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I Is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How It Shapes the Way We See the World Paperback – January 24, 2012
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The maestro storyteller and reporter provocatively argues that what we think we know about speech and human evolution is wrong. Learn more
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From Publishers Weekly
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“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)
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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 (...Read more ›
Penny Tompkins, co-author Metaphors in Mind: Transformation through Symbolic Modelling
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Just began reading this book. So far it's very interesting.Published 9 months ago by Joseph L. Leavell
James Geary is an accomplished author who allows the reader to envision metaphors in a whole new light. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Teresa
A wonderful book on how metaphor permeates our lives and affects us profoundly without our even realizing it. "Life is a journey!" Enjoy!Published 18 months ago by Mary Murray Shelton
This was less a work about style, rhetoric, writing, and literary studies than it was about the psycho-social nature of metaphor and its impact upon humans and their... Read morePublished 18 months ago by David S. Wellhauser
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. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Madone
Great book and very well written. I loved the ideas it contained!Published 20 months ago by Phil Corsetti
Rather tiresome and pedantic. Lacked the insight I had hoped for.Published 20 months ago by John A. Leraas