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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Lakoff

Some time ago I asked you all about George Lakoff's Don't Think Of An Elephant, and I said I would get back to you when I finished it. I did so yesterday, so here is my book report.

Don't Think Of An Elephant is a smart liberal* book, as well as one that takes conservatives seriously. Those two things alone would make it worth reading. Fortunately, however, it has a lot more to recommend it, not the least of which is the fact that it is a small, well-written and easily understood book. Full marks to Lakoff for managing it. It is also, at $10, a cheap book, which, with its format and style, increases the accessibility of the book enormously.

What else? Don't Think Of An Elephant is a battle plan for liberals. It offers an intelligent, non-polemic analysis of the success of the conservatives in the U.S. It shows the reader how and why things work as they do in politics. It cuts through the massive imcomprehension of the Democrats when faced with their defeats, and offers a way out.

The way out, as you may know, is in the framing of the debate - I won't go into that here; Lakoff is much more eloquent than I am at explaining, and undoubtedly more concise as well. I don't believe that the way forward which he offers is enough; but that said, I think it goes a fairly long way towards changing things around. Don't Think Of An Elephant is the optimistic and insightful manifesto that any party in trouble can use.

I recommend it.

*Do follow that link if you are interested in Lakoff's work - it is a great resource

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