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

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

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


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.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320 pages, black & white illustrations
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Inc
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Language: history & general works
  • ISBN: 9780061710292



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops


Showing 1 - 1 of 1 reviews.

Review by

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 language; stocks ‘climb’ despite not having limbs, time races by or crawls, a person or situation can be a ticking time bomb while having nothing to do with actual explosives. Metaphor is so ingrained in humans that we aren’t even aware of it. Metaphors help explain the world to us; new things are explained by comparing them to things we already know. Metaphors are so deeply ingrained in our brains that we can easily be manipulated by others using them; advertisers and politicians use them all the time. The book is very interesting; the man knows what he’s talking about if the gigantic bibliography tells us anything. Recommended if you are interested in learning about how your brain works and perhaps making you aware of how metaphors can ‘prime’ you to feel and act in certain ways.

Also by James Geary