Speaking metaphorically

by Marty Crossland on December 23, 2009

Author James Geary presented an interesting talk at TED, pointing out that we typically use about four to six metaphors a minute whenever we’re in an engaging conversation. He has done some formal study of the use of metaphors throughout history.

As you watch this presentation, note also his use of some fairly new presentation software called Prezi. Prezi lets you build a presentation as a single large canvas, and then zoom and rotate to the various sections during the presentation.

From the TED website:

About this talk

Aphorism enthusiast and author James Geary waxes on a fascinating fixture of human language: the metaphor. Friend of scribes from Aristotle to Elvis, metaphor can subtly influence the decisions we make, Geary says. Lost jobs, wayward lovers, wars and famine — come to think of it, just about any of life’s curveballs — there’s an aphorism for it, and James Geary’s got it.

About James Geary

One of a handful of the world’s professional aphorists, James Geary has successfully fused early creative endeavors in performance art, poetry and juggling with his childhood fascination with the “Quotable Quotes” column in Reader’s Digest. His books Geary’s Guide to the World’s Great Aphorists and the bestselling The World in a Phrase are invaluable journeys through the often-ignored art of the witty (and memorably brief) summation.

His next book is about the secret life of metaphors, and how metaphorical thinking drives invention and creativity. Geary is a former writer for Time Europe and is now an editor for Ode magazine, a print and online publication devoted to optimism and positive news.

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