Although written for a business audience, this book will interest parents, teachers, healthcare workers, writers and others...

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THE TALL LADY WITH THE ICEBERG

THE POWER OF METAPHOR TO SELL, PERSUADE & EXPLAIN ANYTHING TO ANYONE

This second edition of the author’s 2004 book Metaphorically Selling features an appendix of 25 new stories—38 pages—that illustrates how salespeople can effectively use metaphors.

Drawing on the author’s personal experiences, this book focuses on effective business communication, particularly when selling products or attempting to secure corporate accounts. Metaphors, Miller writes, can give mundane explanations a shot of adrenaline and help make abstract ideas comprehensible. However, when overused or misapplied, they often fall on deaf ears. In the first section, Miller explains what a metaphor is and when to use it; in others, she describes how to determine the factors that make metaphors relevant and how to use them for impact. Another section focuses on how to acquire a “metaphor inventory.” Miller’s succinct summaries and exercises reinforce and test the reader’s understanding of the material covered; at times, the format is reminiscent of 1980s self-help books. She effectively uses an abundance of examples throughout. For instance, when she discusses left-brain/right-brain theory, she portrays analytical thought processes as a character called Joe, and visual/intuitive processes as Robin, and uses them to clarify her points. In one chapter, she explains how to take abstractions and relate them to things known, a comparative technique often used to prevent listeners from falling asleep in lecture halls (“That savings is the equivalent of what it would take to build a shopping center for you in the Caribbean.”). Another chapter focuses on effectively using visual images to describe abstract concepts and invisible products.

Although written for a business audience, this book will interest parents, teachers, healthcare workers, writers and others aiming to better communicate complicated concepts. 

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 978-0976279440

Page Count: 225

Publisher: Chiron Associates, Inc.

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2013

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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Not only the definitive life, but a tour de force by a master.

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EDISON

One of history’s most prolific inventors receives his due from one of the world’s greatest biographers.

Pulitzer and National Book Award winner Morris (This Living Hand and Other Essays, 2012, etc.), who died this year, agrees that Thomas Edison (1847-1931) almost certainly said, “genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration,” and few readers of this outstanding biography will doubt that he was the quintessential workaholic. Raised in a middle-class Michigan family, Edison displayed an obsessive entrepreneurial spirit from childhood. As an adolescent, he ran a thriving business selling food and newspapers on a local railroad. Learning Morse code, he spent the Civil War as a telegrapher, impressing colleagues with his speed and superiors with his ability to improve the equipment. In 1870, he opened his own shop to produce inventions to order. By 1876, he had money to build a large laboratory in New Jersey, possibly the world’s first industrial research facility. Never a loner, Edison hired talented people to assist him. The dazzling results included the first commercially successful light bulb for which, Morris reminds readers, he invented the entire system: dynamo, wires, transformers, connections, and switches. Critics proclaim that Edison’s innovations (motion pictures, fluoroscope, rechargeable batteries, mimeograph, etc.) were merely improvements on others’ work, but this is mostly a matter of sour grapes. Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone was a clunky, short-range device until it added Edison’s carbon microphone. And his phonograph flabbergasted everyone. Humans had been making images long before Daguerre, but no one had ever reproduced sound. Morris rivetingly describes the personalities, business details, and practical uses of Edison’s inventions as well as the massive technical details of years of research and trial and error for both his triumphs and his failures. For no obvious reason, the author writes in reverse chronological order, beginning in 1920, with each of the seven following chapters backtracking a decade. It may not satisfy all readers, but it works.

Not only the definitive life, but a tour de force by a master.

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9311-0

Page Count: 800

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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