40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
A fantastic, informative, and fun book.,
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This review is from: I Is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How It Shapes the Way We See the World (Hardcover)
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.