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The ALL NEW Don't Think of an Elephant!: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate Paperback – Special Edition, September 23, 2014
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"Lakoff single-handedly convinced liberals of the importance of language in winning political battles. Now he's back to finish what he started."--Markos Moulitsas, founder and publisher, Daily Kos
"The All New Don't Think of an Elephant! is an indispensable tool for progressives―packed with new thinking on framing issues that are hotly debated right now, and new insights on how to reclaim the political debate on meaningful terms that can yield true progress, not just political gains."--Jennifer M. Granholm, former governor of Michigan
"When the original Don't Think of an Elephant! came out in2004, Lakoff showed us that progressive Democrats voted on values, not issues―just like the right. Now, Dr. Lakoff is back to prevent a relapse of bad framing. The ALL NEW Don't Think of an Elephant! is a must read, every bit as important as the first edition. This time we have to train ourselves to think for the long term. Buy this book, memorize it, and teach it to your children. Progressives may be smart, but we don't communicate our ideas well. This book is the blueprint for how to do better."--Howard Dean, former chair of the Democratic National Committee and founder of Democracy for America
About the Author
George Lakoff is the country’s leading expert on the framing of political discourse and one of the world’s most renowned linguists and cognitive scientists. He is the author of numerous books on politics–including Don’t Think of an Elephant!, The Political Mind, Moral Politics, Thinking Points, The Little Blue Book (with Elisabeth Wehling), and Whose Freedom?–as well as numerous books on language and the mind.
Lakoff has consulted with the leaders of hundreds of advocacy groups on framing issues, lectured to large audiences across the country, run dozens of workshops for activists, spoken regularly on radio talk shows and TV shows, addressed the policy retreats and the caucuses for both the Senate and the House Democrats, consulted with progressive pollsters and advertising agencies, and been interviewed at length in the public media, and he continues to do extensive research on the framing of public discourse.
Currently Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley, Lakoff is a founder of the fields of cognitive science and cognitive linguistics, has previously taught at Harvard and the University of Michigan, and was a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. For more than two decades, he was codirector of the Neural Theory of Language Project at the International Computer Science Institute at Berkeley. He also spent more than a decade as senior fellow at the Rockridge Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, and has served on the international advisory board of Prime Minister Zapatero of Spain, on the science board of the Santa Fe Institute, as president of the International Cognitive Linguistics Association, and on the governing board of the Cognitive Science Society. He has lectured at major universities in dozens of countries around the world. His current technical research is on the theory of how the neural circuitry of the brain gives rise to thought and language.
His blogs appear regularly on his website, www.georgelakoff.com, and at The Huffington Post, Truthout, Alternet, Common Dreams, and Daily Kos.
- Publisher : Chelsea Green Publishing; 10th Anniversary edition (September 23, 2014)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 192 pages
- ISBN-10 : 160358594X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1603585941
- Item Weight : 8.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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If you're interested in the field of political communication, this book is a must-read in spite of its shortcomings. But for me it was difficult to not think of the book that it shoulda, coulda, woulda been with much more focus and a few more real world examples.
Read the book, The Family, as I did: it traces how today’s government fulfills plans set in motion early in 20th century, Lakoff’s is a modern updated book with tips for undoing the work of all those decades-secret agendas for a different America, never envisioned in our important documents. Read, as I did, hundreds of original documents. Textbooks are published to sell, and wow! They are now simply deleting historical facts to sell to the audience which wants our nation’s past revamped.
Author George Lakoff is convinced that people's attitudes on political or social issues are fixed long before they can participate in politics by their perception of what works in their families of origin. Conservatives see the world through a "strict father" mentality; liberals see it through a "nurturant parent" mentality.
I have two objections (related to each other) to this frame. I think it works for social conservatism but not necessarily for economic conservatism. (Lakoff's separate observation that the different types/emphases of conservatism re-enforce each other is of course entirely correct but that is not what I am trying to say.) Everyone knows that the period 1933-1968 was much more socially conservative than contemporary America, but it was also more economically LIBERAL. People could not vote four times for Franklin Roosevelt while believing in the super-rich as the rightful "fathers" of the American economy (unless they voted for Roosevelt because he WAS super-rich). Libertarianism is a form of anti-authoritarianism (or at the very least CAN be blended with it) and is doing better today when fathers are less strict.
My second objection to the "strict father" as the essence of conservative thought is that most fathers try to be BOTH strict and nurturing. Lakoff partially anticipated this complaint by observing that many people are what he calls "biconceptual." If biconceptualism had the sort of political impact he thinks it does, however, there should be many more swing voters. Of course, it does neatly explain how many people voted for Obama twice and then Trump.
This is probably because both Obama and Trump were better FRAMERS of the issues they wanted to talk about than Hillary Clinton was. (Of course, we shouldn't rule out sexism as a factor in both of her Presidential defeats, which ALSO doesn't mean she was the BEST candidate both times.) The essence of Lakoff's argument is that the liberal or conservative way of talking about an issue looks like common sense, or doesn't, based on how many IDEAS each side is able to get into more people's heads. This is what Lakoff means by "frames."
Lakoff might not be right about everything, but still, every progressive should read this book. The best chapters are 9-11, the last of which goes beyond poetry to become a classic. Chapter 14 could easily be re-worked and made into the 2020 Democratic platform, especially if Elizabeth Warren is the nominee (she is the only person still in politics whom Lakoff mentions by name and I assume he is a major force in her campaign). Even some biconceptual people could be made into committed progressives if they read the book. Four stars.
Mr. Lakoff makes a cogent case that the primary issue is the way in which an issue is "framed." When we start to argue our point using the terminology of our opponent. it's giving your opponent the home field advantage. Not only have we assured we will lose the argument, we also practically assure that we will never find a meeting of the minds. We need to begin from a standpoint of shared values.
The current antagonism between progressives and the right has a life of its own, and can poison any discussion from its beginning. This book offers positive ways to approach that problem.
The final and most useful section is "How to respond to Conservatives." It offers many good guidelines. There are so many suggestions, I read that section several times to take it all in.
Even though I avoid debates because of the anger they inevitably create, after reading the last chapter, I almost felt like seeking out a conservative to try to have a positive dialogue, and now I feel far more ready whenever that kind of conversation comes up.
Top reviews from other countries
Lakoff nos mostra que a esquerda muitas vezes se ilude ao achar que a argumentação lógica e racional é a única saída para impedirmos o retrocesso político, social e moral que estamos presenciando no mundo inteiro com o avanço de radicais de direita.
O autor sugere que uma abordagem mais eficaz parte do desenvolvimento de valores e afetos que traduzam para os eleitores as ideias de progresso social e político.