff reiterates the differences between Conservatives and Progressives; "The Strict Father" model and "The Nurturant Parent" model, and why these differences are at such odds in our political system today.

Point by point, examples are given as to how each ideology defines words, and frames it's messages. How metaphors are used with soundbites, un-truths and spin, Dr Lakoff once again shows us how the right-wing conservative agenda has joined with the fundementalist base of the religious right to slowly erode traditional Progressive American "values" and civil rights in the name of their new Conservative "values package".

My hopes still are that more Progressive Democratic and Republican politicians and candidates will read the information Dr Lakoff and The Rockridge Institute have been working so hard to get out to us. I also hope all Progressives will read this book and be better able to understand what we actually stand for and how to speak out together in unison to keep freedom and peace alive in America.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By J. Van Meter on October 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
Lakoff and the Institute take their reader through just about every major political debate, explaining how deep framing affects surface framing on each and how both progressive and conservative frames understand the deeper issues behind the policy debates - issues like self-reliance, common good and the morality of property ownership. They then show how to frame progressive arguments in ways that conservatives and biconceptuals (moderates) can easily access and in ways that they can relate to and agree with, while still remaining authentically progressive. He then makes one final point - that framing has to be repeated, time and again and across the board, until it becomes as pervasive and automatic as the conservative narrative has been, and then more so.

In 156 easily accessible pages, Lakoff sets the standard upon which all future discussion of the deep cognitive nature of political debate - the meta-politics - will be based. As such, I heartily recommend that you go buy this book. It is a must read.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By doomsdayer520 HALL OF FAME on December 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
George Lakoff's insights into political rhetoric have been brilliant, and his explanations for conservative rhetorical victories and the resulting failures by progressives are right on the money. Unfortunately, Lakoff made his most insightful points long ago, and this particular book is unrewarding for anyone who has read at least one of his previous books on the general topic of linguistics in American politics. I'm a great fan of Lakoff's work in this area, being introduced to it via "Don't Think of an Elephant" which I found revelatory, while I was also impressed with the more specific but somewhat repetitive "Whose Freedom." Those two books, plus the earlier "Moral Politics," are merely summarized into handbook form here, with a new quick-hitting format that might be useful for progressive strategists in the future but is a disappointment for anyone hoping for new insights from Lakoff. There is even a fair amount of repeated text within this short book itself.

When an author releases a new book, it's supposed to signify that he has created something new. But the only substantive new material in this book is found in Chapter 2, in which Lakoff expands upon the theory of "biconceptuals" in political thought and defeats the myth of a moderate center. But otherwise, most of the rest of the book consists of repeats of Lakoff's previous works condensed into soundbite form, as indicated by the frequent instructions for the reader to consult those three earlier books for more information. Meanwhile, an incongruous detour into policy idealism wrecks Chapter 7 - "Strategic Initiatives" that turn out to be political reactions of the type that Lakoff strongly disdains in all his other writings.
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Format: Paperback
Anyone who has read "Don't Think of an Elephant" will know author George Lakoff knows about the power of imagery through words. He clearly illuminates the influence exerted by metaphors that resonate with the American public, in particular, the impermeable connection people make between family and nation and how images are divided along party lines. A professor of linguistics, Lakoff is a senior fellow of the Rockridge Institute, the renowned liberal think tank that concentrates in part on helping Democratic candidates and politicians with re-framing political metaphors. With his latest book, he goes even further in providing clear-eyed examples of the political arguments that have proven to work, the ones that appeal most deeply to personal values and moral structures.

As with "Elephant", he bases his principles on what he calls "deep frames", perceptual maps each of us have in order to make sense of the world. Anything spoken that is antithetical to one's "deep frames" simply do not resonate because phrases, no matter how well turned, have to reflect tangible deeds at the end. What Lakoff provides in his slim volume is a primer for the progressives who have given up the fight of words to the conservatives who had successfully used father-figure metaphors to convince the nation to go to war in Iraq. In fact, the most fascinating parts of the book have to do with the "war on terror" frame. The author brings to light how Republicans have framed the war as a just one because any other kind is beyond our cognitive process. Consequently, references to the "war" frame have constrained Democrats from initiating a withdrawal that would get us out of the war.
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