I Is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How it Shapes the Way We See the World (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Harper Collins, Feb 8, 2011 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 320 pages
4 Reviews

From President Obama's political rhetoric to the housing bubble bust, James Geary proves in this fascinating and entertaining book that every aspect of our experience is molded by metaphor.

"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 your eyes to the secret life of metaphor and its role in swinging elections, moving markets, and powerfully influencing daily life.


What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dark_phoenix54 - LibraryThing

I have always tended to think of metaphors as statements like “ran like the wind” or “raven haired”; statements that are obvious comparisons. Geary points out that metaphor goes far deeper in our ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - TamiCPht - LibraryThing

First I would like to thank you for choosing me to be an Early Reviewer of this book. Being a logophile, I am infatuated with words, their meaning and the power that they have. Metaphors are an ... Read full review


Metaphor and Etymology
Metaphor and Money
Metaphor and the Mind
Metaphor and Advertising
Metaphor and the Brain
Metaphor and the Body
Metaphor and Politics
Metaphor and Science
Metaphor and Parables and Proverbs
Metaphor and Innovation
Metaphor and Psychology

Metaphor and Pleasure
Metaphor and Children

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2011)

James Geary is the author of Geary’s Guide to the World’s Great Aphorists and the New York Times bestseller The World in a Phrase.

Bibliographic information