bryan8063's review against another edition

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3.0

For Democrats, this is a good handbook on how conservatism think. The first chapter alone is worth reading as the cognitive scientist delves into the conservative mind. Author argues that Democrats need to create their own powerful message the GOP has done.

rumbledethumps's review against another edition

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3.0

Of the three books I've recently read on political messaging and tactics, this is by far the best. It doesn't have the snarky cynicism of Frank Luntz's book, and avoids the "Ends Justify the Means" attitude of Saul Alinsky. Instead, Lakoff recommends that progressives focus on values they truly believe in, and stop responding to the debates in ways that conservatives have framed.

He believes that progressives have "lost" the culture wars because of their inability to properly frame their arguments, and instead have only responded with truth and facts. "It is a common folk theory of progressives that 'the facts will set you free.' If only you get all the facts out there in the public eye, then every rational person will reach the right conclusion. It is a vain hope."

Instead, progressives should do four things to win the culture wars: "Show respect. Respond by reframing. Think and talk at the level of values. Say what you believe." 

It is interesting in that it mirrors much of what Jonathan Haidt argues in "The Righteous Mind." But where he loses me is in defining which moral models of the family progressives and conservatives adhere to. Progressives use the nurturant family model,  where they believe "the world can be made a better place, and our job is to work on that. The parents' job is to nurture their children and to raise their children to be nurturers of others." But conservatives use the strict father model, where "what is required of the child is obedience, because the strict father is a moral authority who knows right from wrong."

He does an effective job at explaining how these models define adult world views, but a less than adequate job of proving these moral models to be true. His idea that "preserving and extending the strict father model is the highest moral value for conservatives" is a bit of a straw man.

Overall worth a read, though, as it does give a different perspective of why people cannot seem to agree about important issues.

kurtliske's review against another edition

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1.5

Disappointed. Had to wade through A LOT of progressive confirmation bias and strawman assumptions to get a few marginally useful thoughts.

austinreads22's review against another edition

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challenging informative fast-paced

4.75

stolencapybara's review against another edition

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5.0

Linguistics and politics - this book caters to my tastes, but more importantly, was like turning on the light on some of the problems in American politics. It is gratifying to see how well the Democrats listened to Lakoff, and how well it paid off. A bit populist sometimes, but the best short political read I know.

ben_miller's review against another edition

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4.0

Joe Biden was inaugurated this week, and it was a perfect time to read this book, because Biden and his predecessor illustrate the contrasting moral frameworks that form the basis of Lakoff's theory and really crystallized the idea for me.

Biden epitomizes the "nurturant parent" moral framework that liberal & progressive people gravitate to. In 2017, when he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, he talked about leaning on his wife and children during difficult times, and joked that "we've never figured out who the father is in this family." With my moral framework, I see his humility, vulnerability, and self-deprecation as signs of strength. A conservative with a "strict father" moral framework would see them as weakness. They believe the father should dominate the family and make all the decisions with absolute authority. This is how Donald Trump leads his family, and that's why Republicans see him as strong when to me he appears weak. Trump would never describe himself as dependent on anyone, or admit to not knowing what to do in a given situation, even though the results of his decisions show that he is frequently at a loss for the right answer. Biden has said that in a way his sons raised him—a horrifying concept to a strict father conservative. Trump's children are there to serve him, do his bidding, and reflect his glory back at him. A conservative would say this is exactly how it should be, while I find it sick and degenerate. (His hyper-narcissism and sociopathic cruelty are separate issues—few people of any orientation exhibit these traits to such an extreme degree.)

Lakoff theorizes that we all have both of these frameworks, we just tend to favor one over the other. Both frameworks can and are used to manipulate the people who identify with them, and both groups will reject facts that don't fit their frame. Lakoff argues that over the years conservatives have done a much better job of exploiting these frameworks to their advantage. Obviously, I feel that one is objectively morally superior to the other, but the real point is that it helps to understand why people believe the things they do, and how to respond.

dead_vole_jumpscare's review against another edition

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3.0

p enlightening and makes you think about how to use languages and frames to convince people in politics (and other issues i guess), would recommend for someone who doesn't know the frames and is interested in politics/linguistics intersection

henrik_w's review against another edition

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4.0

A short and quick read. The best parts from it in my opinion: the “strict father” model that conservatives use versus the “nurturing family” model that progressives use – very enlightening. Also, how thoroughly conservatives have been able to frame a lot of issues – for example, the concept of tax relief (instead of looking at what you get for your money).

“Frames trump facts” and “the private depends on the public” are two another good points from the book. However, I had hoped that it would contain a lot more practical advice on how to use framing to your own advantage. There is a very good chapter at the end, with a lot of examples of how to respond to conservative talking points. But I would have liked more on that. Still, good and eye-opening.

arielrichardson's review against another edition

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4.0

I had Lakoff as a professor at Berkeley, but even before he was my professor his ideas changed the way I understood the world, especially my parents.

samferree's review against another edition

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challenging informative inspiring fast-paced

5.0

This book came out more or less exactly when I became more politically aware in high school, and though I only just read it in 2023 I have noticed the lessons, observations, and recommendations Lakoff makes herein start to gain traction and then eventually become common wisdom in political messaging. Having worked at an environmental advocacy organization in the 21st Century pre-teens, I remember Lakoff's work being presented as "new and meaningful" and watched as it's worked very well for those who took the lesson and others who ignore it crash and burn. Lakoff's Strong Father vs. Nurturing Family model has to be one of the most useful and succinct analogies for the conflict between conservativism and progressivism in contemporary Anglo-American politics I've ever encountered. I say Anglo-American because it seems that Americans may have inherited this notion from the UK since Thatcher summed up the conservative take pretty well when she accidentally articulated the idea in a 1987 interview, "...who is society? There is no such thing! There are individual men and women and there are families and no government can do anything except through people and people look to themselves first." I also recognize the Strong Father model in Jeffersonian libertarian individualism that has been a pretty consistent theme throughout American history; progressivism, I think, is harder to trace as an intellectual force, but it seems to be a basic notion of "we are all in this together" that has its origins in communitarianism, labor solidarity, pluralism, unionism, New Dealism, and constitutionalism.