I is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How it Shapes the Way We See the World

Author(s): James Geary


It is the East, and Juliet is the sun! This is one of Shakespeare's most famous lines and one of the most well-known metaphors in literature. But metaphor is much more than a mere literary device employed by love-struck poets when they refer to their girlfriends as interstellar masses of incandescent gas. It is also intensely yet inconspicuously present in everything from ordinary conversation and commercial messaging to news reports and political speeches. Metaphor is at work in all fields of human endeavor, including economics, business, science, and psychology. In "I Is an Other", James Geary takes readers from Aristotle's investigation of metaphor right up to the latest neuroscientific insights into how metaphor works in the brain. Along the way, he demonstrates how metaphor affects financial decision making, how metaphor lurks behind effective advertisements, how metaphor inspires learning and discovery, and how metaphor can be used as a tool to achieve emotional insight and psychological change. Geary also explores how a life without metaphor, as experienced by some people with autism spectrum disorders, significantly changes the way a person interacts with the world. As Geary demonstrates, metaphor has leaped off the page and landed with a mighty splash right in the middle of our stream of consciousness. Witty, persuasive, and original, "I Is an Other" showcases how a simple way with words, which in the past was considered a tool only for poets, is really a driving force in our society. This book will open readers' eyes to the secret life of metaphor and its role in swinging elections, moving markets, and powerfully influencing daily life.


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"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"

James Geary is the author of Geary's Guide to the World's Greatest Aphorists and the New York Times bestseller The World in a Phrase: A Brief History of the Aphorism.

General Fields

  • : 9780061710292
  • : HarperCollins Publishers Inc
  • : HarperPerennial
  • : October 2011
  • : 203mm X 135mm X 21mm
  • : United States
  • : April 2012
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 304
  • : illustrations
  • : James Geary
  • : Paperback
  • : 412
  • : 808